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Developers target underserved
Forest Heights Village offers shopping on Boros west side
site rendering 4 copy
Rendering of the Forest Heights Village commercial development - photo by RENDERING COURTESY MARTIN RULE AND ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS

Biz Mon 10-17

Developer discusses Forest Heights Village
    It is an old rule in the real estate community that commercial development follows residential development. As housing construction continues at an abated pace on the southwest and west sides of Statesboro, many residents in those areas will argue that up until now, that old axiom has not proven true in their part of town.
    Sensing an opportunity, a local development group has just completed the first of a five-building development aimed at those very residents.
    The developers of Forest Heights Village, Forest Heights Group, LLC, plan to build up to five buildings for retail, office and professional use on a five acre tract of land at the northwest corner of Country Club Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway (Statesboro Bypass) adjacent to Trinity Episcopal Church.  
    According to Hal Roach, a local attorney and spokesman for the group, Forest Heights Village will be very upscale with architecture designed to be in harmony with the church and the neighborhood.  There will be approximately 35,000 square feet of space in the completed development.
    Roach said the location was chosen because of the absence of needed services on the west, south and north sides of Statesboro.  
    "The location is accessible to the many residential neighborhoods on the west side of Statesboro, and via the bypass to highways 80 North, and 301 and 67 South," Roach said. "The developers intend to provide services which residents of this area need, such as retail store, offices, pharmacy, medicine and other professional services in an upscale development at a convenient location."
    The Forest Heights Pharmacy is the first, and to date, the only business to have opened in the new development. The pharmacy is owned and operated by local pharmacists, Joel Sikes and Sonny Ross.
    Sikes owned a pharmacy in Brooklet for a number of years before selling it to the College Pharmacy. For the last several years, Sikes has worked as a pharmacist for Walker Pharmacy in Brooklet. Sikes said he wanted one last "go" as an entrepreneur before ending his career.
    "I have owned my own pharmacy in the past and wanted to be in business for myself one last time before I retired," Sikes said. "This seemed like a wonderful opportunity and a great location."
    Sike's partner, Ross, is the owner of Ross Drug, a Sylvania pharmacy that he opened over 25 years ago. Ross said he was motivated by Statesboro's ongoing development.
    "Living in Sylvania, I have watched Statesboro grow by leaps and bounds," Ross said. "I was happy to have an opportunity to invest in Statesboro. I felt this was a great location. There is clearly a need for services on that side of town."
    Ross said that the majority of his time will be spent in his pharmacy in Sylvania, but he intends to work in the new pharmacy at least one day a week.
    Both druggists said the pharmacy was designed to have an "ole timey" type of feel.
    "We have put in a soda fountain as well as gifts," Sikes said. "We even have homemade cookies, muffins, and the like that are made locally. We wanted to create a very warm atmosphere for our customers."
    Currently under construction, next to the pharmacy, is an office building which will house the practice of Dr. Robert Benson, Jr. Roach said the building should be completed January, 2007.  
    "This building will also have additional space available for lease for both retail and office use," Roach said. "The developers plan to construct a third building in 2007 for retail use."
    A massive direct mail survey conducted in the last several months assessing the interest of residents in placement of a grocery store in the area, has had many residents speculating that a grocery store would be opening in Forest Heights Village.
    Roach said he could not comment on potential tenants in the new development at this time.
    "There have been several people that have shown an interest in opening a business in Forest Heights Village," Roach said. "However, the developers are not prepared to comment at this time about specific tenants. They hope to have some news very soon."