Developers behind the fitness center project say they hope to bring in 7,000 to 10,000 members over the course of time and have the building completed by November 2012. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 17, 2011)
News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
EVANS, Ga. -- Just when you thought Evans couldn't grow anymore, a new state-of-the-art fitness center is coming to town.
This week commissioners approved a new 50,000 square foot facility to be built in Marshall Square. It's a prime piece of real estate, one that county leaders are still hoping will explode.
"You're beginning to see some activity in Marshall Square, which has been really stagnant for several years," explained Columbia County Director of Development Services Richard Harmon.
Visions for the development have been in the works since 2004 and only now are things starting to come to life.
"It's beginning to create something we don't have and that's a really Evans main street," Harmon said.
A five-story Taxslayer.com headquarters will be done before you know it, and it's not the only business on the way. A new state-of-the-art fitness center is coming, too.
"It's 6.3 acres, 50,000 square foot building. They hope to bring in 7,000 to 10,000 members over the course of time and they hope to have the building completed by November 2012," Harmon said.
More than just a gym, developers say it will also feature rehabilitation, nutrition counseling and sports medicine.
"We're really excited about the facility. We feel like it will be a great asset both to the Evans Town Center and to Marshall Square," Harmon said.
In 2009, a lawsuit filed by the developer stalled the plans after commissioners limited the number of apartments for the land. The two settled and now things are all business at Marshall Square.
"We're really looking forward to retail coming in there, whether it's restaurants or mercantile type establishments," Harmon explained.
It may have taken about seven years, but county leaders hope it's just the beginning.
"I think it's going to be a part of a stimulus to bring more construction activity into Marshall Square," Harmon said. "It's going to be a thriving little circle here in Evans."
The fitness center will be open by this time next year. We're told it will not be a big fitness chain, but it will be a local facility.
There's still a chance there could be some condos built there at Marshall Square, but they would have to be approved by commissioners. In that 2010 settlement, the county purchased half the land adjacent to the new Evans Town Center Park and are still debating exactly what to do with it.