COVINGTON, Ga. — A more than 39-acre tract on City Pond Road neighboring Covington Town Center will soon be home to a 395-unit apartment complex.
Members of the Covington City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the future land use map, approved the property’s rezoning to Neighborhood Mixed-Use, and also approved a special-use permit request to green-light the development.
The two parcels of property are owned by the Callaway-Sigman Family, Planning and Zoning Manager Marc Beechuk said prior to a public hearing, and Emory Equity LLC is the developer.
Beechuk said these were last undeveloped parcels in the larger block that makes up the Covington Town Center. However, not to be confused, the proposed apartment complex was not part of the Town Center development. But, Emory Equity developers said the properties would connect via roadways, sidewalks and trails.
Accompanying the apartment complex will be a dog park, clubhouse and pool. Surface parking areas will be littered throughout. Trails are expected to be incorporated into the property as well.
Beechuk said developers’ plans call for retaining 67% of open space throughout the project in an effort to preserve the pond on site and a vast number of trees.
Plans call for dividing the property to implement two design themes for the apartments. On the north side, 225 units would have a “farmhouse look” while the remaining 170 units on the south side would sport an “industrial look.”
Beechuk said city staff found the development would be beneficial to the Town Center by having more residential units close by, but potential traffic along City Pond Road was considered a major concern.
Beechuk said staff recommended approval for the development, but with a set of conditions. One of those was requiring comments/recommendations made in a traffic report submitted by the developers and analyzed by engineering firm Keck & Wood to be addressed prior to signing off on construction site review of the project.
As it stands, the property’s primary access point is from Town Center Boulevard, but plans call for additional access points along Town Center Boulevard and City Pond Road for immediate access to Alcovy Road and I-20.
Another condition for approval was requiring the developers construct a fence or use existing, natural environmental features to enclose the areas between structures and City Pond Road. Beechuk said this condition was suggested by members of the Planning Commission as they were “Worried about possibility of people getting out into the roadway.” Beechuk said the idea was to fence off areas directly adjacent to City Pond Road, and then use fencing or environmental features as it cut through the property.
During a public hearing, Arthur Lynn, who is a managing member of Emory Equity LLC, said his company and property owners had been in talks with the city staff about the project since June 2021. He said there had been no community opposition voiced since that time.
“I’d like to suggest that that lack of opposition demonstrates a broad community acceptance of the proposed development on this site,” Lynn said.
Lynn believed there were multiple reasons for the recommendation of approval and no opposition. One reason was the need to rezone to better compliment adjacent property — Town Center — and avoid potential “regrettable” uses under the former industrial zoning.
Another was the ability to preserve environmental aspects and connected project to surrounding areas, which was done through feedback from city staff and input from property owners.
Lynn said the apartment complex would be constructed in phases. He expected the project to be completed within five years, but, typically, the first completed unit is made available for occupancy about 24 months after initial ground breaking.
One-, two- and three-bedroom units would be available, Lynn said. Per documentation, 48% of the total units would be one-bedroom units, 44% would be two-bedroom units and 8% would be three-bedroom units.
Lynn said rent rates would range from about $1,250 to $2,000 per month, depending on the unit size.
With the addition of this 395-unit apartment complex, there will now be 1,370 total residential units coming to the immediate area across 199 acres that includes the Callaway-Sigman Tract and the Town Center project. Town Center will also be home to three hotels and a retail center anchored by Publix supermarket.