Officials are planning a $22 million, 250-unit luxury apartment complex at the north side of Old Augusta Road South where it meets Ga. 21 in Effingham County.
The county has re-zoned the land and is working to get water and sewer service to the site, said Mickey Kicklighter, a Springfield lawyer whose family has owned the 17-acre parcel for nearly 100 years.
“This is good for the county, good for us, good for everyone,” Kicklighter said.
The real estate development and investment firm that has a contract on the land is Dominion Diversified Real Estate Group of Richmond, Va. Founder and managing partner W. Spilman Short Jr. said his research shows luxury apartment units in the area are 95 percent occupied.
He said 12 buildings will be constructed, with mostly two- and three-bedroom units. Rents will be similar to those for luxury apartments in nearby Rice Hope, he said. The complex will have a clubhouse with a state-of-the-art fitness club, swimming pool, green areas for jogging trails and community areas, he said.
Short hopes to break ground in July. Construction should take about a year.
The complex will be called The Preserve at Clark Gables, a play on “Gone with the Wind.” It will look similar to the nearest complex the company has built — The Preserve at West View in Greer, S.C.
The buildings will have a “Southern style,” and the development will be heavily landscaped, Short said.
“The schools were a major attraction,” he said. “In your area, the economy is definitely on the upswing.” His company will hire a construction firm to build the apartments.
“There’s always a risk that our data is wrong, but from what we can tell, the area can support an additional 250 units,” Short said.
The recently built Publix and the new school for grades 3-8 in nearby Rice Hope are good signs of a strong economy, he said, along with the new Kroger being built in Rincon.
Short said the Army Corps of Engineers made a change last year to the way it classifies wetlands, making it harder to find good places to build such projects.
Effingham Zoning Administrator R.C. Barenchik said the most recent apartment complex built in the county was Goshen Crossing, which has 120 units and was finished in April 2014.