Bass Pro Shops on way to Augusta

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A stalled shopping center project in west Augusta has reeled in one of the most nationally revered sporting store chains, developers announced Wednesday.

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Martin MacDonald, the corporate public relations director for Bass Pro Shops, speaks to the Development Authority of Richmond County at a presentation about the new Augusta store.  Tim Rausch/Staff
Tim Rausch/Staff
Martin MacDonald, the corporate public relations director for Bass Pro Shops, speaks to the Development Authority of Richmond County at a presentation about the new Augusta store.

Bass Pro Shops is the latest name to join the Village at Riverwatch, an 860,000-square-foot development on River Watch Parkway near Interstate 20.

Projected to be built by fall 2009, it will likely be the first of the development's anchor stores to open.

"We combine retail, entertainment, outdoor education and conservation together in one place," said Martin MacDonald, the director of corporate public relations for Bass Pro Shops. "We don't build a lot of these stores. They are regional draws. People drive an average of 50 miles to one of these stores."

Mr. MacDonald said the company's flagship store in Springfield, Mo., is the state's top tourist attraction, drawing an annual 4 million visitors.

The 100,000-square-foot Augusta store will employ 250 people, Mr. MacDonald told the Development Authority of Richmond County.

The development authority on Wednesday approved a bond inducement resolution, the first step in $25 million in tax-exempt financing for Bass Pro Shops.

The store can qualify for such funding because it also acts as a sports facility, said Walter Sprouse, the development authority's executive director.

The project could have also qualified for bonds as a tourism attraction, he said. The bonds will require the Augusta Commission to designate the shop as a sports facility.

The bond won't finance the rest of the Village at Riverwatch project, which was announced in the summer of 2005.

The developer, Texas-based MGHerring Group, previously announced that Belk, Costco and Starplex Cinema would anchor the 132-acre, $150 million shopping center.

Other unnamed companies are in discussions with the group, under the assistance of Charlotte, N.C.-based Collett & Associates.

"There are a significant number of tenants we're talking to that want to be in a Bass Pro Shop shopping center," said Frank Mullins, Collett's Augusta point man. "This brings men into the center which don't normally come in. They stay most of the day. They travel a distance. That creates the need for hotels in close proximity. It creates the need for food and other retail for family members that might not want to go to the Bass Pro."

Mr. Mullins said other stores would be built simultaneously with the Bass Pro store. He declined to name the prospective tenants.

A major catalog and Internet retailer, Bass Pro Shops has 49 locations in the United States and Canada. The company said it receives 90 million visitors to its stores each year.

Joseph Marinelli, the president of the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city has seen growth in hotels and restaurants near its Bass Pro Shops location, which opened in 2004.

"It is kind of the old McDonald's model," he said. Where McDonald's built, "everyone built around them. Something similar happens with Bass."

Mr. Sprouse said the development authority worked with Bass Pro Shops four years ago to try to place a distribution center in Augusta. That center opened in 2006 in Macon, Ga., because Augusta didn't have a place for a retail store to accompany it.

"Bass Pro was still interested, and the mayor took this up as a major cause," Mr. Sprouse said.

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

BASS PRO SHOPS INC.


HEADQUARTERS: Springfield, Mo.


OWNERSHIP: Privately held


EMPLOYEES: 13,000


LOCATIONS: 49 in the U.S. and Canada


SALES: $2.6 billion in 2006


COMPETITORS: Academy Sports & Outdoors, L.L. Bean, MarineMax

Source: www.hoovers.com

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Tell it like it is
35
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Tell it like it is 04/17/08 - 07:30 am
0
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Thank goodnss something is

Thank goodnss something is finally being built in that compound. There ws so much money developing it with utilities, then it stopped. I hope more stores will use this area, we need more outlets in West Augusta and Augusta certainly needs the sales taxes.

Bass Pro Shop is a fine sporting store I get their catalogs and they have about anything you could want in the sporting and fishing line.

Tell it like it is
35
Points
Tell it like it is 04/17/08 - 07:30 am
0
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Thank goodnss something is

Thank goodnss something is finally being built in that compound. There ws so much money developing it with utilities, then it stopped. I hope more stores will use this area, we need more outlets in West Augusta and Augusta certainly needs the sales taxes.

