Condemned building on Broad Street to get facelift

A blighted downtown property is expected to soon get a facelift.

New glass and a clean facade will replace boarded windows and graffiti at 1140 Broad St., a 45,000-square-foot building condemned by Augusta building inspectors earlier this year. The vandalized structure had a leaky roof and was in disarray inside, said Augusta inspector Larry Lariscy.

The last business to operate from the building was the Broad Street Bazaar, a flea market-type store that closed in 1996 after just a year in business. A tenant, however, has recently used the space to store products from his auction company, Lariscy said.

“He had a bunch of junk in it,” Lariscy said.

The building had been under investigation since last year before it was condemned in early 2013. The tenant, Stan Fink, had to first be evicted before property owners could regain legal possession of the building to repair any deteriorated portions on the structure.

That process can be time-consuming, Lariscy said. Currently, the structure is being cleared inside.

Owner Stewart Garrett said he estimates the exterior work will take place within 30 days. Garrett is a partner in the Garrett & Garrett construction firm based out of Fountain Inn, S.C.

The building’s large open space makes it conducive to retail development, Garrett said.

“It ought to be about the easiest-developed building downtown,” he said.

Before plans for future development progress, Garrett said he’ll need to get interest from potential leasors.

“We’ll be open to any kind of offers to it,” he said.

Lariscy confirmed that the building is structurally sound but said an asbestos test will be required before any demolition work can commence inside. The owners must also apply for a permit for facade renovations, he said.

New locks will be installed on the doors to ensure the building remains secure, Lariscy said.

“We’ll have more of an aesthetically-pleasing building,” he said. “It’s going to look much better.”

Augusta Chronicle archives show the location was run as a bar and restaurant in 1885 by an Athens, Ga., resident. During the 20th century, the building went through several uses, including a butcher shop, grocer and medicine store.

In June 1969, the building, which was occupied at the time by Bower’s Thrift Store, was leveled by a fire. The structure was rebuilt and housed Sky City discount department store for 37 years until it closed in 1989.

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