For nearly three years, the Chili’s restaurant stood as the lone business in Marshall Square.
A flurry of recent activity within the 31-acre, mixed-use development will soon bring office spaces, a medical practice and a fitness facility to the center of Evans.
“I think it’s very exciting,” said Marshall Square developer Don Lawrence. “After all these years of planning and working hard on this development, to see it actually happening now is great.”
Visible to motorists on Evans Town Center Boulevard near Ronald Reagan Drive is a five-story, steel-framed building that will become the home of a branch of TaxSlayer, an online tax software company run by Rhodes Financial Services.
Though work won’t conclude in time for the 2012 tax season, the 32,500-square-foot facility should be finished by fall, Lawrence said.
Next door to the TaxSlayer building is construction for another professional office, First Command Financial Planning. The 5,000-square-foot financial center should open within eight weeks, Lawrence said.
Site construction also has started on a 50,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center, the plans for which were approved in November by Columbia County commissioners.
Renderings of the project show a brick, two-story building with a glass entryway. The center, which could open late this year, will have several functions, including diet, exercise, nutrition counseling and sports medicine and rehabilitation services.
Near the future fitness center, a 10,000-square-foot dermatology practice is planned.
Lawrence said in the past 18 months he’s seen a pick-up in interest surrounding the project, which he credits to Marshall Square’s central location in Evans.
Though he wouldn’t elaborate, Lawrence said he foresees more restaurants, professional and medical space coming to the remaining 16 acres.
“There was a vision at one time to mix in some residential (but) that’s kind of off the table at this point,” he said. “Even with what’s happening now, it’s still going to be a pedestrian-friendly location.”
In 2009, Marshall Square developers filed a lawsuit after county officials limited the number of apartments that would have been allowed on the property.
To settle the suit, commissioners in 2010 purchased 25 acres of the site for $6.25 million. That property remains available for sale to private developers, but currently is used as overflow parking for Evans Towne Center Park.