By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Baptist Collegiate Ministries to grow taller, with 4-stories, 84 apartments
Developers going vertical with denser housing around Georgia Southern campus perimeter
Photo courtesy  of CCI Real Estate This elevation rendering by Poole & Poole Architecture of Glen Allen, Virginia, for CCI Real Estate of Suwanee, Georgia, shows a back view the new four-story Baptist Collegiate Ministries Center, including 84 student apa
This elevation rendering by Poole & Poole Architecture of Glen Allen, Virginia, for CCI Real Estate of Suwanee, Georgia, shows a back view the new four-story Baptist Collegiate Ministries Center, including 84 student apartments, planned for 1701 Chandler Road, Statesboro, adjacent to the Georgia Southern campus. (Photo courtesy of CCI Real Estate)

Now another independently owned space within the Georgia Southern University campus perimeter is slated to grow vertically. A developer plans to replace the relatively low-key Baptist Collegiate Ministries building with a new, four-story one featuring, among other things, 84 apartments to house up to 120 students.

The current BCM building at 1701 Chandler Road, dating from perhaps the 1970s, includes a worship hall, activity spaces and offices but is not a residence. It will be torn down to make room for the new Baptist Campus Ministries Center, whose heart will be a 300-seat worship hall, says Jeff Warwick, owner of CCI Real Estate. The building will also include a coffee shop on the ground floor.

CCI Real Estate, based in Suwanee, specializes in “missional and community” investments. Several projects listed on its website combine residential and ministry elements.

“I’m in long-term partnership with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board on this property and a number of others across the state of Georgia, and our purpose is to further the purpose of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board,” Warwick said Tuesday evening, addressing Statesboro City Council. “We start with the ministry, and we end with the ministry.”

The state-level Mission Board, which is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, has had a presence on the GS campus for more than 75 years. But here and elsewhere in Georgia, the GBMB is working from older buildings and with challenging budgets, he said.

“And we’ve come to partnership with them on a long-term basis, as I said, to bring them brand-new space for their BCM,” Warwick continued. “At the heart of that space is a new worship hall that expands indoor and outdoor, that allows for a hundred, two hundred, three hundred, however many students that need to show up that night, into the future.”

He attended the meeting for the mayor and council’s brief public hearing on two requests filed in the name of his site-specific company, CRE Impact BCM Southern Statesboro GA, LLC.

Council members unanimously approved both requests. One was for a special exception from the city’s Unified Development Code to allow an approximately 1,000-square foot commercial space – in other words, the coffee shop – within the multistory building.

Calling the coffee shop “support retail,” Warwick said, “It supports the ministry, and it attracts students.”


‘Special use’

Fulfilling the other request, the council granted a special use permit to allow the apartments to exceed the standard density of housing units allowed in an R-4 zone. R-4 is called “high-density residential,” but the code assigns it a standard of 12 units per acre, which suggests a maximum of 21 apartments on the 1.72-acre site.

“Our ordinance requires 12 units per acre for multi-family, but we have a provision for situations such as this, which is the special use,” city Planning and Housing Administrator Justin Williams said earlier Tuesday. “So, it’s not like a full-blown variance. It’s really just allowing you to do something because you’re going vertical, versus stretching it out, so to speak.”


Higher-density trend

The city staff’s Development Services Report on the request states: “This development is following the existing trend related to the higher density properties within the City and due to the lack of many … adjacent buildings in the area, it is unlikely that the surrounding properties would be negatively impacted.”

With the worship hall and coffee shop on the ground floor of the BCM Center, the upper floors would contain the apartments, which Warwick said will be “targeted toward upper-class (meaning mainly undergraduate juniors and seniors) and graduate students.”

“We are targeting the father of the daughter who is sending his precious one to school and wants her to be in a safe, wonderful community,” he said.

The current BCM Center is close to some two-story apartment complexes, and otherwise surrounded mainly by parking lots. Plans call for the new building to face Chandler Road and have its parking in back.

Despite the restrictions on commercial uses and limit on apartment density, the Development Services Report also notes that Statesboro’s 2019-2029 Comprehensive Master Plan designates the site as part of a “University District” character area, “which calls for mixed-use retail, higher education facilities and multi-family development.”


Mid-rise rising

At four floors, the new Baptist Collegiate Ministries building only just qualifies as a “mid-rise” structure, but nothing in Statesboro is taller than about six stories.

The BCM site is less than a quarter mile from where Rael Corp is building its Charme on Georgia Avenue mid-rise complex on the former University Plaza shopping center grounds. Originally announced as potentially five floors but with six rows of windows visible in illustrations, this complex is now described at as containing 291 units and 694 beds and scheduled for “delivery” in summer 2025.

Both the BCM property and Charme are within sight of the university’s own sprawling, four-story, 1,001-student Centennial Place student housing complex, in use since 2009. Incidentally, the city’s zoning maps show actual Georgia Southern University properties, owned by the state through the Board of Regents of the University System, as “exempt.” Statesboro’s zoning categories are limited to nearby properties with other owners.

Another four-floor, university-owned complex within view of the BCM site, Eagle Village, dates from 2006 and houses up to 798 first-year students. Centennial Place is also predominantly for first-year students.

So compared to those, the Baptist Collegiate Ministries building will still be a smaller-scale contribution to higher-density student housing in the university perimeter, and is aimed at non-freshmen. Warwick said his firm plans to have the building ready for delivery in June 2026.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter