S.J. Collins Enterprises purchased the Augusta shopping center two weeks ago and announced a major redesign of the 175,000-square-foot site that will bring new retail, green space and about 150 more parking spaces to 2907 Washington Road, near Interstate 20.
“We’re renovating,” said Jeff DeHart, a partner in S.J. Collins Enterprises. “We’re going to change all the landscaping. We’re going to be tearing down certain portions of the center, with new facades, new elevations. Everything in the parking lot is going to be completely redone.”
Though DeHart declined to release the projected cost of the project, he said the 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods and 18,000-square-foot DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) will go into the former Georgia State Floral Distributors space. Home décor chain HomeGoods will replace a 25,000-square-foot Fred’s store, which will close in November after the company was not offered a lease renewal, according to an assistant manager at the store.
On July 31, Whole Foods announced that it would put a natural and organic foods supermarket into the Augusta center, creating between 120 and 140 jobs.
All three stores announced for the center are expected to open by fall 2014, DeHart said.
DeHart’s Georgia-based retail development firm worked with Whole Foods to identify the Washington Crossing center, which DeHart referred to as a “nexus” for serving a regional market. He added that the organic grocer chain targets educated consumers and liked metro Augusta’s academic base.
DeHart said his company is talking with several other retailers but would not disclose names until leases are signed. The only existing businesses in the center that will remain are Bonefish Grill and Outback Steakhouse, both of which have their own renovations in the works.
“They’ll be a great mix of soft goods, cool restaurants and places to shop,” DeHart said.
Ohio-based DSW sells footwear and accessories at a discounted price at more than 350 stores nationwide. HomeGoods, which has the same owner as T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, offers affordable home décor and accents in more than 415 stores across the country.
Media representatives for both companies either refused to comment or did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
Much of the construction work in the plaza is expected to begin in December, DeHart said. A covered walkway and small portion of a building toward the left corner of the center will be demolished for more parking, he added.
DeHart said that the center will remain open throughout the renovation process and that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of building additional structures in the center.
S.J. Collins Enterprises is based in Fairburn, Ga., and owns nine other retail centers in Georgia, Florida and Virginia, five of which include Whole Foods stores.