Developers of a fashion outlet mall at the Village at Riverwatch announced Wednesday that the project would break ground in December after writing an agreement to move a theater complex, also planned for the development, to another area of the property.
Georgia Theatre Co. agreed to reposition its 14-screen movie theater to accommodate the 400,000-square-foot mall and another 400,000 square feet in restaurants, hotels and other retail uses that is under development by Atlanta-based Ben Carter Enterprises.
Plans for the outlet mall, which is expected to bring top-tier fashion retailers, 1,500 jobs and a $150 million investment to the area, were unveiled in February.
Ben Carter, the founder of the commercial real estate firm, is under contract to acquire 70 acres of the development off River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20. The 92-acre property, owned by Dallas-based MG Herring Group, already has a Cabela’s and a Costco.
Executives at Ben Carter Enterprises said they are pre-leasing retail spaces and marketing other pieces of land in the development for sale. They expect to start selling the parcels in December.
“We have 25 percent of the retail spaces in Phase 1 of the outlet mall under letter of intent and are working to convert those to leases,” said Quito Anderson, the CEO of Ben Carter Enterprises. “Our business plans call for us to have 60 percent of the space in the outlet mall leased when we break ground.”
The Outlet Mall of Georgia at Augusta is expected to be open in time for the 2016 Masters Tournament.
Ben Carter Enterprises is developing a similar-size outlet mall in Savannah, Ga., set to open next spring. Carter has said he hopes to attract the same type of retailers, such as Gap, Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Nike, that have committed to the Savannah project to the new Augusta mall.
In addition, an updated construction time line was released for the new GTX movie theater. Work on Riverwatch 14 Cinemas will start late this year and is expected to be finished by fall 2015. The theater’s original opening date had been scheduled for this fall.
The theater will incorporate a full-service restaurant and a large-format presentation auditorium, with an 80-foot-wide, four-story screen that seats about 300 people.
“Our new theater complex will benefit from its proximity to a large retail development with terrific access and visibility,” said Bill Stembler, the chairman and CEO of the Georgia Theatre Co.
Georgia Theatre Co. operates two local theaters: Masters Value Cinemas 7 on Washington Road in Augusta, a discount theater; and Evans Stadium Cinemas 14 on North Belair Road. The company has 30 other theaters across Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia.