Saturday, February 06, 2016

Developer Of Epps Bridge Centre Submitted Rezone Plans for $55 Million Expansion

Subway Got Permit

The developer of Epps Bridge Centre filed paperwork last month with the Oconee County Planning Department to rezone 54 acres of land from agricultural use to business use for a $55 million expansion of the existing shopping mall.

The land is currently owned by the Evelyn and Frank Gordy Family and lies across the Oconee Connector from Epps Bridge Centre.

The existing mall is “substantially complete,” according to the documents filed for the rezone request with the county on Jan. 19, and the mall’s expansion “will provide additional retail, entertainment, and dining services to the area.”

On Wednesday, the county issued a build-out permit to the developer of Epps Bridge Centre for a Subway sandwich shop in the existing mall, leaving only six small stores in the 400,000-square-foot mall core available for lease.

The rezone request for the new shopping center is scheduled to be before the Oconee County Planning Commission on Feb. 15 and before the Oconee County Board of Commissioners on March 1.

Moving Parts

Oconee 316 Associates LLC, developer of Epps Bridge Centre, on Jan. 11 submitted the proposal for the new mall to the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.

NEGRC has ruled that the project requires a regional review because it will have “impacts beyond the jurisdiction in which the project is actually located.”

That regional review is underway, and comments are to be submitted by Feb. 10 to NEGRC at The review by NEGRC is to be completed by Feb. 24.

Oconee County Planner Brad Callender told me on Friday that the county has determined that the Planning Commission can continue with its public hearing while the NEGRC works on its review, but the Board of Commissioners cannot act until the NEGRC review is complete.

The county has agreed to construct Parkway Boulevard Extension as an entranceway to the new shopping center, and the Oconee County Industrial Development Authority is to review bond financing for that construction on Monday afternoon.

Subway Permit

Oconee County issued the building permit for the Subway on Wednesday.

Subway Coming Soon

The store will be in suite 740, next door to Gigi’s Cupcakes and just down from Taqueria Tsunami restaurant. Di’lishi Frozen Yogurt Bar is nearby.

Subway will occupy 1,052 square feet of space. The sandwich shop will have 29 seats, according to the sewer permit issued by the county.

Construction is estimated to be completed on April 10. The build-out is estimated to cost $40,000.

The Subway permit leaves only six storefronts unleased in the shopping center itself.

Two Parcels

Parkway Boulevard Extension will split the 53.9-acre tract that will make up the new mall into two sections, one of just less than 40 acres and the other of just more than 11 acres. The remainder of the land will be lost to the roadway right of way.

The documents submitted to the county indicate that the western parcel will have 302,785 square feet of retail space, while the eastern parcel will have 69,200 square feet of space, for a total of 371,985 square feet of retail space.

The project will be built over a period of 36 months and consist of 15 separate buildings.

Future Home of Costco?

The documents do not list any tenants, though Costco, a membership-only warehouse club headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, near Seattle, is frequently mentioned as a potential tenant.

The rezone concept plan shows a 146,290-square-foot building with a fuel center on Plaza Parkway in the western portion of the project.

Epps Bridge Centre developer Frank Bishop told me in an email message on Jan. 8 that he did not have Costco under contract.

Environmental Issues

The project will generate 11,600 new trips during the weekday, 1,052 on a weekday evening peak hour, and 1,493 on a Saturday midday peak, according to the impact analysis submitted with the project.

It will use approximately 36,500 gallons of water per day and generate the same amount of wastewater. The county is planning to spend about $7 million to upgrade its Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant to handle increased demand, including from Epps Bridge Centre Phase II.

The property at present is 90 percent forested. The tree canopy will be 20 percent at build-out and 25 percent within five years of build-out.

Half of the surface will be impervious.

Three streams that are tributaries to McNutt Creek cross the property, and damage to the streams will be mitigated via establishment of a 70-acre mitigation bank in Greene County, according to the rezone documents.

The project impacts .4 acres of wetlands, which will be mitigated through wetland credits purchased from an unspecified mitigation bank, according to the documents submitted with the rezone request.

Variance Requests

In addition to seeking rezone of the nearly 54 acres, Oconee 316 Associates LLC is seeking to reduce the minimum parking requirement for the part of the new shopping center that will be east of Parkway Boulevard Extension.

The application also seeks to waive the setback requirements for the western part of the shopping center.

The Planning Commission does not review variance requests, which go to the Board of Commissioners directly.

The Planning Commission will meet a 7 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

Map Of Site
Click To Enlarge


Beanne said...

End of trees, more impervious surfaces, more traffic, more global warming, no mitigation benefit to Oconee County. Ain't development great.

Anonymous said...

Does the wildlife in the wetland just get up and move to the mitigated area 30 to 50 miles away?