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Owners of old Regency Mall place property for lease

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The owners of the defunct Regency Mall are once again trying to resurrect business activity in the vacant site.

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The site of the old Regency Mall is seen from Deans Bridge Road on Friday.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
The site of the old Regency Mall is seen from Deans Bridge Road on Friday.

Property manager Mark Axler confirmed that New York-based owners Cardinal Entities have placed for-lease signs on the 72-acre land in an effort to attract interest from potential tenants.

“It could be anything,” he said. “We’re open to see what somebody wants to do, and then we’ll look at it and see if it makes sense for Augusta and for us.”

The property has sat vacant since Montgomery Ward, its last anchor tenant, left in 2001. The following year, Cardinal Entities bought 700,000 square feet of the mall property, including the old JB White building, for about $1.2 million. Axler said then that Cardinal’s “forte” over the past four decades was redeveloping empty malls.

In 2007, the company purchased the remaining 138,000-square-foot Montgomery Ward parcel for $2.3 million.

According to the Tax Assessor’s office, the components that make up the old mall are valued at $4.2 million.

Over the years, there have been a number of ideas on what to do with the property. In the past decade, the city has considered using special-purpose sales tax collections to buy and raze the property or use the empty space as government offices.

Earlier this year, a city-commissioned study suggested demolishing the building and replacing it with a retirement community surrounded by businesses that would support senior housing as well as a neighborhood and a school.

The most recent signs, erected about two weeks ago, have generated “a few” phone calls from parties expressing interest in the property, said Axler, adding that it’s too early to disclose further information. He did say that a commercial use for the land would be a good option.

“I don’t think much more can happen at the Augusta Mall, because there’s no space to build anything else out there,” he said. “It would make sense if some majors (large retail stores) want to come in there. We’ve had some brokers calling that think that they can do stuff like that.”

Since it’s been vacant, the old mall has been a hotbed for theft and vandalism.

In the fall of 2012, owners were cited after fire officials found that the property’s fire alarm and sprinkler systems weren’t operable. They’ve since been working to remove all combustible materials from the structure.

Augusta License and Inspection Director Robert Sherman said work on the building is about 90 percent completed. The last part will be for the owners to finish blocking off the mall’s entrances with concrete barricades.

“They have just about done what was asked of them to do and that was just to completely gut the inside of the building and secure it,” he said.

In addition to the fire concerns, Sherman said vandals have stripped the vacant mall of anything of value.

Business owners surrounding the mall property have mixed feelings about what should become of it.

C.K. Jin has owned Jin’s Auto Services on Deans Bridge Road for about 20 years and said he’d like to see something akin to a sports complex, arena or civic center.

“It’s a wasted space,” he said. “That’s a good strategic location, just not utilized.”

Adam Delpriore, owner of a nearby beauty store, gave a park, community center or apartment complex as possibilities but worried that crime in the area would be a major deterrent.

“I don’t know what you can do with it,” said Delpriore, who owns Kings Beauty Supply in the shopping center at the intersection of Gordon highway and Deans Bridge Road. “I don’t think you could do anything too big. There’s regular shootings around here. It’s not going to be safe for anyone to be over there.”

According to Axler, the owners don’t plan to demolish the property and noted that they have invested $2 million this year in gutting the building.

“The structure is like if you built it today,” he said. “If you built a new structure today, it’s not built as well as this is.”

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nocnoc
49121
Points
nocnoc 11/16/13 - 07:42 am
2
0
Turn it into the LARGEST

Flea Market in the USA and rent the spaces.

Now that should attract new business to ARC.

;-)

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 08:08 am
6
1
Actually, Nocnoc

Actually, Nocnoc, that may be on the right track. Look at the businesses that survive in that area and the people interviewed in the article. It has to attract something the people in the area will use. Why not a low end mall, flea market and so on? Don't laugh, but I can see produce stands and fish markets. Hair salons. I kind of envision it as a third world market with people walking, getting things not found at Augusta Mall. Anybody get what I mean? Okay, this should at least give us some creative jokes.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 08:19 am
5
1
"I kind of envision it as a third world market...

....with people walking, getting things not found at Augusta Mall."

"Anybody get what I mean?"

I think I do.

And every so often the wealthy, enlightened, perfumed princes from Columbia County will venture over and leave us third-worlders with a little cash for our produce and trinkets.

And we will say....."Oh, thank you massah" as we bow and curtsey.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 08:22 am
2
1
I've Always Been A Little Curious...

