At least 2,427 planned housing units — including 290 student apartments (with up to 691 beds) in a multistory building beside the Georgia Southern campus, upwards of 300 apartments elsewhere in Statesboro, 1,004 townhomes and 690 single-family homes in subdivisions mostly on the edges of town — were in various stages of city-OK'd development as of mid-October.
"Now, this does not include small developments of less than 20 (units each)," said city Planning and Development Director Kathy Field. "The list would just get too long."
Delivering an informal report, compiled with input from Planning and Housing Administrator Justin Williams, to the mayor and council during an Oct. 17 work session, Field noted that her staff was aware of another 437 single-family and townhome units in two "upcoming projects," requiring annexation into the city. Those two pending projects would bring the total to 2,823 units.
"You're very close to 3,000 units. So that's what we're seeing," Field said. "Now, it's not all going to happen at once. As you know, it happens slowly, and there's a development process they have to go through."
She had reviewed the steps of approval projects may have to go through: first, annexation for any sites not already in the city limits, then zoning changes or variances where required and subdivision plat approval for projects where property is subdivided for sale. After that, a land disturbance permit is preliminary to a final building permit.
List of projects
These are the developments she counted by location, development company and stage of approval:
• S&S Railroad Bed Road — After an annexation in October 2020 and rezoning in May 2022, W&L Developers may build 41 townhouse units. A land disturbance permit was pending a plan revision, but the property had not been subdivided. Field noted that subdividing is not required for rental property.
• Cawana Road — Valnoc LLC planned to build 200 townhouse units and 31 freestanding homes. This was approved as a Planned Unit Development, a previous Statesboro zoning classification, in March 2021 rezoning. A land disturbance permit was issued, but construction has paused after a change in developer, Field said.
• Bryant's Landing — This is the senior living community planned by W.H. Gross Construction for the old Julia P. Bryant School campus along Stockyard Road and Donnie Simmons Way. Field's description has it as 59 multi-family units. A land disturbance permit had been issued and the building permit was ready for issue for work beginning soon.
• Fernhill Farms — This project on land annexed along Lakeview Road in July 2021 with immediate rezoning is for 80 single-family homes. It is moving forward under the city's Subdivision Incentive Program, with a land disturbance permit issued and land being prepared for building.
• University Plaza — This is the multi-story student-apartment and ground-floor commercial project planned by Rael Corp for the former University Plaza shopping center on Chandler Road. Field's slideshow indicated it will have 290 units; she said 691 beds. Rael's website states 250 units with 636 beds. But she said building plans were under revision while demolition was taking place.
• Veterans Memorial Townhomes — Horizon Homebuilders plans 172 townhouse units under the rezoning approved in May 2022. The project, behind the Jimmy Britt Chrysler dealership, was under development, with "building permits imminent" as of mid-October.
• Jones Mill Road Townhomes — Simcoe Investment Group's project for 151 townhouse units had rezoning approved back in August 2022. As of mid-October 2023, the land disturbance permit application was under review.
• East Main Street Townhomes — Another Horizon Home Builders project, this one from an August 2022 rezoning slated 245 units. But no land disturbance permit had been issued or development plans submitted.
"So these projects take a while to process through," Field said. "I guess that's my point."
• S&S Railroad Bed Development — L&S Acquisitions' project, also from an August 2022 rezoning approval, proposed 140 single-family homes. No land disturbance permit had been issued or development plans submitted as of mid-October 2023.
• Miller Street Project No. 1 — Domenic Spencer is the developer on this proposed 168-unit multi-family housing development. No land disturbance permit had been issued or development plans submitted as of mid-October.
• Cawana Road Townhomes No. 1 — A Simcoe Investment Group project, with rezoning approved January 2023, calls for 34 townhouse units. No land disturbance permit had been issued or development plans submitted yet.
• Cawana Road Townhomes No. 2 — Also a Simcoe Investment Group project, with rezoning approved in January 2023, proposes 71 townhouse units. No land disturbance permit had been issued or development plans submitted yet.
• Bel Air Estates — Developer Lamar Smith's plan for a 126-house, detached single-family subdivision on Beasley Road resulted from some revisions through controversy over the annexation into the city, finally approved in April along with rezoning. But it appears to have moved forward rapidly, with development plans under review and awaiting final subdivision approval as of October.
• Gordon Street Subdivision — Developers David Pearce and Mitchell Ball plan 41 single-family attached homes in this project for which subdivision plats were approved in August. Development plans are under review, with no land disturbance permit issued yet.
• Miller Street Project No. 2 — KB Rentals LLC proposed 182 single-family attached home and received rezoning approvals in October. No land disturbance permit had been issued or development plans submitted yet.
With a chart displayed on screen during the work session, Field tallied these projects as proposing 377 single-family detached homes, 223 single-family attached homes, 914 townhouse units and 517 apartments, for a total of 2,031 future housing units.
However, she also noted that proposals containing 216 multi-family housing units (apartments) on Lovett Road, 90 townhome units on Westside Road and another 90 single-family detached homes on Stockyard Road were going to City Council for various stages of approval during that evening's regular meeting.
In fact, the council that evening approved the rezoning of Hillpointe LLC's 18.56 acres on Lovett Road to MX, Statesboro's new mixed-use zoning classification, for commercial and residential development. The council also approved a preliminary subdivision plat submitted by Tim Stone (for approximately 93 units, the council agenda stated) on Westside Road.
But after hearing some neighbors' concerns, the council tabled a decision on Mitchell Ball's preliminary plat for the subdivision on Stockyard Road and Timber Road until the Nov. 21 meeting.
However, it has been approved at the zoning stage. So all three of these projects, totaling at least 396 units, have been added to the 2,031, for a total of at least 2,427 units in plans at some state of approval as of October.
Field then described two other projects, requiring annexation, that will add a potential 437 units if approved.
Expected in November
"Then we have two upcoming projects, both of which are going to be annexations, that are coming through next month, which are 335 single-family and townhome units on Burkhalter Road, as well as 102 townhome units on Langston Chapel Road," she said.
Councilmember Paulette Chavers asked if any of the projects had been completed.
"No, no, no, they are very slow to get moving," Field said. "But the one that is furthest along is the one behind the Chrysler dealership. They had a lot of infrastructure that had to be put in, a lot of conditions for zoning that they had to complete, and they're pretty much there at this point."
City Manager Charles Penny said the list will be brought back with periodic updates. He also gave a cautious estimate of the property value these projects could add to the city's tax base.
"If all this development did happen, and I'm going to say this, 'potentially,' over $400 million," Penny said. "But from a budgeting standpoint, we would never speculate on that revenue until we see those things on the ground."