White's Building confirms tenants

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Vacant since 1978, the former J.B. White building will be occupied in seven weeks.

Occupants will begin moving into The White's Building, at 936 Broad St., in April. The building has been vacant since 1978, when the store moved to the mall.  Special
Special
Occupants will begin moving into The White's Building, at 936 Broad St., in April. The building has been vacant since 1978, when the store moved to the mall.

In early April, a restaurant, coffee shop and professional offices will throw open their doors on the ground floor of the former department store now known as The White's Building. Residents will begin moving into the 17 condominium units on the third floor.

"Some of the residents going in there have already been asking if I deliver," said Jai West, who will run the coffee shop Casablanca CafÃ.

Ms. West is the former owner of The White Elephant, a Broad Street restaurant. The coffee shop represents a chance to escape the rigors of running a restaurant, she said. Don't expect Humphrey Bogart pictures on the walls of the Casablanca CafÃ, just chandeliers and wrought iron, glass-top tables.

Developer Sherwin Loudermilk, the president of Horizon Group Investments in Atlanta, said a fine dining restaurant called White Azalea will occupy the opposite side of the building's front.

It will be run by Augusta natives Peter McBride and John Pennell, both graduates of culinary institutes.

"To me, the White's building was such a center in Augusta," Mr. McBride said.

The White Azalea will seat 65 to 70 people and employ 12 to 16. The menu will be Southern and Southwestern cuisine prepared with French methods.

"I've seen the menu, and it looks pretty good," Mr. Loudermilk said.

The commercial floor of the former J.B. White department store will include the Downtown Development Authority, a sheriff's substation, a Meybohm Realtors sales office and a tax-preparation office.

Developers are also negotiating with a tenant who would open a European-style market with fresh produce and some groceries in the adjacent Doris Building, Mr. Loudermilk said.

The $9 million project has been under construction since October. All condominium units on the second and third floors should be completed by August. The building will have 51 condominiums.

A connected building on Ellis Street also will be redeveloped. When finished, it will hold another 30 condos.

Mr. Loudermilk said Horizon has its eyes on other downtown properties, including a boarded-up, two-story building on the southwest corner of Ellis and Ninth streets. Horizon will soon have a contract to purchase the building, which might become townhomes with garages, Mr. Loudermilk said.

"There's nothing like that downtown," Mr. Loudermilk said. He said the townhomes might be built as "smart homes," with remote controls for all the appliances and features.

The White's Building last had occupants in 1978, before the J.B. White department store moved to the malls. It later became part of Dillard's.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

GET COFFEE, DO TAXES


CONFIRMED TENANTS


- White Azalea


- Casablanca Cafe


- Downtown Development Authority of Augusta office


- Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative


- Tax preparation service


- Sheriff's substation


- Meybohm Realtors




POTENTIAL TENANTS


- European style market and grocery (in adjacent Doris Building)

Comments (18) Add comment
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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 02/12/08 - 07:41 am
0
0
I'm glad to see someone

I'm glad to see someone recognizes the potential of downtown. While I would have been more pleased to have an Augusta developer make the investment, I suppose we need someone not so close to the trees.

Ooollee
3
Points
Ooollee 02/12/08 - 10:14 am
0
0
This is a wonderful project

This is a wonderful project which I find very exciting. More people living on Broad Street that is exactly what we need. But it would be a much better idea to develop the connected building on Ellis Street as a parking deck. While I understand that the developers are in business to make money - downtown parking is already an issue and as more buildings are restored it will become a more serious problem. With 51 condos in the main building, 30 more on Ellis St and what are the parking plans for these tenants?

MartinezWest Augusta
2
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MartinezWest Augusta 02/12/08 - 05:02 pm
0
0
One of the best projects

One of the best projects happening in the downtown area.

weekapaug05
0
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weekapaug05 02/12/08 - 05:07 pm
0
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And that "Big" John Pennell

And that "Big" John Pennell can cook so fine!

spotted_assassin
63
Points
spotted_assassin 02/12/08 - 09:44 pm
0
0
...but 99k for a Studio is

...but 99k for a Studio is crazy!
And that's not even 900sqft.

bigalsc
4
Points
bigalsc 02/12/08 - 11:08 pm
0
0
Wait just a few years, and a

Wait just a few years, and a 99k sales price will be a " I can remember when..." conversation topic. Downtown Chas SC condos currently on market, similar design and location? 548 SF,460k

bigalsc
4
Points
bigalsc 02/12/08 - 11:09 pm
0
0
Ten years outside til

Ten years outside til critical mass

georgiasouthern
5
Points
georgiasouthern 02/12/08 - 11:54 pm
0
0
Watch 99K quickly jump to 300

Watch 99K quickly jump to 300 or 400 k once downtown takes off. This happened in Baltimore MD once the people started moving back into the city.

Little Lamb
46021
Points
Little Lamb 02/13/08 - 09:49 am
0
0
To Ooollee: I drive downtown

To Ooollee: I drive downtown often; day and night, weekday and weekend, business and pleasure. I have never found parking to be a problem. There are plenty of parking places for both able-bodied and disabled people.

What4
0
Points
What4 02/13/08 - 10:42 am
0
0
People are really going to

People are really going to spend this kind of money and park downtown all night on the street??!! No monitored garage..no sale!!

GSneed
0
Points
GSneed 02/13/08 - 10:45 am
0
0
Way to go AUGUSTA-RICHMOND

Way to go AUGUSTA-RICHMOND COUNTY! Please dont find a way to muck this up!

Rob Pavey
552
Points
Rob Pavey 02/13/08 - 03:05 pm
0
0
I've always enjoyed White

I've always enjoyed White Elephant and hope Jai does just as well with her coffee house.

MartinezWest Augusta
2
Points
MartinezWest Augusta 02/13/08 - 04:58 pm
0
0
The whites builing will have

The whites builing will have its own private elevator, and parking access for its residents. There will be a sheriff post inside the building also.

Duderotomy
0
Points
Duderotomy 02/14/08 - 07:12 am
0
0
Increase the tax base, make

Increase the tax base, make use of vacant property, bring the yuppies downtown...I don't see any negatives as long as Richmond County doesn't "overthink" it!

What4
0
Points
What4 02/14/08 - 10:22 am
0
0
Parking access to

Parking access to where??

This looks like the "White's Elephant" from here.

vemerick
0
Points
vemerick 02/14/08 - 11:15 am
0
0
What? If you have concerns

What? If you have concerns about the building's amenities, please go the White's Bldg website: http://www.thewhitesbuilding.com/the-whites-building-features-and-amenit... It states that there is PRIVATE parking, as well as evening security.

sharpshooter
0
Points
sharpshooter 02/15/08 - 12:16 pm
0
0
The re-development and

The re-development and opening of the former J.B. White building is worth a trip from Atlanta. When downtown Augusta was the center of business was a great time in my life. To see the mall era wipe the area out, and then see it retuning is going to be one of my life's surprises. I recall buying our first "Radar Range" from my uncle Jay Morris, who worked in the Whites Building. To see it open again is worth the 2 1/2 hpur trip from Atlanta. Good job Augusta leaders, and private investors.

Mark Mitchell

sneaky pete
0
Points
sneaky pete 02/16/08 - 06:50 pm
0
0
This project has been around

This project has been around for years. A group of investors in Augusta tried to do this, but the parking that is "private" is not so good. They better have a lot of security. But I am glad to see this thing push through.

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