Joe Mullins Reaches Out to Flagler Beach Community to Help Repair Damage Done by Hurricane Matthew

Staff Report From Augusta CEO

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Many areas were beaten by Hurricane Matthew as it roared up the East Coast. Residents of Flagler Beach came together this past weekend to repair the damage caused by the storm. Numerous volunteers including Joe Mullins of Mullins Management and Entertainment, a company that owns commercial real estate across the Southeast and manages nonprofit events, worked to clean the beach and reopen the area as soon as possible. 

“This community means the world to me and when I knew the damage was great in the area, I wanted to help.” Joe Mullins is from Augusta, Georgia and travels frequently between his two homes. Mullins purchased lunch for over 150 volunteers including residents, fireman, police and city workers from Golden Lion and Tortugas restaurants. “While my companies plan to help in many other ways, it was the least I could do as everyone sacrificed their time in the hot weather to reclaim our beach. I have loved this community for many years. It has been very good to me and holds precious memories for my family. I think it is so incredible to see so many come together.” 

According to the FlaglerLive.com, the “plan is to have at least the beach in the area of the boardwalk opened up soon, with as quick a repair to as many walk-overs as possible in the near future to progressively reopen further portions. It’s essential for the city’s economy and its sense of normalcy, even though big portions of A1A, which collapsed, will remain closed, forcing businesses along that stretch at the south end of town to try to survive by attracting customers through Central Avenue.” 

Mullins plans to continue to work with city officials to provide time and resources to clean the beach and assist local businesses that have suffered significant loss from the storm.

Annual Columbia County Snowfest Right Around the Corner, Sponsored by Kirkland’s Flooring

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Finding snow this upcoming year in Columbia County will be easy. The Fifth Annual Columbia County Snowfest returns to Evans Towne Center Park on Jan. 14, 2017 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Two sponsorship opportunities remain for companies to expose their products, services and brand to thousands in the community. 

The annual event is produced by Mullins Management & Entertainment, and each year proceeds from Snowfest benefit a local charity. This year, proceeds will benefit Press On, a local nonprofit group dedicated to supporting research and finding a cure for childhood cancer. 

Snowfest’s premier sponsor this year is Kirkland’s Flooring, a full service flooring company serving the CSRA. Additional support has been provided by Evans Fitness Club, Georgia Power, Gerald Jones Auto Group, Windsor Fine Jewelers and Advanced Technology Group. Media sponsors include Channel 12 & 26, The Augusta Chronicle and iHeartRadio.

“We really appreciate other businesses in the community that step up each year and support Snowfest,” said Joe Mullins, CEO of Mullins Management & Entertainment. “I especially want to thank Kirkland’s for their partnership. Russell Kirkland and his employees have went all out to help make this event a success.”

Snowfest 2017 includes a full day of live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, inflatables, a large carnival area, climbing wall, trackless train, kid’s karaoke on stage and showcases from local schools. To celebrate the 5th anniversary of Snowfest there is no charge to attend. 

Snowfest 2017 will also feature snow tubing slides and the return of the original snow fields for all ages. Plus there will be the return of the popular costumed Snowfest friends and characters.  While attendance is free, arm bands cost just $10 to participate in select attractions like rides. (Use promo code “frozen” to get half off.)

Ride Tickets: https://www.cityspintickets.com/e/kirklands-flooring-presents-snowfest-2017/

Says Mullins, “We have several ways companies can partner with Snowfest including signage, mentions in material leading up to the event and on-site space to display products and services. It’s a great way to get out into community and see customers and prospects - all for a good cause.” 

Two sponsorship opportunities remain. For sponsorship or vendor information, contact Shae at 706-463-8696.

Jacoby Development to Redevelop Marineland and Palm Coast Resort

Interest expressed in both projects from several hotel operators plus the strength and vitality of the Flagler market encouraged Jacoby to press forward with plans for both locations.

By Toby Tobin

PALM COAST, FL – October 26, 2017 – Atlanta-based Jacoby Development Inc. (JDI) yesterday announced plans to redevelop Marineland and Palm Coast Resort in Flagler County, revitalizing these long-underutilized waterfront sites in northeast Florida. Work is expected to commence at both sites in early 2018. The total estimated investment value of the two projects exceeds $150M.

