Valdosta Daily Times

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October 12, 2012

Council approves multi-use complex

Living, shopping, parking facility coming to Valdosta

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta City Council unanimously approved two ordinances that will allow the construction of a four-story, 15,000 square foot multi-use facility constructed on the 3.78-acre block at the corner of North Oak Street and West Brookwood Drive by McAlister Development Company, Inc.

To clarify the article titled “Council deliberates VSU multi-use building” in Tuesday's edition, McAlister is the sole developer of this project, and the development is in no way officially affiliated with Valdosta State University.

The privately-owned complex will offer an off-campus lifestyle opportunity near VSU, with amenities and commercial shopping space. The top three levels will house 216 rental units, the bottom level will offer 15,000 square feet of commercial space for retail, and a 5.5-level garage will offer parking for residents and

visitors.

Council approved to rezone the property from single-family residential to community-commercial, as well as the development plan recommended by the Greater Lowndes Planning Commission, with a few changes to the first of nine conditions the Commission recommended.

Under the amended conditions, alcoholic beverage sales will be limited to restaurants with pouring licenses only, and will be limited to no more than 4,000 square feet of space within the development.

Outdoor display of merchandise will be allowed along storefronts, but businesses will observe a five-foot setback from property lines in the interest of pedestrian safety. Dry cleaners will not be offered the commercial space except for pick-up stations.

McAlister CEO Mills Buxton addressed the Council before the plan was put to vote to explain that the Charleston, S.C.-based firm specializes in building university housing complexes of this magnitude. The area is “a perfect location” for such an edifice, he told the council.

William Nijem explained to the Council that the complex would be privately owned and operated with a staff of between six and 10 people to manage the amenities and the leasing office on the property.

There will be 70 parking spaces in the parking garage, and “ample space to deal with the traffic we think the building will generate,” Nijem said.

Before the vote, Councilman Tim Carroll asked Buxton if his company would consider building any more complexes of a similar design in town, to which

Buxton responded there are a limited number of sites where a similar complex “would be appropriate.”

With a smile, Councilwoman Diedra White told Buxton, "I have the perfect site for you… Downtown."

White expressed her support for the project as well as for the sale of alcohol within the commercial areas of the complex, and motioned to approve the planning ordinance.

The motion was seconded, and approved unanimously with a vote of 4-0. Council members James Wright, Alvin Peyton and Robert Yost were not present at the meeting.

In other business, the Council unanimously approved:

• a conditional use permit allowing two personal care service businesses—a waxing service and a massage parlor—on a property at 1801 Canterbury Drive.

• the rezoning of a two-acre lot at 2616 Bemiss Road from Estate-Residential to Highway-Commercial for the construction of a parking lot.

• a bid for the extension of utilities to the annexed island 35C.

• a bid for the Woodrow Wilson Drive Extension Project in the amount of $2.2 million.

• repairs to high service pumps at the City of Valdosta Water Treatment Plant in the amount of $59,409.

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