Heavy equipment has started moving dirt at the Magnolia Village property on North Road in preparation for the construction of a $13.8 million, 22,934-square-foot veterans outpatient clinic.
The privately funded clinic will be located at 151 Magnolia Village Parkway on 5.3 acres.
The clinic will provide primary care, lab and mental health services and will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a potential for Saturday clinic hours. It will employ about 100 people.
Construction on the building is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a targeted completion date in the summer or fall of 2021.
"Over the past seven years, the Columbia VA has recognized the need to expand services in the Orangeburg area," Columbia Veterans Affairs Health Care System Public Affairs Officer Dillon McConnell said. "As our veteran population grows, we have expanded our clinical care services to meet rising demand."
"This community-based outpatient clinic will allow the Columbia VA to continue to meet the needs of its veterans by providing excellent care in state-of-the-art facilities with cutting-edge technology," McConnell said. "The new clinic is crucial for the Orangeburg veteran community, and surrounding areas, since it is the midway point between the Columbia and Charleston VAs."
The new clinic will replace the existing one currently located at the Village Park off St. Matthews Road. The current facility serves more than 3,400 enrolled veterans, according to the Columbia VA.
"This patient population is projected to increase over the next few years to more than 4,000," McConnell said. "The new clinic will be able to accommodate for any increase as the Orangeburg clinic continues to provide and expand services for veterans in Orangeburg, Calhoun, Dorchester, Bamberg, Barnwell and Allendale counties."
The Magnolia Village clinic will also have more room to park, with about 144 parking spaces, including four spaces for motorcycle parking.
The clinic will include exam rooms, telehealth exam rooms and consultative rooms. A laboratory will also be available for blood draws.
The clinic will be owned by Orangeburg Investors LLC and will be leased to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a period of 20 years.
The building's shell will be paid for by the owner, and anything beyond the shell will be paid for by Tenant Improvement funds, provided from the Veterans Integrated Service Network 7’s operational budget, McConnell said.
Maryland-based NIKIA is the project architect and engineering firm.
Indiana-based Hokanson Companies Inc. will provide development services and management services to Orangeburg Investors LLC.
Griffin Solutions LLC, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, will also help with the project.
Alabama-based Doster Construction Company is the project contractor.
The clinic will be the first tenant of the Magnolia Village property.
Orangeburg's Century 21 The Moore Group President Marion Moore joined with executive chairman of Orangeburg's CF Evans Construction, Johnny Evans, to develop the 62-acre property for restaurants, retail, entertainment and residential uses. The men created Fort Motte Partners LLC for the project.
There were plans to begin construction on the property in 2006, but an economic downturn all but halted any plans or development.
There were no signs of activity until the fall of 2016, when land clearing began.
"The perseverance and hard work to get one of these deals from vision to fruition is amazing," Moore said.
The development is located near the city's new recreation complex, which has two clusters of baseball and softball fields, restrooms, walking and biking trails, and playground equipment.
The VA project has been in the works for the past year to 14 months, Moore said.
"We pulled most of the property off the market waiting for the ballparks to be completed," Moore said. "We will go back to market with food and retail. I think we have something special now."
Moore hopes the VA clinic could be the impetus for great things for the property.
"I will be very disappointed if it does not create something pretty quickly," he said, but added, "pending another COVID shutdown."
According to the property development layout plans, there will be four properties in front of the clinic, with North Road frontage that Moore says will be marketed for food and retail.
According to property development plans, the parcels will range from .92 acres to 1.50 acres in size with available under-roof square footage between 40,000 and 65,000.
Plans also show the availability of three parcels for development on the right side of the Magnolia Village entrance fronting North Road.
The three parcels will be range from 1.24 acres to 1.61 acres with available under-roof square footage between 54,000 and 70,000.
There will also be two anchor parcels -- totaling 6.78 acres-- adjacent to the VA clinic property on the other side of the property entrance roadway, with proposed plans to build facilities between 100,000 and 200,000 square feet.
Moore is bullish on the property.
"Think about the kids and tournaments that will go on there," he said. "You will have several hundred people in the hospital."
Moore also noted North Road already has a high traffic count and there are other retailers in the area.
"I think we have something really good," he said.
Moore said while he is optimistic, he is fully aware of the need to not "count chickens before they hatch."
"It is getting harder and harder for markets like ours to recruit food and retail," he said. "I think Orangeburg is holding its own, and I think we will see improvement across the board.
"The housing market is very strong and that is always a good indicator.”
In addition to building space, plans for the property also include green space such as walking paths, ponds and open spaces.
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