Every day, Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber President Phyllis Thompson understands that one of her most important roles is simply showing up.
Phyllis and her team are dedicated to helping her member businesses grow, and with this help, they lead responsible growth in every way possible. She manages to do this with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and a palpable love of this community. Phyllis wants every person who crosses her path to experience the best of our community.
Three years ago, when Jackson Wallace walked into her office, it could have been simply another day for her and just one more visitor to stop her work and greet. But our Chamber's secret weapon went to work selling this stranger on our community.
"We had been looking for opportunities throughout the South to build, and I had heard about Statesboro," said Wallace, who is president and COO of IMS Development. "I decided to drive over and check it out. After meeting Phyllis and experiencing her true love and enthusiasm for this community, I knew this place deserved a closer look. From there, I drove through the campus and was impressed and surprised by the quality of the campus, the aesthetics and modern buildings and how meticulously maintained it was. GSU is really one of the prettiest universities I have ever seen. There is a connection on that campus that is very unique. It really feels like a community."
The visit eventually led to a $35-million investment in our community with the construction of Statesboro's newest apartment complex, The Hamptons, located on South Main Street.
"From the initial meeting with Phyllis to connecting with Realtor Todd Manack, to the civil engineering by Maxwell-Reddick Engineering and the development team at City Hall led by Mandy Cody, we experienced a community from day one that was excited about growth and ready to help us facilitate this investment every step of the way," Wallace said.
The end result is one of the most incredible student housing communities I have ever toured anywhere.
"We knew this community was different, and we wanted to reflect that with our design," said Greg Wood Jr., president and COO of IMS Management. "We met with our architect and reviewed the site plan and decided on building a real community instead of a complex that focused solely on maximizing every inch of space with beds. That is how we decided to go with the English Tudor cottage-style development.
"The site would have allowed around 1,000 beds, but we elected to build a 668-bed complex with just 237 total units. This allows us to greatly enhance the greenspace, aesthetics and amenities, like a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse featuring level III tanning, saunas, private locker rooms and touchscreen Starbucks machine, 100,000-gallon resort pool with an island and lazy river and two dog parks."
Wood also noted that one of the changes he has seen in student housing brought on by the requirement of many universities for freshman to live on campus is the need for more furnished apartments. He projects that 70 percent of their tenants will have a furniture package.
In addition, there is an increased interest in safety in college housing. They have addressed this by having management staff live on the property as well as by installing gated entrances and key fob safe-lock technology for each unit.
I am taken back, not only by how incredibly beautiful and well thought out the complex design is but also at the phenomenally rich amenity package. It is resort living in the Boro.
Most of us would like to just vacation in a place like this, let alone experience it on a daily basis. Back when I started college, simply having air conditioning and not having to share a bathroom with the entire complex was a huge amenity. My, how things have changed!
Probably the most impressive part of meeting Wallace and Wood on site for the interview was the opportunity to learn a little more about the two of them and their business model. IMS has been developing student housing for nearly two decades and has only sold one property.
They are forward-thinking, long-range-investment-type owners. They are impressed with our community and have definitely, once again, elevated student housing in Statesboro.
I would look for more great projects from this company in our community.
In July, there will be a ribbon cutting along with the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce. This will provide a great opportunity for the entire community to visit The Hamptons and see what it is like to be a college student all over again.
Please email DeWayne at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.
• Compassion Christian Church, a regional campus of Savannah Christian Church, which is now operating their worship center on Zetterower Avenue with an office on Savannah Avenue, has broken ground on a new facility. Construction has begun on Cawana Road of a 23,000-square-foot, 390-seat worship center and includes a children's ministry wing and staff offices. The $4.5 million project, which includes construction, furnishing and state-of-the-art audio-visuals is projected to be complete in June 2016. The building is being built on a nearly 30-acre tract and will face Cawana Road but will be visible from Veterans Memorial Parkway. Lavender and Associates is the general contractor, and LS3P of Greenville, S.C., is the design firm.