While the economy and real estate market is weak, it should be a good time to pick up key properties for those with strong balance sheets. While I don't always agree with ex-BOC Chair Wendell Dawson, he is spot on in one of his recent posts at Another Voice from Oconee County -- the county should indeed move to acquire as much property adjacent to the existing courthouse as possible if they can negotiate a decent price with the sellers. With most of the properties having sat on the market for 2+ years, there should be some negotiating room.
Bottom line is that with the growth needs forecast for the courthouse, downtown acquisitions make sense. And there could very well be other needs in the future as the library and other public facilities age.
And even if county services don't fill up the spaces, property with sewer located in downtown Watkinsville is about as good a real estate bet as you can make in Oconee right now.