Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial got the green light Wednesday from Augusta planning commissioners to move forward with plans to develop a gated “Class A” apartment community that will include a clubhouse, pool and walking trails within a 54-acre tract right off the I-20 interchange on Walton Way extension.
The apartment complex, called Grand Oaks at Crane Creek, likely will consist of between 240 and 330 units, said Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial President Mark Senn.
The Augusta real estate firm was requesting to incorporate six parcels, or about 25 acres, behind 45 acres off Walton Way Extension that had already been designated for the multifamily development.
There are about 10 acres fronting Walton Way Extension zoned for commercial use, Senn said.
“There will probably be some commercial there at some point in time,” he said. “We really don’t know what we’re doing with that front piece in terms of retail.”
By adding 25 acres to the development, the residential density will drop from 11 units per acre to six, said Senn.
He estimates that about 750 apartments could be built after the two properties are combined.
“That’s not what we want to do,” said Senn, adding that the amount of green space on site will be tripled. “It allows us to have about 25 acres of green space on the property that will allow us to put about a mile of walking trail in it and have a lot more green space around the units themselves.”
Fourteen three-story apartment buildings with garages are planned on the property. Rent prices will be determined later, but Senn said they typically set the cost on the “higher end of the market.”
Senn declined disclosing the project price.
The property – part of The Nixon Trusts – was going to be developed in 2005 as a 300,000-square-foot shopping center. Atlanta-based Forum Development Group backed out of the project in 2008 after being unable to secure the retail tenants it wanted.
At the meeting Wednesday, homeowner Randy Sasser said his only concern about the development pertained to prior raw sewage spills occurring on a major sewer trunk line along Crane Creek near the property.
“We would like to have some assurances that these 300-plus toilets are not going to come into that trunk line in conjunction with where this spill has already occurred,” said Sasser, who lives in Foxhall subdivision.
Planning Commissioner Sonny Pittman opposed the zoning request, stating that a resolution to the sewage spill needs to happen before work on the development starts.
Developers expect construction to take about a year.
Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial is currently developing similar apartment properties in Nashville; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Hilton Head Island, S.C.