What sells?

If it were up to me, the only 8-story structure I’d build in Obey Creek would be a water slide. I’d accessorize it with a batting cage and a miniature golf course. I’d put a grocery store nearby, but a Walmart would be a tough sell, if we’ve learned anything from the Chatham County residents’ response to the Walmart that was proposed a mile or two south on 15-501. The developer is still sulking about that one. Maybe if we made it a two-story Walmart, with skylights and a landscaped buffer, not unlike the Walgreens that will soon be built on East Franklin Street and Estes Drive, that would fit in with our friendly village image.

But my vision is different from Roger Perry’s. Maybe that’s why he’s sitting on an empire, and I’m toiling away past midnight for free, sitting on a steadily shrinking nest egg.

In reading all the comments disparaging Roger Perry’s developments, I couldn’t silence the little voice in my head that kept saying, “But they sell.” Whatever we think of the aesthetics of East 54, Meadowmont and Buckhorn Village, they have all sold well, despite vocal community opposition. Somebody must like them enough to lay their money down.

I would never bet against Roger Perry’s ability to pick a market. And although he has made lots and lots of money off his developments, he has also increased the supply of desirable affordable housing. I’m counting on him continuing that at Obey Creek, though socioeconomic diversity is just as important in housing developments as it is in schools. You have to have the right mix of haves and have-nots to avoid a tipping point that will cause one side or the other to find the place undesirable.

Not that I think Town Council should give Roger Perry carte blanche to build whatever he wants wherever he wants. But rest assured he’s not going to propose something that won’t find customers. Maybe Ram Development should give him a call.
– Nancy Oates

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1 Comment

  1. Bill

     /  May 22, 2010

    Maybe at long last, he can bring a Walmart to this town. Then he would be on my list of great people, along with Obama.