For these projects, JDI and its private investment partners will be teaming with VCC Construction, one of the largest commercial construction companies in the U.S. Over the past 25 years, JDI and VCC have collaborated on more than 20 commercial developments, most notably Atlantic Station. VCC shares JDI’s commitment to environmentally responsible development – the company has built many green-oriented projects, including a LEED Gold office building at Atlantic Station (for JDI), Downtown Summerlin in Las Vegas, and Northfield at Stapleton in Denver, the first Green-Certified Main Street center in the U.S.

Palm Coast Resort

Background

The Palm Coast Resort site is located at the intersection of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and Country Club Waterway (AKA South Cut), the gateway entrance to the majority of Palm Coast’s miles of saltwater canals (highlighted in blue legend in the accompanying map). The ten-acre site was once the home of a Sheraton Hotel. It and the nearby Palm Harbor Golf Course were acquired by Centex Destination Properties during the “wild west” days of the real estate bubble.

Centex had aggregated and begun to develop and market several ICW properties; Marineland, Tidelands, Palm Coast Resort, Palm Harbor Golf Club, Canopy Walk, and Bulow Shores. Centex also developed the Cinnamon Beach and Villas at Hammock Beach condominiums. Their concept was to market the properties as components of a destination resort connected by a water taxi service.

Centex closed the Palm Harbor golf course, razed the clubhouse, and engaged Jack Nicklaus to redesign a tournament-level course. The Sheraton was razed in 2006 to make way for a planned complex that would include three condominium towers, a hotel, and a multi-level parking garage. Land within the golf course boundaries, including what is now the practice area, was entitled for future condominium development by Centex. The redesigned golf course and marinas at both Palm Coast Resort and Marineland would be shared resort amenities.

Only one condominium tower and the parking garage were completed at the former Sheraton site before the real estate bubble burst. Centex left town with its tail between its legs after ceding the closed golf course to the city. Following a $5M renovation, Palm Coast reopened and continues to operate the Palm Harbor Golf course as a municipal facility. The original Centex entitlements at the golf course and practice range remain; a nagging worry for golfers.

[Both Tideland and Canopy Walk have successfully morphed into owner-occupied residential communities. Bulow Shores, on John Anderson Hwy, was purchased from Centex in 2007 by Ginn Development. It was subsequently sold for $3M in 2015 to Seaside Landings, of Naples. Seaside completed the site development this year and began marketing the re-platted ICW property as Seaside Landings.]

Jacoby’s Palm Coast Resort Plans

At the resort site, Jacoby proposes:

  • 100 room/key marina hotel and conference center
  • Waterfront residential units (not as tall as the planned Centex condominiums)
  • Waterfront dining and retail
  • Renovation of the existing 86-slip marina

Naturally, Palm Coast is very interested in seeing a jewel property such as Palm Coast Resort succeed. However, the “condominium on the practice range” issue would be viewed as a stumbling block by golfers/voters. Hence, Jacoby’s vision includes only 96 golf course multi-family units, all to be located between the clubhouse and the waterway, leaving the existing practice area intact.

Golf Course and Marina Sites for Palm Coast Resort

 

 

Marineland

Background

Opened in 1938, Marineland was the world’s first oceanarium and was once the busiest visitor attraction in Florida, drawing more than 1 million visitors per year. Marineland’s unique natural characteristics led the State of Florida to designate Marineland as “Florida’s First Remarkable Coastal Place.” JDI redeveloped the oceanarium in the early 2000s, which operates today as the Georgia Aquarium’s Marineland Dolphin Adventure.

 

Built in 1938, Marineland gained notoriety as both a movie studio (Creature from the Black Lagoon and many other films and TV shows were shot here) and as Florida’s top tourist attraction during the 1950s and 1960s. Jacoby acquired the Marineland property in 1998, redeveloped the oceanarium, and subsequently sold it to the Georgia Aquarium, which operates it today as Marineland Dolphin Adventure

Jacoby has long ties to Marineland beginning with childhood visits to the dolphin attraction. He purchased 40 acres, including the aquatic theme park, for $1.9M in 2001. Jacoby is credited with saving the theme park, rebuilding it after it suffered severe hurricane damage in 2004.

