Augusta Economy

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Local business roundup 2006

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DECEMBER

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James M. Hull (left) greets a guest at the November dedication of the James M. Hull College of Business inside Allgood Hall at Augusta State University. Mr. Hull and his wife, Karen, donated $2 million to the school's College of Business Administration.  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
James M. Hull (left) greets a guest at the November dedication of the James M. Hull College of Business inside Allgood Hall at Augusta State University. Mr. Hull and his wife, Karen, donated $2 million to the school's College of Business Administration.

- Taylor Auto Group announces purchase of former Hank Aaron Land Rover Jaguar dealership.

- Electronics retailer HH Gregg confirms it will open a store at the former Augusta Exchange Winn-Dixie in March.

- Red Robin Gourmet Burgers breaks ground on restaurant at Mullins Crossing shopping center in Evans.

- Stardust Skate Center demolished as part of Interstate 520 interchange project.

NOVEMBER

- Local investor group acquires the Funsville Fun Park & Arcade complex and plans 50,000-square-foot addition to create a "family enrtainment center" with an indoor athletic complex and a laser-tag arena.

- Canadian forest products company West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. acquires Augusta's International Paper lumber mill as part of a 13-facility, $325 million deal.

- Dixie-Narco Inc. furloughs 379 employees, about one-third of its work force, as part of new owner Crane Co.'s plan to return the operation to profitability.

- Augusta-Aiken's seven Clear Channel Communications radio stations avoid getting put on the market during the broadcaster's $18.7 billion deal to become a privately held company.

- Newman Technology South Carolina Inc. announces a $4 million expansion that will create an additional 40 jobs at the vehicle parts plant.

- Commercial real estate brokerage Sherman and Hemstreet LLC is acquired by Coldwell Banker Commercial Edge Realty, headed by Joe Edge III.

- PCS Nitrogen opens $22 million plant expansion that will produce urea pastilles for the pharmaceutical industry.

- Quincy, Mass.-based Atlantic Broadband acquires Aiken's G Force Cable system for $62 million.

- Augusta-based medical billing company Medac Inc. announces it will build a 20,000-square-foot data processing facility in Lincoln County that will employ up to 300 within three years.

- Augusta Tissue Mill announces it will double the facility's production and employ 150 by the end of 2007.

OCTOBER

- Reeves Construction Co., of Americus, Ga., acquires APAC Southeast Inc.'s Augusta division.

- Connecticut-based Crane Co. aquires Williston, S.C.-based Dixie-Narco Inc. from Whirlpool for $46 million.

- Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, formerly known as the Savannah River Regional Diversification Initative, names former Washington Savannah River Co. executive James L. Hendrix as executive director.

- Nashville-based ClientLogic says it will acquire Sitel Corp., which operates a 1,000-employee call center in Augusta, in early 2007.

- Discount retailer Steve & Barry's University Sportswear opens location in former North Augusta Wal-Mart.

SEPTEMBER

- Health officials from the state of New York announce they will adopt the REACH telemedicine technology developed by the Medical College of Georgia and a spinoff company called REACH MD Consult.

- The Partridge Inn completes a multimillion-dollar renovation project.

- Commercial and Military Systems Inc., under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for two years, is ordered into liquidation. Closure of Mike Padgett Highway facility puts 45 out of work.

- Georgia Bank & Trust Co. opens its first operation in South Carolina, an affiliate bank in Aiken called Southern Bank & Trust.

- Columbia County officials begin building a 50,000-square-foot speculative building to attract new industry.

- Augusta businessman James M. Hull and his wife, Karen. donate a record $2 million to Augusta State University's College of Business Administration, which is later renamed the James M. Hull College of Business.

AUGUST

- North Augusta Chamber of Commerce names Bill Bassham as president.

- Regal Cinemas Inc. shuts down Regal Village 12, a second-run theater in the Augusta West shopping center.

- Aiken's Hitchcock Healthcare agrees to be acquired by Wilmington, N.C.-based Liberty HomeCare & Hospice.

