A trio of Columbus real-estate investors has purchased a large swath of land in the Midland area of Columbus with plans to develop the 86 acres into a mix of retail, restaurants and some residential housing. The working name for the development is Midland Commons.
Marty Flournoy, Chris Wightman and Jack Wright are partnering in the project near the intersection of U.S. Highway 80, or J.R. Allen Parkway, and U.S. Highway 27, or Manchester Expressway. Under the name, JMC Flatrock Partners LLC, they bought the property that formerly was home to a textile mill on June 6, paying $6.25 million to Swift Textiles LLC, according to Muscogee County real-estate records.
The property at 6801 Flat Road Road is adjacent to the Walmart Supercenter and commercial strip shopping centers on Gateway Road, with the back portion of the land running parallel to Flat Rock Park. Brighton Park Apartments also are adjacent to the parcel, with the Fall Line Trace paved trail running between them.
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“Certainly, the success or failure of any endeavor like that is going to be based on providing people in that area what they really want,” Flournoy said Tuesday of Midland Commons and its possibilities. “We’re definitely targeting stores and retailers that people in Midland — and all the way to Harris County and Talbot County — places that they’re going to want to shop and eat.”
A brochure that Wightman, a commercial broker with Flournoy & Calhoun Realtors in Columbus, has distributed to gauge interest in what should go into the development is fairly detailed. It shows a big-box retailer closest to the Walmart Supercenter, with a neighborhood retail center with at least a dozen tenants in the middle of the property.
Fronting J.R. Allen Parkway is another plaza or shopping center structure anchored by a grocery store. There are nine outparcels for future restaurants, a drug store and gas station. A small strip center is to the back of the development, as is a senior living complex close to the paved trail used by the public.
The brochure touts Midland Commons as a “mixed-use development with beauty of nature in the fastest growing area of Columbus, Georgia.” It lists a daily traffic count in the area of 50,000, with a population of just over 76,000 within a five-mile radius, with average annual household income of just under $68,000.
With the purchase of the property so recent, Flournoy said the timeline for construction on the land has yet to be determined. The plan is to rezone the former manufacturing site to a planned unit development considering the mix of housing into it. That will mean appearing before the city’s Planning Advisory Commission at a future date to be scheduled. Columbus Council would have to grant its ultimate approval.
Factoring into the development is the impact it might have on traffic in an area that already is bustling at times from the growth of both residential neighborhoods and commercial offerings that have sprung up near the major Columbus intersection. That includes the nearby Lakeside Village development with its various restaurants and other types of businesses, a large apartment complex there, and the shopping and eating establishments on Gateway Road and the Flat Rock Road intersection with J.R. Allen Parkway.
The Midland Commons property for decades was home to a Galey & Lord textile factory called the “Boland Plant,” which was shut down in 2006. The factory was torn down as the site was put up for sale, with several parties attempting to buy it. The property still has nearly a million square feet of concrete pad and asphalt parking from the manufacturing facility, with that needing to be removed before the retail and shopping development can proceed.
Other developments around the Columbus area