A grand opening of the Evans Town Park development Thursday marked the addition of 52,000 square feet of office and retail space to Columbia County. About 250 local business people and dignitaries were on hand for a ribbon-cutting at the North Belair Road facility.
Ron Cross, the chairman of the Columbia County Commission, said the county needs more places to shop, such as Evans Town Park.
He said the amount of disposable income that has stayed in the county has risen from more than 48 percent to about 60 percent in the past three or four years.
"We're trying to keep more and more of that in the county," he said.
Matt Mills, vice president of Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial Corp., said the entire project covers 52 acres between North Belair and Hereford Farm roads. He said the property ultimately will include 350,000 square feet of office space and more than 50,000 square feet of retail space. By the time the construction is complete, Mr. Mills said, more than 1,500 people will work in the complex.
Three businesses -- Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate Co., TakoSushi and Tangles of Evans -- currently occupy the new retail and office park. TakoSushi is a restaurant featuring a sushi bar and Southwestern cuisine, and Tangles is a hair salon.
"This is an exciting day for our company. We've been doing business in Columbia County for over 30 years," Mr. Mills said. "This project is special to us. It represents our commitment to an upscale mixed use office project in Columbia County."
Tommy Blanchard, the president of Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate Co., agreed.
"We're proud to be a part of Columbia County," he said. "We've been doing business out here a long time, and it's been good to us."