In December 2015, JDI purchased five parcels south of the Marineland Marina totaling nearly 35 acres. A 1.76-acre parcel is on the beach side of scenic A1A. The remaining parcels are west of A1A. The reported purchase price was $5.5M. Ironically, Jacoby had previously sold the same property to Centex for a reported $23M. Jacoby already owned a contiguous sixth 2-acre parcel.

Jacoby’s Marineland Plans

JDI plans to develop a resort village on the 37 acres featuring an oceanfront hotel and beach club, an eco-resort and spa along the Intracoastal Waterway, and a Vacation Village featuring single-family homes for rent or sale.

 

Marineland sits at the center of more than 40,000 acres of protected lands and estuarine waters located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River. Its unique natural characteristics led the State of Florida to designate Marineland as “Florida’s First Remarkable Coastal Place.”

A 2007 Wall Street Journal article describes Jim Jacoby:

Mr. Jacoby, by his own account, made more than $100 million over several decades clearing land to build supermarkets, strip malls, and nearly 40 Wal-Mart stores throughout the South.

He has since become a convert to "green" development and wants to make Marineland a showcase for his newfound eco-friendly business principles.

 


Jacoby Development, Inc. is an Atlanta-based real estate development firm with a 40-year track record of success and a reputation for environmentally-responsible redevelopment.  JDI is best known for leading the development of Atlantic Station, which transformed a derelict steel mill site in Midtown Atlanta into an iconic live-work-play destination, and the redevelopment of a former Ford Assembly plant in Atlanta as the headquarters of Porsche Cars North America. JDI’s work has been honored with many awards from environmental groups, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Southface Energy Institute, and the Georgia Conservancy. 

 

http://gotoby.com/news/article/2999/Jacoby-Development-to-Redevelop-Marineland-and-Palm-Coast-Resort

New 'Mullins Colony' shopping center set to open in Evans

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – In ten short months, the seven acres off Washington Road went from piles of dirt to black asphalt and big buildings.

Already, people like Kathy McDaniel are anxious to see what’s inside.

“I actually came a day early thinking they had opened. I am so excited they’ve got this,” said McDaniel.

Belk sits at the very center of Mullins Colony, on schedule to open next week.

“We’ll get Belk open, and we’ll finish with more of the décor, the landscaping, and then we’ll turn around and start popping out the other stores.”

It’s the wide open space, dark wood paired with brick and steel Joe Mullins hopes will give this development a different feel from what the county already has.

“I would probably say, you’re going to have restaurants on both sides. You’re going to have a balance and there will be different shops.”

The developer says at least two restaurants should be open by the end of the year. The hope is to bring more with a big emphasis on outdoor seating and open space.

“I'm thrilled I can't wait for this to open to see what they've got,” said McDaniel.

Starting today, you may notice another change. A new traffic signal at Washington Road and the entrance to Mullins Colony. Crews already made the connection from Mullins Crossing to Mullins Colony to help with congestion.

“The traffic signal is huge. That is what delayed everything with the center. We wanted to make sure we had a very good in-and-out to be able to get in and out of the center and be safe,” said Mullins.

Come a year from now, you might hardly recognize what used to be an empty lot.

http://www.wrdw.com/content/news/New-Mullins-Colony-shopping-center-set-to-open-in-Evans-449329023.html

Kept in the Family

When Augusta physician and pathologist Dr. Frank Mullins Jr. bought a 160-acre homestead in Evans in 1963 for about $150,000, some folks thought he got a raw deal.

His youngest son, Joe Mullins, heard that story during his recent campaign for the area’s District 122 Georgia House seat.

“When I was running for office, I met a guy who told me that the guy who sold it to him went around town saying, ‘I just took that doctor. He overpaid for a piece of property. I can’t believe he paid it,’” Joe said.

The seller also uttered this prediction: “He won’t be able to do anything but farm with that property.”

“But I think it’s worked out OK for us,” Joe said.

By “OK,” he is referring to the bustling Mullins Crossing shopping center in the 4200 block of Washington Road, just past the Club Car plant. A business headed by Joe’s older brother Frank III commercially developed the family property.

Next to Mullins Crossing, another shopping center, called Mullins Colony, is taking shape. The anchor business for that development, a Belk department store, is scheduled to open Oct. 11.

All that is on the land the Mullins family called home for decades – long overseen by a matriarch whose loving, driving purpose was to keep the land in the family.

