PlanFirst Success Story: City of Douglas

DCA’s PlanFirst program recognizes and rewards Georgia communities that clearly demonstrate an established pattern of successfully implementing their Local Comprehensive Plan. Our PlanFirst “Success Story” series highlights these cities and counties by sharing their incredible achievements. You can view all of the communities on our Story Map.

Douglas has been a Main Street City since 1987. In 2019, the city touted the opening of 20 new businesses, the creation of 64 jobs, and the addition of eight new downtown loft apartments, generating $3.3 million in public-private investment.

One opportunity listed in the 2018 City of Douglas Comprehensive Plan was to attract residential development to downtown Douglas. This opportunity was used to inform a project listed in the Work Program titled “Facilitate the development of Downtown Condos, Townhouses, Loft Apartments, and Mixed Use, per the Downtown Master Plan.”

Zoning in downtown Douglas is designed to allow for housing above retail and office uses. Since this plan was adopted, this project has been implemented downtown. The efforts of local investors to renovate historic buildings and add loft apartments help to support exiting and new businesses, populate streets, and create a more vibrant downtown.

The development of loft apartments enjoys broad support from the community and its leaders due to the positive effect on the downtown economy and the provision of additional, urban-style housing options. Douglas’ downtown district offers great living options for those who want amenities right outside their front door, thus providing attractive livable space for professionals and empty-nesters.

Downtown residents can walk to restaurants, entertainment, salons, boutiques, floral shops, and more. Through good design, the development proved to be a success regarding revitalization efforts. New lofts have a historic charm with exposed brick and modern kitchens. With livable space in downtown, officials wanted to create more than convenience – they wanted to capitalize on connections that keep people downtown.