Residential capture rate for downtown Brunswick higher than expected

Downtown Brunswick could absorb at least 61 rental and for-sale housing units per year over the next five years, according to a new study of the city’s residential market potential.


The study, which was commissioned by the Coastal Georgia Foundation, found the annual potential for new downtown housing could be as high as 75 units. Prepared by the nationally respected firm Zimmerman/Volk Associates, the study also found that an additional 41 to 64 new housing units could be absorbed annually just outside Downtown in an area the study described as “In-Town Brunswick.”


Justin Callaway, the president of NewCIty Brunswick, said the study’s results are extremely encouraging. “We believe the key to revitalizing Brunswick is attracting new residents, so these findings couldn’t be much better news,” Callaway said. NewCIty Brunswick is the newly formed nonprofit that will support adding new housing units with creative, private sector funding.


The results of the study were shared on Nov. 13 at a meeting featuring Laurie Volk, a principal in the research firm. Interested to read the whole study? Contact Anna Hall for a copy.


The study was funded by individual stakeholders in collaboration with the foundation. Brad Piazza, of Port City Partners, said he was excited by the findings. “Zimmerman/Volk has provided, in granular detail, a meticulously constructed analysis of the future of housing downtown,” said Piazza. His firm is developing 12 loft apartment units to come online in 2021. “The appetite is there, now we need the inventory.”


Paul White, the foundation’s president, said the study more than confirmed what many Brunswick stakeholders had suspected after visiting Macon last summer. Zimmerman/Volk had estimated that Macon’s downtown housing demand was 200 units a year. “With all that Brunswick and the Golden Isles had to offer, we believed that Brunswick held rich potential for attracting new residents,” White said. “If people come, then businesses will follow.”


The research firm defined Downtown as generally encompassing the blocks between I Street to the north, George Street to the south and between Albany Street to the east and Bay Street to the west. In-Town Brunswick is bounded by L Street to the north, Glynn Avenue to the east, 1st Avenue to the south and Bay Street to the West.


Bert Roughton, who is leading the formation of Forward Brunswick, said he was encouraged by the study’s finding of substantial potential beyond Downtown. “For Brunswick to live up to its full potential, it must be about more than Downtown,” Roughton said. “While a lively regional Downtown is the lynchpin, this study provides a solid foundation to extend our vision beyond the central city.”

Other findings from the study include:
- Multi-family developments are the most appropriate form of housing for Downtown.
- Nearly half the potential new households live outside of Brunswick; the other half are households moving from one unit to another within the city.
- Most new households would comprise younger singles and childless couples, followed by empty nesters and retirees.

About Forward Brunswick
Forward Brunswick is an inclusive, broad-based collaboration of city stakeholders intended to foster economic vitality, engagement, communication and cooperation. Forward Brunswick supports the city’s residents, community leaders and business owners in the pursuit of a shared vision for prosperity.

About NewCity Brunswick
NewCity Brunswick, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded this September, uses private capital to support residential development and redevelopment projects with creative financing tools and a revolving loan program. It also fills the gap in conventional approaches to financing such projects and provide support to local businesses and startups through training and some financial assistance. NewCity works in partnership with existing agencies, such as the Downtown Development Authority, and city and county economic development departments. www.newcitybrunswick.com

About the Coastal Georgia Foundation
The Coastal Georgia Foundation was incorporated in 2005, as a tax-exempt public charity created by and for the people of Glynn, McIntosh and Camden counties. The Foundation now has assets of approximately $20 million and has awarded over $14 million in grants, the majority to community organizations in the three-county region and beyond. The Foundation serves ordinary citizens who have the extraordinary vision for a better life for their neighbors, friends, families, and fellow coastal Georgians - today and for future generations. The Foundation seeks to be the region’s trusted source for thoughtful philanthropic counsel, sound financial management and strategic community investment. www.coastalgeorgiafoundation.org


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