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Outlet mall would employ 1,500 in Augusta

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 2:13 PM
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 8:46 AM
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An Atlanta-based retail developer planning to put a fashion outlet mall in Augusta said it would create 1,500 jobs when completed in 2016.

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Ben Carter, the chairman of Ben Carter Enterprises, speaks during Wednesday's outlet mall announcement, as Henry Ingram (from left), the chairman of the Augusta Economic Development Authority; Corey Johnson, the mayor pro-tem; and Mayor Deke Copenhaver listen.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Ben Carter, the chairman of Ben Carter Enterprises, speaks during Wednesday's outlet mall announcement, as Henry Ingram (from left), the chairman of the Augusta Economic Development Authority; Corey Johnson, the mayor pro-tem; and Mayor Deke Copenhaver listen.

Officials for Ben Carter Enterprises visited the Village at Riverwatch along Interstate 20 on Wednesday to officially announce an intent to build a 30-space outlet mall, named Premier Outlets of Georgia @ Augusta, in time for the 2016 Masters Tournament. The total project investment is about $150 million.

Company founder Ben Carter said that no tenants have been confirmed for the development but that he has received initial interest from key retailers. He did not disclose the names of any possible stores.

Carter, who arrived in Augusta in his personal helicopter, said common outlet retailers such as Gap, Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Nike signed on board for his outlet mall to open this spring in Savannah, Ga.

The Augusta project would be of a similar size to the Savannah development, which is about 80 percent leased, he said.

For the Augusta center, Carter said, he’d like to have tenant committals for 50 percent of the 400,000-square-foot space by midsummer and break ground by November.

“Typically in our business, we’ve got to get a number of those to want to come and then you build the momentum,” he said.

A site plan of the project shows that the core of the outdoor mall would be clustered behind the Delta Air Lines and Comcast buildings. There also are parcels along the Cabela Drive entrance designated for restaurants, a gym, a hotel, a bank and other retail uses.

Carter said his interest piqued in the site about a decade ago when he considered putting a town center-style mall there but was deterred by the area’s market size. The location off Interstate 20 provides ample visibility and access to motorists, he said.

“Then when I learned Costco had come, that was really exciting,” he said. “For an outlet mall, that’s a great neighbor. When Cabela’s came, it was the icing on the cake.”

Ben Carter Enterprises was formed in 1993 and has developed several shopping centers and malls, including the Mall of Georgia in Gwinnett County and St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Fla. Carter said his firm entered the outlet mall arena about a year ago.

Carter and Augusta officials are still in the process of working out a “reasonable” incentive package, but no other details were provided.

The proposed commercial development is expected to garner about $200 million in overall sales tax revenue.

“It’s huge,” Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said. “When you’re talking about the sales tax impact, a lot of those dollars generated will be from visitors from outside the area into our local economy. It really will be a regional draw, so they’ll be bringing in people from Columbia, S.C., from as far away as Lake Oconee (Ga.).”

Fifty acres of the development went through the first phase of a rezoning process Monday, a necessary step to bring the outlet mall to the site. The land is zoned light industry and multiple-family residential, and developers are seeking a general business zoning.

The Village at Riverwatch is a 92-acre development owned by Dallas firm MG Herring Group. The first tenant was Costco in 2011.

The center’s concept has changed over the past six years from a lifestyle shopping center with high-end retailers to a Belk-anchored strip with a hotel.

In 2008, Bass Pro Shops picked a site in the development, but Augusta was removed from its plan after delays and bad economic conditions. Bass Pro also announced plans last year to build a store in Columbia County, but pulled out of that project, too.

This is the first area outlet mall to materialize but not the first to make waves in the community. Since 2011, local real estate firm Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial had tested the waters for an outlet mall in Gateway shopping center, off the Grovetown exit of Interstate 20, but solid plans never formulated.

Last summer, the company’s senior vice president, Matt Mills, said that outlet retailers were reluctant to locate in metro Augusta because of the city’s small market size and because they didn’t want to compete with their primary retail stores already established.

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GnipGnop
12765
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GnipGnop 02/06/14 - 12:18 pm
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I am curious

if no stores have signed how do they even know how many people will be employed?

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 02/06/14 - 12:28 pm
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burninater, when you factor

burninater, when you factor in managers, assistant managers, security, janitorial, clerical and office personal in the mall offices, grounds keepers, as well and enough part-time workers to fill day and evening shifts, it's possible.

djkillaran
89
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djkillaran 02/06/14 - 12:43 pm
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New Outlet

Actually, Im glad to see a new shopping area other than Augusta Mall. At least there will be new jobs.

burninater
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burninater 02/06/14 - 01:45 pm
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Think it through, ICL.

Let's say these stores have twelve-hour days, 7 days/week. 84 operating hours.

Five people per shift, on average, seems appropriate for a stripmall-size outlet store. 84*5 = 420 hours/week.

That's 10.5 full-time jobs per store, or 315 for the entire outlet mall.

Let's say these are only part-time jobs, 20 hours/week. That brings us to 630 jobs. Part-time jobs.

