Owners of a 15-acre parcel on Victory Drive are seeking rezoning to make way for a VA clinic to be developed on the property.
On Tuesday, Columbus Council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would change the zoning at 1301 Victory Drive from Heavy Manufacturing/Industrial to General Commercial, which would allow medical office development. The second reading will be June 20 at a 5:30 p.m. council meeting.
William J. Burgin, president of Jackson-Burgin Commercial Leasing and Development, said his family has owned the property for many years, and it’s currently being used for parking overflow from the Columbus Civic Center and for some Uptown Columbus events. He said Veterans Affairs has been looking for potential sites in the city, and the Victory Drive property is among three or four being considered. City officials said the clinic would be an out-patient facility.
“I’m working with five or so developers — people who are competing to build the building and lease the space to the VA — and our land is simply available for sale,” Burgin said. “We’re trying to make it available for a reasonable price, but at the same time (make it) competitive against the other sites, because we like the adjacency to Fort Benning and the population of veterans that surrounds the base.”
Burgin said the family has owned a 20-acre parcel along Victory Drive and Jackson Avenue since the Blanchard Industrial Park opened years ago. On about five of those acres, the family had a metal working plant that served the textile industry. The plant is currently being leased by various entities.
“That’s left us with a balance of about 15 acres that’s largely undeveloped,” he said. “The old King Air hangar sits on the corner and has had a number of uses. But it’s at the end of its life, so we’re actively looking for other opportunities, one of which that has come is for the need for Columbus, Georgia, to have a (VA) clinic closer to Fort Benning, closer to our veteran populations than the Tuskegee facility.”
Councilor Glenn Davis expressed concerns about impact the clinic could have on traffic.
City Planning Director Rick Jones said he believes the road system in the Victory Drive area will be able to handle the traffic, and rezoning will be subject to Georgia Department of Transportation approval.
Davis then asked who would be responsible for any traffic-related upgrades that might be necessary.
Burgin said he would be willing to absorb the cost.