MOULTRIE — A four-member committee will consider a development proposal for the downtown Friedlander building that envisions commercial space on the first floor and second-story apartments.

Moultrie-Colquitt County Development Authority on Wednesday appointed the committee from among its members after hearing from the company that could be a partner in the development.

The authority purchased the building for $450,000 with the intent of expanding Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s downtown campus and increasing enrollment from 400 to 800. State budget cuts nixed that project for the historic building, which since has been considered for other projects including a call center.

Earlier this year Jonesboro, Ga.-based Community Development Partners Inc. asked to be given six months to develop a plan for the 37,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant for most of the previous 15 years.

The development company’s development plan includes 17 apartments, which, with the exception of three, will be one-bedroom units. It calls for a $3.8 million development budget, and estimates generating $236,898 in rental revenues in 2011 and $268,236 in 2012.

At Wednesday’s meeting, company representative Andrew Ham discussed several partnership arrangements with the authority. Those include the authority entering into a partnership with Community Development Partners or signing a long-term lease.

Authority member Jimmy Jeter, one of the four selected to consider the proposal and make a recommendation to the full body, said Thursday he still would like to see some type of educational use but is not opposed to the company’s proposal.

“It doesn’t serve any purpose to re-plow old ground, but that ABAC project, as they envisioned it several years ago, would have been super,” he said. “Everything about it was good, and then the economy went sour.”

The ABAC project would have been a perfect fit for the development authority because a better-educated work force would have increased opportunities and incomes in the community, Jeter said.

While ABAC is apparently out of the picture, a satellite campus for Valdosta State University or the University of Georgia could come together somewhere down the line, Jeter said.

“None of that’s to say a commercial development and loft apartments wouldn’t be a perfect fit for it,” he said. “The major thing being, is it good for Colquitt County and is it good for all people if at all possible.”

Jeter said he wants to hear input from others with a stake in downtown before making a decision, and delaying the authority vote gives them a chance to do that.

The development authority has not committed to anything with Community Development Partners to this point and could still reshape the project or consider other options, authority President Darrell Moore said Thursday.

“If it’s something we want to pursue they’ll send us some more information, or we can ask them to change it,” he said of the proposal. “We can do whatever we want to do right now.”

If the authority chooses to enter a contract with the company, Moore said he would like it to be sooner rather than later. The four-member committee, which in addition to Jeter consists of Daniel Dunn, Ronnie Marchant and Johnny Slocumb, likely will meet next week.

“We’d like to do something with that building as soon as we can,” Moore said. “I hope we do something, probably by the end of the year. I would say no later than January. I’m looking forward to doing something positive in the building.”

Prior Community Development Partners projects in Georgia include the Mitchell House in Thomasville, which has the same mix of downstairs retail space with condominiums upstairs, and the Bunn Building in Waycross.

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