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Green Coast Georgia Ramps Up: New partner spearheading project in Columbus, GA

By Green Coast on 27 Mar 2017

Welcome Green Coast Georgia! Lex Kelso, Laurie DeVetger and Will Bradshaw stand on the historic mill building overlooking the Chattahoochee River
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Welcome Green Coast Georgia! Lex Kelso, Laurie DeVetger and Will Bradshaw stand on the historic mill building overlooking the Chattahoochee River

Will Bradshaw and Laurie DeVetger kept running into each other. The two Davidson College graduates (Class of ’99) had followed similar education and career orbits in urban planning and real estate development, and through the years, by chance they would see one another—a coffee shop in Baltimore for instance—and discuss possibly working together.

“We were kind of circling each other,” DeVetger says. “After Davidson, I would hear about what Will was up to and vice versa. I knew we had similar interests in historical renovation and community building. That™s kind of how it all evolved. And this past August, it just jelled.”

Along with Green Coast Principal Lex Kelso, DeVetger and Bradshaw formed Green Coast Enterprises Georgia, and this month they signed of letter of intent (LOI) with Ken Henson and the Historic Columbus Foundation to rehabilitate the City Mills property in Columbus, Georgia. The mixed-use project will consist of renovating two historic buildings, and possibly new construction.

DeVetger, who holds a master’s degree in preservation and another master’s degree in city and regional planning, visited New Orleans last year. Returning home to Thunderbolt, Georgia, which is located near her hometown of Savannah, she came away impressed with Green Coast’s projects, particularly the Pythian Building, and the company’s triple bottom line (Planet, People, Profit).

The City Mills property, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Columbus Historic River Front Industrial District, appealed to DeVetger. Horace King, a formerly enslaved man, erected the riverfront mill building (one of the two historic constructions on the property) in 1869, employing the power of the Chattahoochee River, which made Columbus one of the South’s earliest textile centers. The city has shown a commitment to renewing the area—City Village—where the property is situated and recently completed a two-year planning process.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and it’s thrilling to be in Columbus because they get it,“ DeVetger says. “They put their dollars where their mouths are and invested in a master plan that promotes their values and where they would like to see specific growth.”

DeVetger says that the project will be a catalyst for growth in the area, which previously had been neglected, and she adds that it™s not the only property that Green Coast Georgia wants to pursue.

“;We’re already looking at other projects that we could get involved in, and I imagine that we’ll be here for a long time.”

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