JULY

- Avondale Mills annouces sale of Woodhead Plant to Aiken businessman Weldon Wyatt, saving 100 jobs.

- Food Lion says it will move into the former Winn-Dixie store in Northridge Plaza in North Augusta.

- Jockey International Inc. says it will close its underwear cut-and-sew plant in Millen, Ga., resulting in about 200 lost jobs. The company, which had operated in Jenkins County since the 1950s, said it was moving production to the Caribbean and Central America.

- Olin Corp. announces an $11.8 million expansion plan at its Augusta chemical plant that would double its production of bleach.

- Gastonia, N.C.-based Parkdale Mills purchases Avondale Mills' Townsend plant in Graniteville, saving 250 jobs that were set to be lost by Avondale's announced plans to exit the textile business.

JUNE

- Charleston, S.C.-based Sticky Fingers begins renovating the former Stool Pigeons Coop & Grill location in the Augusta Exchange shopping center as its 17th restaurant in the Southeast.

- Facing an annual performance review that it likely would have failed, officials at Main Street Augusta vote to drop the nationally affilated "Main Street" name from the organization.

- Macy's Furniture Gallery, which occupied the ground floor of the former Macy's department store at Augusta Mall, announces it will close by July 15 to allow mall developers to demolish the building as part of its lifestyle center addition.

- Security Federal Corp. announces it will acquire Collier Jennings Financial Corp. in a cash and stock deal worth $1.6 million.

- Swedish appliance giant Electrolux AB spins off outdoor products group into separate company called Husqvarna, whose North American offices are on Stevens Creek Road.

MAY

- Main Street Augusta oversight merges into Downtown Development Authority.

- Augusta Sportswear Group acquires Holloway Sportswear of Sidney, Ohio, boosting Augusta Sportswear's annual sales to the $180 million range and its work force to 1,600.

- Fort Gordon privatizes housing construction on the base.

APRIL

- Comcast begins offering local phone service to Augusta area customers.

- Kimberly-Clark's Beech Island mill kicks off multimillion-dollar 900,000-square-foot expansion. The project, when completed in 2008, is expected to create 300 jobs.

- Security Federal Bank discloses acquisition of land in Evans, which it says will be the site of its first Georgia branch office.

- Battery maker Fiamm Technologies Inc. announces it will boost production and hire an additional 30 employees for its Waynesboro facility.

- International Paper Co. accepts $6.1 billion for its 5.1 million acres of forest land throughout the U.S., including 111,300 acres in the Augusta-Aiken area, from two investor groups.

MARCH

- FDA approves Posliac production line at Monsanto Co.'s Augusta facility, allowing it to manufacture the milk-boosting hormone for dairy cows at the facility from start to finish.

- News reports surface that Kia Motor Co. is in late-stage negotiations with Georgia officials to build its $1.2 billion assembly plant in west Georgia, ending speculation that the company - which reportedly scouted property in Aiken County - was interested in the Augusta-Aiken metro area.

- Chinese furniture maker Zhejiank Hero Metal Furniture Co. signs memoradum of understanding with Lincoln County officials to operate a national distribution center off U.S. Highway 378.

- Wheland Foundry LLC, the maker of automotive brake parts, announces it will close, putting 105 out of work at its 135,000-square-foot facility in Warren County.

FEBRUARY

- Pennsylvania-based Select Medical Corp. begins work on 71,900-square-foot, long-term, acute-care hospital on a 4-acre site near 15th Street and Walton Way. The $22 million project will create up to 150 jobs.

- Construction begins on the 30,000-square-foot Jackson Square mixed-use development, the first major new project in downtown North Augusta in nearly a decade.

JANUARY

- Marc D. Miller takes over as dean of Augusta State University's business school.

- Panera Bread says it will open two bakery-cafe locations in Augusta.

- Savannah-based Melaver Inc. acquires the 260,000-square-foot Enterprise Mill from the Boardman family for $13 million.

- Boston-based The Mayo Group says it will invest up to $4 million to renovate the former Savannah West apartment complex it acquired for $7.3 million in December 2005. The 456-unit complex is now called The Greens on Washington.


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