“She had some incredible offers after Phase One was developed that would’ve immediately given her money,” Joe said of his mother, Joann. “But her vision was to never sell.”

When Dr. Mullins bought the property dubbed Pine Needle Ranch, he and Joann had been married five years. He wanted a place to raise a large family – which grew to two daughters and three sons – and a place to farm, like where he spent his childhood in north Georgia.

Dr. Mullins would work days at his medical practice and at his clinical pathology laboratory. Then he would try to make it home before sunset, often without bothering to change clothes, to tend to the farm as a form of relaxation.

He became a common sight – atop his tractor, wearing a shirt and tie – on that stretch of Washington Road. He also had his Cadillac equipped with a trailer hitch to perform any farm-related hauling.

Along with the main house of about 7,000 square feet, the property came with three smaller houses, a barn, a tractor shed, a chickenhouse, a large pond and – installed by the previous owner – a small golf course, which Evans High School used. Dr. Mullins opened the course for public use for a few years, but closed it down after a mishap with a visiting motorist injured his son Frank, then in elementary school.

Joann Mullins took that incident to heart. She decided then to make the place, in Joe’s words, “a fortress” where the family would be safe. The entire property was fenced and, until recently, had an elaborate entrance gate on Washington Road equipped with what looked like brick guardhouses. Actually, Joe said, they were meant to be shelters for the Mullins children to wait for the school bus.

“We were very protective over the property. She wanted a safe place for us to play and grow up, and spend our childhood,” he said.

Joe wasn’t always crazy about that protection.

“All my friends would talk about going over to their friends’ houses after school and they lived in neighborhoods,” Joe said. “I remember coming home from school and asking Mom, ‘Can we live in a neighborhood? Why do we have to live on such an isolated big place?’ Mom just kind of looked at me and said, ‘This is our home.’ And she taught us to defend the place. She taught us to respect it, take care of it.”

The wide-open space on the property also allowed Dr. Mullins to land his airplane, a Beechcraft Baron, and take off from his house on medical business.

On Groundhog Day in 1973, Dr. Mullins took off for the last time.

It’s believed while he attempted to land near Greenville, S.C., dense morning fog caused him not to see the approaching treeline. The crash in nearby Mauldin took Dr. Mullins’ life.

That left Joann Mullins, at age 36, a widow with five children. Joe was 2.

When Joe asked her years later why she had Dr. Mullins buried in what became a family cemetery at Pine Needle Ranch, she told him, “I never wanted him to leave us. It’s just a reminder of how precious life is.” All visitors to the house would pass the cemetery as they went up the driveway.

Many parts of the property were not as somber. There was a rose garden. An antique trolley car that used to serve downtown Augusta anchored a play area for the children. The chickenhouse, since there were no chickens, became a playhouse and a barbecue pit for social gatherings such as school parties and Easter egg hunts.

“Everybody we went to school with kind of knew our place was a big playground. There were no parks around at the time, but we had a big play yard with a fenced-in area, and we used to go out there and play, and all the kids would come in from school,” Joe said. “It was kind of the known place to have your kids play and have fun.”

Other people would visit Pine Needle Ranch for different reasons.

Not long after Dr. Mullins’ death, Joann Mullins was approached by men who produced documents they said showed her husband intended to sell the property to them.

“It was known that she was by herself, and people came up and tried to take advantage of her,” Joe said.

Because of the family’s community roots, public figures such as then-Columbia County commissioners Vince Robertson and Al Dempsey would rise to her defense, Joe said. The sheriff’s office routinely would send officers to check on the property. She also remarried, to John Attaway, who worked at Johnson Motor Co.

But over the decades, the five Mullins siblings encountered several speculators who would pitch ideas on what their mother should do with the ranch.

First there was the proposed housing development. Then a senior care home. An early plan for extending Riverwatch Parkway would have placed a bridge over the property’s pond, rendering all the land beneath it useless for future development.

The family fended off several unsolicited offers on Pine Needle Ranch. Meanwhile, the kids had to balance school, athletics and other extracurricular activities with their obligations to looking after the property. Joe said he and his older brother Fred were responsible for the property’s appearance, and Frank was in charge of “protecting” the property, both physically and later from outside developmental encroachment.

