Valdosta Daily Times

October 1, 2013

New student housing development on the way

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — A residential area by Valdosta State University will soon be home to a multi-story, 15,000 square foot residential and commercial building.

McAlister Development Co. Inc. of Charleston, S.C. purchased all of the parcels within a 3.78 acre area bordered by North Oak Street, West Brookwood Drive, West Jane Street and North Toombs Street, closing on the final six parcels Friday, Sept. 27. The project will face VSU’s Fine Arts Building.

The housing complex will be four stories, with the first floor rented to commercial businesses, including retail and restaurants. The top three floors will house 216 residential units, and the project will include a 5.5-level parking garage.

Although the development is marketed as university housing, it is a private development with no affiliation with VSU. However, VSU President Bill McKinney said Monday that these types of developments are an asset to a university.

“I can see where a living facility and retail development would be an attraction for older students and even younger faculty members,” he said, adding that McAlister has worked with other university areas on similar projects.

In October 2012, Valdosta City Council members voted to approve rezoning the land from single-family residential to community-commercial, with conditions that will allow the sale of alcohol in the commercial area.

Initially, plans for the development were nearly sidelined by an issue over existing houses in the nearly 4-acre area between McAlister and the Valdosta Historic Preservation Commission. The Commission requested that McAlister put forth a good faith effort to relocate the houses before tearing them down, but despite offering the houses for sale at $10 plus the cost of removal, there were no buyers.

The City placed restrictions on the development due to the issue with the commission, including proving that it had the financial backing for the entire project before the remaining houses could be torn down. These restrictions were resolved in February of this year.

The mixed use development has been in the planning stages for more than two years. Scott Alderman and John Courson of First Commercial Real Estate have worked with McAlister since July 2011.

Lamar Golivesky and Jack Oliver of ReMax Realty represented the majority of hte sellers, and Bill Nijem of Langdale Vallotton was the closing attorney on the development.

Attempts to reach McAlister CEO Mills Buxton Monday were unsuccessful, but an earlier story quotes the company as stating that construction on the project would be scheduled for completion by the beginning of the Fall 2014 semester. No dollar amounts for the total cost of construction have been provided.