Outlet mall on track to open by 2016 Masters

Ben Carter, the chairman of Ben Carter Enterprises, addressed the media during an announcement for a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall on River Watch Parkway.



A new fashion outlet mall in Augusta should be open in time for the 2016 Masters Tournament.

Developer Ben Carter, of Atlanta-based Ben Carter Enterprises, said there has been tremendous interest in the 400,000-square-foot mall planned for the Village at Riverwatch development, off River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20, after the project’s announcement this year.

Nearly 50 percent of the retail space is under negotiation, said Carter, adding that letters of intent have been executed for 20 percent of the mall.

Carter said he’s not in a position to release names of potential tenants but cited his mall under development in Savannah, Ga., as the type of retailers he’s hoping to attract.

Michael Kors, J. Crew, White House Black Market, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Nike and Abercrombie have signed on board for that project, according to the Savannah Morning News.

During Masters Week, Carter said, he’ll entertain out-of-town retail representatives and take them to the property. He’ll also give a helicopter tour to guests to show that the site has a regional draw of about 1.5 million residents.

“That has been a very important part of our retailers understanding that we’re after a regional trade area in addition to the Augusta immediate trade area,” said Carter, noting the importance of having Cabela’s and Costco as neighbors.

“We’re very fortunate that Costco and Cabela’s are on the site, because Costco and Cabela’s are interested in not only serving the Augusta market, they’re interested in serving that same regional market,” he added. “People will drive an hour or so to come to their stores.”

Carter and Augusta officials announced the project, named Premier Outlets of Georgia @ Augusta, in February. In addition to the mall, the real estate firm is developing parcels along River Watch Parkway and Cabela Drive near the entrance of the shopping center. Those lots are designated for restaurants, a bank, a gym, a hotel and other retail uses.

Carter said he remains on schedule to break ground in December and finish the development in the spring of 2016. The company would like to have tenant committals for 50 percent of the mall space by midsummer.

Ben Carter Enterprises is investing about $150 million in the mall, which could bring 1,500 jobs to the area.

City officials expect the mall will generate about $200 million in sales tax revenue.

Ben Carter Enterprises, formed in 1993, has developed several shopping centers and malls, including the Mall of Georgia in Gwinnett County and St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Fla.

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TUESDAY: Starbucks is closer to making instant coffee in Augusta. The Seattle-based company currently produces its VIA product line in Europe, but will be moving production here when its south Augusta facility is fully operational.

WEDNESDAY: Eyes across the nation are watching the construction of two new nuclear reactors rising out of the red-clay ground about 30 miles south of Augusta.

THURSDAY: Cabela’s opened its first Georgia store in Augusta last month amid much fanfare.

FRIDAY: GRU can point to a number of deals done and multimillion-dollar gifts received, of buildings completed and others on the way.

TODAY: A new fashion outlet mall in Augusta should be open in time for the 2016 Masters Tournament.

SUNDAY: The Army announced in December that it will relocate its Cyber Command to Fort Gordon. The five-year project, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, will include construction of a new Cyber Command headquarters, creation of a new Cyber Center of Excellence and formation of a new Cyber Mission Unit.