The family launched several enterprises to keep their property taxes paid. Farmers would graze cattle there. Later they grazed and stabled horses. In 1987, a golf driving range was erected on ranch land and stayed around until 2004, when site work began in earnest on the shopping center there today.

By then, Wal-Mart had approached the Mullins family about building a supercenter there, but the family considered the deal unsuitable. Instead, teaming with Charlotte, N.C.-based commercial real estate firm Collett and Associates, Frank Mullins began developing Mullins Crossing, with Target being the eventual anchor store.

One condition of Mullins’ deal with Target was a competing retailer could not be constructed adjacent to Mullins Crossing. But, Joe said a subsequent look at the property lines showed the ranch parcel next to Mullins Crossing actually belonged not to the siblings, but to their mother, who wasn’t bound by the Target agreement.

That cleared the way for what initially was referred to as Phase Two of Mullins Crossing. Hobby Lobby showed interest in being the new anchor store, but opted to locate instead at Augusta Exchange. That placed aspects of the new development in doubt.

Then the Georgia Department of Transportation paid the Mullins family a visit. As part of the ongoing Riverwatch extension project, the state needed fill dirt. The Mullins had it and the state was willing to pay for it.

After negotiating, Joe said, Frank Mullins informed the family they would be giving them the dirt for free. Mystified, Joe asked why.

Frank said the state gets the dirt on one condition: The state, in turn, would completely grade and level the property for development, which would save the family the steep costs of doing it themselves.

“I’ll never forget,” Joe said. “Mom hugged his neck and said, ‘Frank, that’s why I put you over this property when you were 10.’”

She died in 2013, the day after Thanksgiving. After her death, the house was demolished.

“When Mom passed away, Frank’s commitment was: This has got to be something more special than Phase One,” Joe said of the new shopping center. Based on that, Frank coined the development’s new name: Mullins Colony.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/business/2017-09-30/kept-family

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Apartment upgrades aim to increase property values

From the outside, Applecross Community apartments may not look much different today than when Joe Mullins' company, Mullins Management, purchased the multi-family unit property in 2015. But while subtle, major internal changes have taken place at the dilapidated complex and more external improvements are on the way.

A year into owning the Martinez complex off Washington Road, Mullins says they have hired a totally new management and maintenance staff, removed trouble tenants and have completed upgrades in approximately 20 of the more than 50-unit complex.

Some upgrades include the installation of new floors, appliances and construction of new closet space inside each unit to house its own washer and dryer. New roofing and a paved parking lot are also planned. The biggest upgrade will be in the new exterior facade crews will be installing soon.

"We are going to put siding up and be giving it a wall look, instead of a shingled roof look," Mullins said, adding that the satellites that clutter the lawns and sides of the buildings will also be removed.

Mullins said that after purchasing new properties like Applecross Community, their method is to let things run as they have previously for the first year, but that did not last long, he said, citing trouble with vandalism and theft.

Mullins said some units that had been remodeled when the property was first purchased, were now trashed by its previous occupants. One such apartment had boarded up windows that had been busted out, and the rock used to do the damage was inside unit, which was in even worse shape. Holes punched in sections of the walls and those surfaces left in tact were covered in stains, and dirt and debris covered broken fans and appliances.

"Part of the problem is that people don't want to call us to report maintenance issues because they don't want us finding out what's going on inside," Mullins said, adding that one, two-bedroom unit had 12 people living in it. "We now do monthly checks with pest control, so we're finding out a lot of stuff that's going on and happening here."

Mullins said reward signs had to be posted throughout the complex for information on who was deliberately throwing trash outside the dumpsters in the complex. Fire extinguishers and porch lights that were repaired or added in the breezeways between units were also vandalized and stolen.

"One of the challenges we had in the beginning, as quick as we fixed stuff, fixed windows and repaired things, some of the kids and some of the neighbors would bust them out," Mullins said. "So we kind of pulled back a little bit on the renovations and continued to do our weeding process and now we've gotten to the point where we are about to begin major renovations."

Mullins said safety regulations such as no grills on porches will also be implemented for safety and that the parking lots throughout the community will be paved.

An increase in rent has also taken place in the past year, Mullins said, from $400 to nearly $600 and will continue as the complex is updated and renovated.