Yes, there need to be additional employees for the larger outlet operations. How many office and maintenance staff do you think are needed? Do you think 10 additional people FULL TIME PER STORE sounds a bit excessive? I do too, but let's go with that number anyways.

That brings us to 615 full-time jobs, or 930 jobs if two-thirds of them only work half time.

And if other recent business models are any indication, we the taxpayers will be subsidizing the two-thirds of the part-time private workforce that aren't getting paid enough to even support a family.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 02/06/14 - 02:33 pm
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If they keep this rate of expansion up...

Columbia Co. will have a labor shortage and have to import
English speaking and HS degreed sales staff from SC.

NO DIXIE CHICK PLEASE
3
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NO DIXIE CHICK PLEASE 02/06/14 - 02:55 pm
1
2
HUH?

Augusta mall

The two story H&M is under construction at the mall and Michael Kors opened last year... Many retailers in the state of Georgia are only located in the Augusta mall and metro Atlanta(Apple, PF Changs, Sephora, Pandora, Michael Kors, Jared Galleria, H&M).. A few of those retailers don't even have a store in the Greenville or Columbia market yet.

The Jimmie Dyess/Belair rd/Gordon Hwy(between Jimmie Dyess/Grovetown)area is full of new subdivisions(many homes between $200,000-$310,000) within close proximity of the Augusta mall..

Err not sure where you get information but of those stores you just listed 90% have been in Greenville for quite awhile now.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 02/06/14 - 03:00 pm
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burn, your calculations seem

burn, your calculations seem reasonable and for most retail stores this is probably close to accurrate but any restaurant or specialty store most likely will employ more than 5 part time workers per shift. Also keep in mind you have 2 shifts per day (12 hr days) and the need for extra personal to cover for sicknesses or call-ins. I will agree 1500 seems on the high side. Most of the retail jobs will go to young college or high school workers any way who aren't supporting a family or if they are supporting a family, we've been subsidizing them already. At least they are now at least contributing to the tax base to some degree.

corgimom
38825
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corgimom 02/06/14 - 03:28 pm
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"At least they are now at

"At least they are now at least contributing to the tax base to some degree."

They will pay into Social Security, but for most of them, they will receive all of their withholding tax refunded to them.

And many will qualify for the EIC, so they will actually receive more tax money on top of that.

SGT49
2406
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SGT49 02/06/14 - 05:14 pm
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1
I'm not sure I'd count my

I'm not sure I'd count my chickens until the heavy equipment shows up. How many times has someone shown up, put up a fancy sign, blah blah blah'd in front of the cameras, only to have the weeds grow up over the sign? They won't do anything until stores sign up and put down some earnest money.

GnipGnop
12765
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GnipGnop 02/06/14 - 05:54 pm
1
1
pay attention to the weasel words....

Outlet mall WOULD employ 1,500 in Augusta, For the Augusta center, Carter said, he’d LIKE TO HAVE tenant committals for 50 percent of the 400,000-square-foot space by midsummer and break ground by November, “Typically in our business, we’ve got to get a number of those to want to come and THEN you build the momentum,”

Gage Creed
19483
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Gage Creed 02/06/14 - 07:24 pm
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Expect to hear many future

"Expect to hear many future announcements in 2014" Really?

"Please stand by for your morning announcements"

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 02/06/14 - 08:26 pm
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(corgimom) "They will pay

(corgimom) "They will pay into Social Security, but for most of them, they will receive all of their withholding tax refunded to them.

And many will qualify for the EIC, so they will actually receive more tax money on top of that."

Corgimom, I'll tell you like burninator told me, think it though.

Most of these workers have to spend money to eat lunch or dinner, they most likely will purchase items from either their own store or other retailers, they purchase gasoline to travel back and forth to work. All of this is taxed (money they won't get back) and I stand behind my comment....at least they will be contributing to the tax base to some degree.

Am I right or am I right?

burninater
9949
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burninater 02/06/14 - 08:51 pm
0
1
"Most of these workers have

"Most of these workers have to spend money to eat lunch or dinner, they most likely will purchase items from either their own store or other retailers, they purchase gasoline to travel back and forth to work. All of this is taxed (money they won't get back) and I stand behind my comment....at least they will be contributing to the tax base to some degree."
--------
Now imagine how much more of this type of local economic stimulus would occur if we stood behind living wages, rather than allowing companies to remove so much wealth from the local economy that taxpayers are subsidizing their local workforce.

THIS is a major reason our healthy communities are going down the drain -- we sell our local labor at artificially discounted rates, to enable non-local vendors to remove our consumer dollars from the local economy. That is, in a word, MINDLESS.

Gage Creed
19483
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Gage Creed 02/06/14 - 08:59 pm
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Three letters... EIC

Three letters... EIC

nocnoc
49791
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nocnoc 02/07/14 - 10:16 am
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Start a James Bown store

Sounds prefect for a Augusta Store...

Problem is just like the Dr. Kings Kids, getting everyone involved to agree whose hand(s) are in the cookie jar.

nocnoc
49791
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nocnoc 02/07/14 - 10:18 am
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here's is another one.

The EBT, Obamacare, Free Cell Phone store.

The EOC Store.

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