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Sizing up Woodland Square, Brooklet Crossing
Biz moore-cam
Jan Moore
    Much has been made about the amount of new retail space that is being developed in and around Statesboro. There have been rumblings that maybe it is too much development at one time. Who is to say, but I thought it might be interesting to examine the status of two high profile developments and see how things have turned out for each.
    First, let's look at Woodland Square being developed by Frank Parker and his partner from Savannah, Stephen Sauers. Woodland Square is located on South Main Street across from Georgia Southern's  campus and next to Rountree Nurseries.
    Many of you are familiar with Woodland Square because Talbots is preparing to open a store in it. Parker said he and his partner followed unconventional wisdom from a developer's standpoint, but it appears to have been the right thing to do.
    "I have always heard that you are supposed to secure tenants for your development, and then build it," Parker said. "We didn't do that. We felt if you built a really nice retail center, people would want to be in it. That seems to have worked for us."
    With Talbots as their "anchor" tenant, Parker's development is approximately 70 percent leased with interest in the remaining 7600 square feet very high.
    "We have been approached by several people about the remaining space," Parker said. "We are negotiating with two prospective tenants about the smaller two spaces that are left, but we are saving the larger middle space for something special. We will know what that is when it comes along."
    Parker said he anticipates being one hundred percent leased by this summer. And, Parker has already sold the out parcel portion of the development to someone who is finalizing plans for a restaurant. According to Parker, it is a franchise of a national restaurant chain. I would say things are going along nicely for Woodland Square.
    One last note. Parker said that Talbots is slated to open January 26.
    The second development of interest is Brooklet Crossing at the corner of  Highway 80 East and Parker Avenue in Brooklet. The brainchild of Brooklet native, Romaine Bradford, phase one of the retail center is now completed as well as Southeast Tire and Service which is a separate building located at the north end of the development.
    With a little over ten acres at his disposal, Bradford has completed plans for the center's build out.
    "The phase one building is 7,200 square feet divided into four equal bays," Bradford said. "I have leased three of the four to Subway, China 1, and Contours Express. We have one left."
    "Once that building is settled, we will begin to look at phase 2 which will be a substantially larger building totaling 33,200 square feet," he said. "We have had a lot of interest, we're just not quite ready to build."
    Bradford said he felt the time had come for some large scale commercial development in the Brooklet area, and he didn't want to miss the opportunity.
    "I had been thinking about doing this for the last 20 years," he said. "I felt like I needed to go ahead and get in before someone else took that opportunity. I am very satisfied with what we have been able to accomplish."
    It appears to be "so far, so good" for both Parker and Bradford. In the next few weeks, I will take a look at some of the other local developments to see how they are doing as they attempt to fill their space. And yes, I will try and find out what restaurant is going to be built at Woodland Square (P. S. I have been told it is not a Chili's).
    Until next week, I bid adieu.
    Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at jmoore@statesboroherald.net