The Gateway is a stretch of property bordering Interstate 20 at the Lewiston Road exit near Grovetown. The consulting firm of Jordan, Jones and Goulding recently completed a master plan for the 2,500-acre Gateway Town Center concept.
The master plan includes two "big-box" retail stores, four smaller retail spaces, three mixed-use buildings, two hotels, a town square, a theater complex, a museum, a multipurpose building and an arena surrounding two small lakes.
Consultants envisioned the Gateway Town Center as a pedestrian-friendly center with a design concept called "new urbanism," which refers to multifunctional developments supporting residences, businesses and recreation.
Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross recently said a Gateway Town Center would be driven mostly by private enterprise, meaning the current plan likely will change should it move forward.
Wal-Mart has shown interest in occupying one of the retail spaces, but nothing has been confirmed, county planning officials said. State Department of Transportation officials recently started widening the Lewiston Road overpass at I-20 to accommodate existing traffic and in preparation for a Wal-Mart in the area, a DOT official said this year.
Building a civic arena won't be possible in the foreseeable future, according to officials cited in the master plan. Consultants said a multipurpose building used as a ballroom, exhibit space and meeting hall, possibly as part of a hotel complex, would be feasible.