Wednesday, January 10, 2001
Bay Branch development honors old hometown
Bay Branch, in Screven County in eastern Georgia, was a thriving little rural community in the 1960s.
Screven County borders the Savannah River midway between Augusta and Savannah. Bay Branch, about eight miles from the county seat of Sylvania, was totally agricultural when Fayetteville developer Alex Thompson was growing up there.
"We had our own school and gymnasium, and three general stores," said Thompson. "My daddy graduated from Bay Branch Elementary and Bay Branch High, but all the other schools in the county were consolidated into Screven County High School before I started school."
Thompson lived in Bay Branch surrounded by a host of relatives, including grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins nearly his entire family on his father's side.
"It might have been called Thompsonville," he laughed. "I couldn't wait to get away when I finished high school in 1966, and now I'm looking forward to the day when I can retire back there. I never realized how simple life was in those days."
To honor his home and keep its name alive, Thompson named his new Fayetteville development Bay Branch Condominiums. Continuing the theme, he also named the various floor plans after other small communities in Screven County.
The three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath townhouse plan is the Millhaven, after Millhaven Plantation. The two-bedroom, two-bath lower flat is the Woodcliff, a community only three miles from Bay Branch. The three-bedroom, two-bath upper level flat is the Hiltonia, while the two-bedroom, two-bath upper level flat is the Dover.
"I looked at some of the names builders use for floor plans, and they all seemed to be named after places from the northeastern United States or from England," he said. "I decided the names from Screven County were just as charming, and they gave me some extra pride in ensuring that our condos are of excellent quality and of maximum beauty, utility and practicality."
Diane Reeves, who is in charge of sales and has contact with all potential buyers at Bay Branch, says that at various times during the past few months, three different people have recognized the names and asked if the development was connected to Screven County.
"Until the first one asked the question, I didn't know of the connection myself," she said. "Then Alex told me the story."
Thompson has lived in Fayette County since 1978, and he founded Thompson & Company in Fayetteville in 1984 to do business in real estate and real estate finance. He began developing and building in 1993.
He is a past chairman of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and has been involved through the years in other local civic activities.
Thompson is married to his former high school classmate Susan Tebeau, a "city girl" from Sylvania, and they have five children Trey Thompson, Ty Thompson, Cameron Thompson, Meg McKinney, and Jay McKinney.