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MARIETTA, GA-In a deal that took 10 months to complete, locally based Synergy Lake Oconee LLC has purchased 1,000 acres on Lake Oconee in Morgan and Putnam counties from Atlanta landowners Jim Combee and Chancey Shepherd for $10.2 million or $10,200 per acre (23 cents per sf). The locally based developer partnership plans to build a $65-million development on the site, about 60 miles southwest of Downtown Atlanta.

The developer partnership, which includes locally based Synergy Realty Services, plans an undetermined number of townhomes, villas, condominiums and single-family residences on the site. David E. Arnal, who heads up planning and permitting for Synergy, tells GlobeSt.com the anticipated price range for the homes will be from the mid $200,000s to the $1 million-plus.

Proposed amenities at the gated community include a waterfront village, a series of interconnected freshwater lakes and walking, bike and nature trails along the 15,000 feet Lake Oconee shoreline.

The project’s tentative ground-breaking date is the week of the Masters Golf Tournament in April 2006. The venture has been in the planning stage since March. “This is not simply another Georgia planted pine plantation that happens to be on Lake Oconee,” Arnal says. “The previous owners used this property for recreational hunting and did a great job of managing the forest to maximize the mix of large oaks, hickories, pines and walnut trees.” The sellers had owned the property since the mid-1970s.

Arnal estimated the development period will be five years to seven years. Most local and state approvals for the project are in place with the remaining approvals expected by year end. Arnal represented the Synergy Lake Oconee LLC in the acquisition. Ed Latham of Prudential negotiated for the sellers. Wood and Partners of Hilton Head, SC is designing the community.

“We anticipate that our plans for this property will help to invigorate economic development along the Morgan and Putnam County lakefront,” says Synergy’s Randy Herron. “Because we will rely on private road, water and sewer infrastructure, the net effect of this development will be very positive for the property tax base, since very few public services will be required.”

The project will be the first of its kind Morgan County, Arnal says. Neighboring Putnam County has several other master-planned gated communities, including Cuscowilla and Reynolds Plantation’s Great Waters.

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