McDuffie County is growing. The growth is evident because the planning and zoning office has issued 45 new addresses since January which includes 33 new building permits for new homes.
The city and county is beginning to see growth trickling in from Columbia County to eastern areas of McDuffie County on Whiteoak Road, Cobbham Road, Rouseau Creek and Dearing, said Planning & Zoning Administrator Chase Beggs.
He attributes Fort Gordon’s forthcoming new gate 6 on Gordon Highway on the Grovetown side of the post, people seeking to escape increasing congestion and people working in surrounding areas needing a place to live as reasons for the growing pockets in McDuffie County.
According to the CSRA Alliance for Fort Gordon, more than 13,000 people are expected to move into the region within five years because of the expansion at Fort Gordon and the burgeoning cyber complex.
“People are moving out of Columbia County toward us and we are definitely seeing a trickle from outside the county heading this way,” Beggs said. “It has been said that the new gate is going to send people this way. I have had people employed at Fort Gordon come in and ask questions about building,” he said. “I’m seeing that to be a fact,” he said.
Beggs has issued 45 new addresses since January. “Before you get your building permit, the first step is a new address,” he said. Of those new addresses, 33 are for new homes in Thomson and in McDuffie County. Two are addresses for new cell towers being constructed—one on Larkin Road in Dearing and Murray Avenue, off of Lincolnton Road.
“We are seeing positive growth, especially from the spillover from Columbia County, with people moving into our area and I think the economy also has picked up,” he said. “The amount of activity going on for the planning board shows that people are building and investing in these business endeavors,” he said.
The planning commission and county commission recently approved the division of two properties for homes this year. There are 10 new buildable lots on Moose Club Road and Wrightsboro Road. “These are not the subdivisions with roads and lights and sidewalks,” Beggs said. “Someone took 25 acres and subdivided it for homes,” he said.
Mark Herbert of Herbert Homes has two building projects in the works for Thomson and McDuffie County. Further development of the Cottages on Cleveland Street in Thomson is underway and a planned new village of homes, businesses and a restaurant at Exit 172 in Thomson is on the horizon.
In the expansion of the Cottages, 11 new town homes will be added to the development. The homes range from $120s to the upper $200s. Four of these homes are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year and construction has started on two more. Building the remaining five town homes will begin in the future.
Herbert Homes is also the contractor for Bordeaux, the planned new village of homes, businesses and a restaurant that will open at Exit 172 in Thomson.
Herbert plans to redevelop the old 1810 winery and bed and breakfast property on Seymour Drive and turn the 61.23 acres into a 195 townhouses and commercial venue called Bordeaux. The townhouses, of various sizes, will range from $125,00 to $155,000.
Beggs said his office has permitted the restaurant and construction has begun. “We have not had any housing permits issued on Bordeaux yet,” Beggs said. “They are still doing their site development,” he said. But the planned restaurant, The Café’ Bordeaux, has been permitted and construction is beginning. “Their plan is to build the restaurant, get it going, and start the building of the homes around it,” Beggs said.
Another new emerging residential neighborhood is Elias Station, located on Ginger Hill Road in Thomson with homes in the $180s to upper $200s price range. Winchester Homes of Augusta took over the property in 2017 and recently completed phase one of the subdivision that has been stagnant with development since 2007. The homebuilding company submitted plans for 71 lots in the subdivision and has built 15. “We should see building permits next year for the next phase because site development plans have been submitted,” Beggs said.
In another commercial enterprise, properties have been rezoned to allow for construction of new or remodeled businesses. The owner of the Happy Valley Store at Happy Valley Road and Wrens Highway plans to demolish the current Happy Valley store and rebuild a more modern store on the adjacent property.
Beggs said that although the owner has received the approval from the planning commission and the board of commissioners, his office has not received any plans or projected date of construction.
The transportation company Mag Carriers, which has been operating from Dearing, relocated to Thomson and set up some of its operation on 10-acres at Harrison Road and Whiteoak Road, in the field across the street from the Board of Education’s Transportation Barn.
The State of Georgia recently allocated $3.98 million for a new GBI facility in Thomson. The old Georgia State Patrol Post, next door to the GBI office on Washington Road, will be torn down and a new GBI facility will be constructed on it. When the building is completed and the operations move into it from next door, the current GBI building will be torn down and will become a parking lot. Work will also be done on the crime scene building located in the rear.
“We should see some construction occurring very soon there,” Beggs said.