February 22, 2007

Golf Course Dropped From Plans: Company Decides to Scale Back Project to Residential Development

By Jerry F. Rutledge, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Ga.

Feb. 22--Developers have decided to scale back a major development on Phenix City's southside and eliminate its most prominent feature -- a public golf course.

The City Council Wednesday approved the sale of 170 acres of surplus land in the Phenix City Industrial park to Ronnie Gilley Properties LLC for $4,000 per acre. Missing from the sale, however, is about 430 acres of residential development and a public golf course announced last fall.

Last October, the city and the Enterprise, Ala., developers had announced the construction of a mixed-use, planned residential development -- including the public golf course -- on 801 acres in the industrial park off U.S. Highway 431 South.

Wednesday, the council voted to rescind the resolution authorizing the October sale, substituting instead the new resolution.

"They had originally talked about doing a 600-acre tract of residential development and then a 200-acre golf course," said Mayor Jeff Hardin, "and they just couldn't make the numbers work. So they came back and wanted to do just the 170-acre tract with only residential homes. That's what we voted on today."

The land had formerly been deeded to the River City Youth Soccer Club, but the club moved to a different site because of soil problems.

The residential part of the original south Phenix City plan was to be a planned residential development, a housing classification that allows a greater density of housing but requires some built-in commercial and recreational components, including green space.

RGP, the developers of The Phenixian condominium/retail development on 14th Street in Phenix City, had planned to deed the golf course back to the city after construction, with the course acreage subtracted from the 801-acre total. The developers would have then paid the city $3,000 an acre for the remaining residential property, about $1.8 million.

Instead, the new land deal will net the city about $680,000 in the initial sale.

Gilley has parlayed its relationship with several country music notables, such as George Jones, Darryl Worley, Allen Jackson and Tracy Lawrence, into successful developments in south Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

While Billy Graham, the properties, acquisitions and finance vice president for Gilley Properties LLC, said Tuesday that The Phenixian would be a model for similar developments the company plans, RGP is well-established in building residential communities and commercial projects, including restaurants, hotels, neighborhood retail centers and office buildings.

The homes in the new Phenix City development are expected to cost in the $200,000-$250,000 price range. It is not known which country music star would be involved in the project. The legendary George Jones is the spokesman for the company. Graham said Tuesday "The Possum" would own a condominium in The Phenixian.

RGP and Lawrence will present "Mayberry Place" in New Brockton, Ala., on March 3 with a free concert featuring the country music star plus Worley, Rex Oggs and Jason Michael Carroll. Homes in Mayberry Place will start at just $139,000, with $1 dollar down for qualified buyers.

Graham said the price is set low enough to put the homes in the range of retiring military personnel. New Brockton is five miles from Enterprise and near Fort Rucker, located in nearby Ozark, Ala.

Other RGP developments include La Borgata in Panama City Beach, Fla., The Legends and Brookwood in the Enterprise area.

Contact Jerry Rutledge at 706-320-4405 or [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]


Copyright (c) 2007, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Ga.

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