Bass Pro Shop is a fine sporting store I get their catalogs and they have about anything you could want in the sporting and fishing line.

godogs
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godogs 04/17/08 - 07:40 am
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Now if we could just get some

Now if we could just get some water in the lake we might could go BASS FISHING! Hope they have stuff for activities outside the water or heck maybe they will have some pull with the Corp. in releasing some water back into Clark's Hill if we are lucky. Otherwise what is the point of the store when there is no water to put a boat in.

Little Lamb
47968
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Little Lamb 04/17/08 - 09:53 am
0
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Sorry you can't go bass

Sorry you can't go bass fishing, Momma. But when they build the Bass Pro Shop, you can go out back and drop a line in the canal and catch an eel!

bigfoot
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bigfoot 04/17/08 - 02:40 pm
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The lake is up six feet to

The lake is up six feet to 322. I wish they had cut off some of the trees sticking up in the channel when it was down to 316 feet. The water is up high enough that these trees are just under the water and some are in the river channel, which is supposed to be clear of any impediments. The bigger problem for the lake is the loss of the herring. Pump back at lake Russell is responsible for some loss, but where have millions of herring gone? There are still hundreds of bass fishermen burning gas on the lake every week.

marie21
5
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marie21 04/17/08 - 03:37 pm
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Does anybody know what other

Does anybody know what other stores might locate on this property with Bass Pro Shop?

MartinezWest Augusta
2
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MartinezWest Augusta 04/17/08 - 09:19 pm
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Its pretty much looks like

Its pretty much looks like richmond county will remain the central city. CC and AC just keep losing out. The construction at augusta mall and now at the village at riverwatch. Not to mention the 300,000 sq. ft lifestyle center off I-20 walton way ext in richmond county. They shopping in the suburbs can't offer any competition. Richmond county will still get CC and AC money. While rebuilding its population with such projects. As the watermark condos, whites building, the new hotel and loft development by the common, sibley mill, etc.

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 04/18/08 - 01:15 am
0
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Looks like another strip mall

Looks like another strip mall similar to Augusta Exchange.. Just what Augusta needs, certainly not the upscale "village" atmosphere that was promised before.

MartinezWest Augusta
2
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MartinezWest Augusta 04/18/08 - 01:11 pm
0
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Hillguy you'll be up there

Hillguy you'll be up there shopping at bass pro or costco. Or the other store's they bring. Augusta needs another big theatre. So the starplex cinema that will come is good.

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 04/18/08 - 01:13 pm
0
0
I think that will be a

I think that will be a popular store around here. I am just wondering what ever happened to the idea that Riverwatch Parkway was built to be a faster alternative to Washington Road? If they keep building off of it then it will get just as bad.

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 04/18/08 - 03:45 pm
0
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I have no problem with these

I have no problem with these stores coming to Augusta... but Geez.. look at all of the vacant strip malls in the Augusta area! Certainly there are other locations for yet another glorified strip mall. Hey about about this idea.. use one of the currently vacant strip malls. This land should be reserved for something special and unique. I was ok with the upscale village green concept.. but it looks like now.. it will end up being just another strip mall. Seems like a waste of valuable realestate.

georgiasouthern
5
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georgiasouthern 04/19/08 - 12:38 am
0
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This is not the same Bass Pro

This is not the same Bass Pro Shop.

full moon
0
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full moon 04/19/08 - 02:53 am
0
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Don't worry about the lake

Don't worry about the lake now we don't have to drive 5 hours to get our favorite lure and poles and boats. We should be proud that they chose Augusta to build the store and not worry about water in the lake its like hair sooner or later the rain will come and fill it back up. Then the corp will let it out again. Keep your head up we are be noticed and will get our chance to shine. This will also bring more money to our great town and not so to the growth of others and will give the people of Augusta a chance to get a job. Jobs are also the good thing that this brings....

Riverman1
90604
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Riverman1 04/19/08 - 05:31 am
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Hey, don't forget we have

Hey, don't forget we have many miles of the river to fish also. I've caught many big bass in it.

Ole School
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Ole School 04/19/08 - 08:30 pm
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My wife is already crying !

My wife is already crying ! when we go to FL i spend a day at the one in Dania Beach , I love that place ,

hopeful
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hopeful 04/23/08 - 02:26 pm
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Yes, there is the canal and

Yes, there is the canal and river, but they do not have any campsites. Alot of people are depending upon camping and staying close to home with the way gas prices are. I also agree with the above statement. WHen the water was down, they could have trimmed those trees in the middle so it wouldn't be as dangerous. Its not like they are taking them out or as they say "REMOVING" them.

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