But residents will not be turned out, Mullins said, adding that increase in rent will be gradual and that his company will offer assistance with rehoming some residents who may need the help.

"We are going to allow (current renters) to stay in there at a lower rent as long as there is no trouble or no problems, and as long as they keep up the place, we work with them and gradually move it over a period of time," Mullins said. "As long as it's a suitable living condition and they're not causing problems, we will work with them. And as the rents increase we work to relocate them. We've got some properties that are pretty good in some nice areas that fit their budget a little more. Ultimately, we do try to work with them as much as we can."

Mullins said the ultimate goal is to increase the rent to somewhere in the $900 range and is looking to add more amenities like a swimming pool, community center and home gym to make it suitable for young professionals.

And while Mullins said the property has come with major challenges such as a mold problems through much of the complex, old heating and cooling units, among many other issues, the promise of profit is there. And it's all due to old complex's location.

"Profit wise in Columbia County, this property value could be five times what it is today, the land is worth a fortune," Mullins said. "The fact that you have apartments in a community that has a yearly moratorium on building them, is worth a fortune, so they need to be fixed up and done the right way, so I see a lot of profit ahead, probably making five times the value of the property today," Mullins said.

Mullins said he purchased each roughly 1,000 square-foot unit at about $30,000 each. And with an estimated completion date of "this time next year," Mullins said he estimates the final price tag including purchase price to be a little more than $4 million.

But it's work that Mullins said will improve property values for the townhomes and residences that surround the complex, some of which are worth up to $100,000 or more.

And with the upgrades, will eventually come a new name, Mullins said. He hinted at calling the complex Southern Grace West, after Southern Grace, a property similar to Applecross, formerly known as Brandywine in Augusta, that Mullins also purchased and updated.

"We will end up changing the name of the complex because we want a whole new history with it," Mullins said of renaming Applecross Community.

"This is me believing in Columbia County and I know what Columbia County can have to offer and I know what values it has," Mullins said. "So this is me seeing the vision of Columbia County."

Upscale grocer, clothing retailer being sought as anchor tenants of new Mullins Crossing phase

The wait for more retail and restaurants at a new section of Mullins Crossing in Evans could soon end.

Nearly a year after contractors started grading the 21-acre site at 4263 Washington Road, developers say a high-end grocery store, upscale clothing retailer and sports bar-type restaurants are on the horizon for the next phase of the Columbia County shopping center.

Joe Mullins, who is developing the property with his brother Frank, said he anticipates that two of the three anchor tenants will sign leases this fall and a formal announcement should occur by late September.

He expects construction of the projected 500,000-square-foot center to begin this year, with stores open 12 to 18 months later.

“We’re making this second one more of a destination point,” Mullins said. “When you’re able to pull in Mullins Crossing, you’ll be able to get everything you need and not have to go to another center. That’s what we’re balancing out right now.”

The first phase of Mullins Cros­sing opened in 2005 with anchors Target and Kohl’s, and the fully occupied center now includes dozens of retailers and restaurants. A second phase was expected to follow immediately, but Mullins said the recession of 2008 caused them to shelve the project.

Mullins said the development will be connected to the existing portion of Mullins Crossing and will include two or three additional access points to alleviate traffic congestion in the area.

The developer said they waited to develop the second phase in conjunction with the River Watch Parkway extension project.

Mullins said that because the 21-acre lot is on a higher elevation than the adjacent center, grading for the second phase has been costly and time-consuming. “We had a massive amount of dirt to bring down,” he said. “It’s just going to move massively fast when we start (construction).”

Mullins said that he could not disclose names of any tenants, but that leases for some of the restaurant spaces have been signed. Building permit applications for the center have not yet been submitted, according to county planning
staff.

“We didn’t want to put anything that would hurt Target (or) Kohl’s. In phase two, we’re doing the same thing,” Mullins said. “You do not want to hurt the synergy of the shopping center, because if one goes, it affects the whole place.”

Darius Rucker to co-headline show with Lady Antebellum in Evans

EVANS — Grammy Award-winning singer Darius Rucker has been officially added to the 13th annual Drive for Show, Rock Fore! Dough lineup.

The Charleston native and country singer will be co-headlining the concert with fellow Grammy Award winners, Lady Antebellum. 

The concert will be held April 4 at Evans Towne Center Park, 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans. Doors will open at 4 p.m.

