Rising steel beams, bricks, mortar and newly planted oaks marks the initial phase of construction of the new Evans Town Park on North Belair Road near Hereford Farm Road in Evans.
"The first building is under construction and probably between 90 and 120 days will be occupied," said Vic Mills, the CEO of Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Corp.
The development is designed as a mixed-use office campus spanning 70 acres that will include about 15,000 square feet of commercial space, restaurants and a bank, he said. Included in the plan is a 2-acre park with a fountain.
"Buildings are being situated close to the street with parking to the rear to give (the development) a townlike feel," he said.
More business and residential developments with a town or campus design will be coming to Columbia County in the future, particularly in the Greenbrier area, said Columbia County senior planner Tom Tully.
"We're definitely starting to see these planned developments that are not your traditional strip centers or standalone doctors' offices," he said. "They're trying to be more campuslike."
Though he would not name specific tenants, Mills said large pediatric, gynecological and cardiac medical practices have made commitments to purchase land in the park as well as accountants and insurance groups.
Mills said that architecturally the campus is neo-traditional construction and is designed to be "pedestrian friendly."
Developers have planned the retail space to be occupied by small boutiques and businesses catering to the medical groups, Mills said.
"Evans is a very upscale area. It has very high socio-economic clientele," he said. "The (retail) will be reflective of the traffic to the site."
Mills said he expects the final phase of the development will not be completed for three to five years.
Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Corp. is in the initial stages of planning for a retail complex on the site of the current Evans Middle School to be called Evans Town Square.
"We're still in the negotiating stages with various prospective tenants," Mills said. "We've really not firmed up a definitive direction for that project at this time."
Mills said his company is working with the Columbia County Board of Education on a schedule for salvage of reusable equipment from the school. Crews have begun the process of removing the historic columns and arch from the school site, the last remnants of the original Evans Consolidated School.
Demolition of the old Evans Middle School will begin later this year, Mills said.
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