If the long-vacant building at 972 Broad St. has stuck out like a sore thumb all these years, that’s because the shopkeeper who built it more than a century ago wanted the tallest store in downtown Augusta.
Lately, the boarded-up property’s highly recognizable four-story facade has been adorned with the “Get Up Augusta” mural. But by early 2019, the building will be home to three Augusta companies: Loop Recruiting, Milestone Construction LLC and 3D Development.
The three firms partnered to purchase the 8,000-square-foot building earlier this month from downtown bar owner Michael Anglin. Public records on the sale were not immediately available, but the property had been listed on a commercial real estate site for $275,000.
Charlie Wall, Loop’s co-founder and director of business development, said the cost of the entire renovation project – including real estate acquisition – should top $1 million. Expenses would be higher had the previous owner not performed substantial demolition work.
“It’s good for us because it gives us a blank slate,” Wall said. “But it’s going to be a big project, no doubt about it.”
Loop currently operates out of an office park in west Augusta. Wall, who founded the firm with brother-in-law Jason Kennedy, said the company wanted a downtown presence to be closer to key clients, such as Unisys and TaxSlayer.
“I think this is the best block on Broad for business,” Wall said. “It is right in the center. You just come down here and its buzzing.”
Loop plans to share space on the 3,500 square-foot second floor with Milestone Construction and 3D Development, two affiliated companies whose partners, Miles and Charles Dunstan, are personal friends of Wall’s. Milestone Construction is a general commercial contractor; 3D Development specializes in single-tenant, net-leased retail projects.
The three companies would employ roughly 30 employees, who would utilize the parking deck at Reynolds and Ninth streets.
Wall said the ground floor would be leased to a yet-to-be-determined office tenant. He wouldn’t rule out operating the ground floor as “shared” or “co-working” space for start-up companies and other fledgling ventures.
“Our goal is to create something a little bit different,” he said. “We’re embracing the shared concept as much as possible.”
Use of the third and fourth floor “tower” area – the large-windowed, 400-square-foot sections that give the building its distinctive look – has not yet been determined.
Wall said he expects the project’s architect, Augusta’s Dickinson Architects, to have drawings completed by December. Construction could begin early next year and be wrapped up by January 2019, with Milestone Construction overseeing the project.
The property was developed after the turn of the century by E.M. Andrews Furniture Co., whose owner reportedly wanted the tallest store on Broad Street. The building was later acquired by the Cohen family, which operated its Bee Hive children’s clothing store in the building until 1979.
Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3352 or email@example.com.