Kip Moore and Bethany & the Southside Boys are also on the roster.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 the day of the show. Advanced tickets are available online, but VIP options are sold out.

Tickets will go on sale in Augusta-area Kroger stores and the First Tee of Augusta office, 3165 Damascus Road, on Friday. 

Proceeds benefit The First Tee of Augusta.

“Darius is an amazing artist and a fan favorite here. To have both Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker co-headlining 'Rock Fore! Dough' with support from Kip Moore and opener Bethany & the Southside Boys will truly give concert-goers a special experience," said Joe Stevenson, event producer, in a news release.

Lady Antebellum members Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are from Columbia County, and the Evans Towne Center Park is home to the Lady Antebellum Pavilion.

Young burn patients get holiday shopping treat

Fifty smiling children were greeted by Santa Claus Tuesday, as they climbed out of three stretch limousines in front of the Evans Target for the annual Shop with a Doc event.

Each year, the children being treated at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital are treated to a $150 gift card to shop for anything they want. And for the kids, it's a time for much-needed normalcy, according to the center's pediatric care Dr. Rich Cartie.

"It's kind of a nice time to really see how they have done in the outside world in their normal environment. This is normal. The hospital is not normal. So it's nice to see that," said Cartie, who has treated some of the patients there for years in his decade of service at the center.

For 5-year-old Lawson Lewis, who has been a patient at the center for more than a year, the event was just that, a chance to get back to normal.

According to Lawson's father, BJ, his son's last Christmas was spent recovering.

"He was still in the middle of a lot of his in-depth surgeries - so this is the first year that we've gotten to come down and enjoy it. It's a really nice experience, though," BJ Lewis said. "It's amazing to see a lot of these familiar faces and the doctors that have worked on Lawson with his surgeries and be able to enjoy this festive environment. It's really nice."

Lawson, BJ and Jennifer Lewis were flown to the event from their home in Florence, Ga., by Angel Flight Soars, a volunteer pilot service that works with the burn center to bring the children and their families to participate in the event. Not just the children enjoy the event each year. For Dr. Zaheed Hassan, the smiles on the children's faces is what he says warms his heart.

"You'll see their face when they come in," Hassan said. "They come in a limo and when you see their faces, they are lit up and our hearts are lit up too and we become really, really happy."

Hassan, along with Dr. Fred Mullins, the center's medical director and president, have enjoyed the event for the past 12 years.

"It's so much fun and it means so much to the kids. They've gone through a very bad time and it's just a way to give them something to look forward to, something good," Mullins said. "We have been doing this for a few years now, and basically what it is all the little kids that get burned, they become almost like a family, so we wanted to give back something to them. Christmas time is a happy time, it's family time."

The event is in partnership with the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation, the mission of Shop with a Doc is to ensure that each young burn patient will have a holiday season that includes the things that every child wishes for during this time of year.

After shopping, the children and their families were treated to a Chick-Fil-A dinner.

    Snowfest 2017 proceeds benefit local nonprofit

    The fifth annual Columbia County Snowfest is returning to Evans Towne Center Park.

    Snowfest 2017, set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 14, is offering free admission into the event, though armbands cost $10 for select attractions such as rides. The annual event is produced by Mullins Management & Entertainment, and each year proceeds from Snowfest benefit a local charity. This year, proceeds will benefit Press On, a nonprofit that supports research towards a cure for childhood cancer.

    Snowfest 2017 includes live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, inflatables, a carnival area, climbing wall, trackless train, kid's karaoke and showcases from local schools.

    "Folks from all over the CSRA come to Snowfest for a unique kind of fun," said Joe Mullins, the CEO of Mullins Management & Entertainment. "Our sponsors play a key role in helping to make sure the event is successful and our support of this year's nonprofit beneficiary Press On is meaningful."

    Snowfest 2017 will also feature snow tubing slides and the return of the original snow fields and the popular costumed Snowfest friends and characters. Some 6,000 people are expected to attend this year.
    "We have many ways companies can partner with Snowfest, including signage, mentions in material leading up to the event and on-site space to display products and services. It's a great way to get out into the community and see customers and prospects - all for a good cause," Mullins said.

    Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information or for vendor information, contact Shae at (706) 463-8696 or visit columbiacountysnowfest.com.