COVINGTON, Ga. — The city of Covington released an update for the Covington Town Center project Monday morning, Nov. 18, on social media, however, citizens did not take kindly to the announcement.
Elevation Development Group, a Southeastern developer of multifamily communities and mixed-use developments, closed on a tract of property, which will consist of 350 high-end, market-rate apartments, according to the city. The developer is now working to secure their construction loan.
As of right now, there are three hotel flags secured for the center, according to the city. Construction is set to begin within the next four months.
"Expect an announcement before the end of the year about the construction of a 50,000-square-foot class A office building. Construction beginning around March," the city announced. "Once the hotels, office space and apartment complex begin construction, look for many more announcements about retail/restaurant options."
At 65 comments and growing, the community reacted to the project update. The City Council approved the project in 2017.
"This is a terrible idea from the start, and it's just gotten worse" Billy Bouchillon of Covington wrote.
"Great, more apartments to bring more crime," Melissa Roberts of Covington commented.
History of Covington Town Center
Mayor Ronnie Johnston took the unanimous vote needed for the city to enter into an agreement with the Foxfield Co., of South Carolina, for the sale of 99.74 acres of land, located along Alcovy and City Pond roads. Foxfield sought to buy an additional 86-acre parcel for future development as demand expanded.
The vote came after the project was on and off for two years.
The resurrected mix-use development project — called Project Phoenix because it grew out of the ashes of the earlier Project Kitchen Sink — included a proposed 900-seat movie theater, 264,000 square feet in office space, 760,000 square feet in retail space, over 18,000 square feet in restaurants, an 840-room hotel plus green space and preserves.
The city approved a zoning change and special zoning overlay district for the proposed Covington Town Center, previously called Project Phoenix.
The council unanimously approved the rezoning of the property from heavy industrial to corridor mixed-use and the proposed zoning overlay district. The property is broken into three separate parcels, totaling 179.53 acres of land.
The zoning overlay district makes isolated requirements for the property that are not typically required in a corridor mixed-use zone. The requirements can include signage height or style, landscaping or architectural design.
The city unanimously approved a construction performance agreement for the Covington Town Center project, moving it forward another step.
The city unanimously approved the rezoning of property on the corner of Alcovy Road and Highway 142 for a new retail center. The property, which had 5.486 acres of land, had sat development, and the developer had planned to bring commercial, retail and returns to the area. The project was to be a "sister site" to the Covington Town Center project, which was located across the street, according to Eric Johansen, of Universal Planning and Development and representative of Southpoint Land Co. in the rezoning.
A stop-work order had been issued on the Covington Town Center project, after trees were removed beyond the approved areas, which allowed sediment into a state waterway.