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Monday, October 21, 2019
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Commercial Real Estate

Okatie Crossings Plans Delayed

When the developer of announced recently that the project would be delayed for more than a year, it wasn’t a surprise in light of current retail shopping trends and the percentage of vacant retail space in the region. The surprise was that The Sembler Company, the new developer, released information stating that they project would be re-branded as “The Colony,” with a more upscale image as a luxury outlet shopping center.

Construction will begin in the Spring of 2010, with the first phase opening in the Fall of 2011.  The Okatie Crossings name was used by the previous owners of the site. However, according to Jeff Fuqua, president of The Sembler Company, the compamy now says that no final decision has been made on the final direction of the site, or when construction will begin, and the release of a mailing piece on The Colony rebranding concept was in error.

Sembler Company announced this past Spring that a Cracker Barrel and a Chick-fil-A were committed to the project, not generally considered upscale restaurants, in what has been described by the company  as an open-air mall at the intersection of U.S. 278 and S.C.170. The City of Hardeeville developed a plan this past Spring to fund improvements to roads, sidewalks and sewer in the area based on the sale of bonds that will be guaranteed by Sembler.

If any company has their finger on the pulse of the retail industry, it's The Sembler Company, which has developed more than 130 shopping centers in the Eastern U.S, and has been considered the largest retail developer in the Atlanta area for more than eight years.

Hardeeville city officials were shown preliminary plans for a 300-acre development in Bluffton with a 1.5 million sq. ft. mixed-use development in February, with Sembler stating that construction would begin this summer, but Fuqua says now that the company is adjusting its plans based on the interest of retailers. A number of national retailers believe there is a market for a more upscale project that is capable of attracting shoppers from Charleston and Savannah, he states. Savannah, in particular, is perceived as lacking high-quality retail shopping.

But even if the project becomes more upscale, it will still resemble the preliminary plans which included large stores and a movie theater, as well as banks, restaurants and a bowling alley, according to Fuqua.  There is also a multi-family housing project concept set to be built on the corner of the site.  For the past eight years, Sembler has been considered Atlanta’s largest retail developer, and this Spring, was named the fifth fastest growing retail developer in the U.S. by Chain Store Age Magazine.
Last week, Sembler announced it has signed four key anchors for its “Town Brookhaven” site in Dekalb County in Atlanta, including Costco, Publix, L.A. Fitness and CineBistro, and is close to signing two more, according to Fuqua.

Sembler recently completed the 17.5 acre West Ashley Place project in Charleston which is anchored by a Publix, at the intersection of U.S. 17 and Main Rd.  And, this Spring, Sembler completed The Prado shopping center in Atlanta in the north Buckhead and Sandy Springs area on Roswell Road.

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