...as to who are the stockholders in Cardinal Entities?

Anybody know?

Third-worlders, or wealthy elitists?

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 08:49 am
4
1
Harley, I'm dead serious.

This was pretty funny, Harley. Heh.

"And every so often the wealthy, enlightened, perfumed princes from Columbia County will venture over and leave us third-worlders with a little cash for our produce and trinkets.

And we will say....."Oh, thank you massah" as we bow and curtsey."

But, Harley, I'm dead serious. Haven't you been to those markets in foreign countries with little businesses thriving and big crowds in sort of rudimentary structures. Remember the "sooks" in the Mideast? Markets in Asia? There is little crime because they all look out for each other. I don't know...just a thought.

seenitB4
97254
Points
seenitB4 11/16/13 - 08:52 am
2
0
Now, that was good harley :)

"And every so often the wealthy, enlightened, perfumed princes from Columbia County will venture over and leave us third-worlders with a little cash for our produce and trinkets."

Especially the perfumed part...hahahahah

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 09:11 am
3
1
"Haven't you been to those markets in foreign countries...

...with little businesses thriving and big crowds in sort of rudimentary structures."

Sure I have. But, that's not my vision for Richmond County and I find it amusing that someone from another county would suggest that as something we "people," or "folk," would embrace.

The crime? I'm not aware it's as bad as some seem to think. Interesting comment by Mr. Delpriore about the "regular shootings" in the area. I live about a mile from Regency Mall. I don't see, or hear about these "regular shootings." I guess we need to define "regular." And I don't buy the notion that we need to throw in the towel and surrender to the thugs and punks as a fate accompli.

Assumedly Mr. Delpriore owns his store property, since he's a "store owner." Curious that he would badmouth his own location. Does he live in this "third world," or is he an absentee owner who resides in a "developed" county, like..say...oh, I don't know...Columbia?

I'm curious how Cardinal Entities could buy the Regency Mall for several million dollars, and sit on it (assumedly paying taxes) for a decade, or two. There has been a LOT of interest in the property by the ARC government over the years. Any conflicts of interest hidden somewhere in there?

my.voice
5167
Points
my.voice 11/16/13 - 09:13 am
5
0
Take your pick.....RAT

Take your pick.....
RAT FARM
THUG TRAINING CAMP
DENIAL CENTER
CONCRETE & STEEL RECYCLING CENTER
AZZIZ'S NEW FORTRESS WITH MOTE

seenitB4
97254
Points
seenitB4 11/16/13 - 09:19 am
2
1
In the 60s & 70s 80s

I lived within 2 miles of this mall...what a great & fantastic place to shop.....my daughters worked there also..

My true feelings are the lack of security killed this great place......like it or not but that will run off female shoppers.....it didn't have to happen imo....I feel great things can happen there again....one day with the right buyer & the right politics that will happen.....I hope so....it won't be a flea market either.

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 09:27 am
4
0
I shopped there before it

I shopped there before it folded. I bought a lawn mower in JC Penny's on my last visit. Let's hope the leasing works and gets something going in it again. Put a Five Guys and Sprint Foods in it.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 09:31 am
2
1
Personally....

...I think Cardinal Entities made a bad investment. I suspect they had a plan to sell the property to ARC, but it hasn't panned out.

What will become of it? Who knows? I doubt it will become a "third world" type open market or bazaar. Somehow I just don't see it, but that's just me.

I think it would probably cost many millions of dollars to bulldoze it and start over. I seem to remember something about mold and mildew infecting the structures. Who will clean that up and how much will it cost?

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 09:36 am
3
0
It Has Been Gutted Apparently

The article kind of hints that it has been cleaned up. It said the inside has been gutted as the county asked them to do. Well, maybe the leasing will work. Sort of second tier retail places could attract smaller businesses maybe. The K-Mart in Martinez closed and a Carolina Pottery moved in. Something like that?

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 09:56 am
0
0
Bass Pro Shop would work. LOL LOL
Unpublished

Bass Pro Shop would work. LOL LOL

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 09:57 am
0
0
A Tanger Outlet Mall would work. LOL LOL
Unpublished

A Tanger Outlet Mall would work. LOL LOL

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 09:58 am
0
0
An extension of Hillcrest Cemetery with Mausoleum? Dead is Dead.
Unpublished

An extension of Hillcrest Cemetery with Mausoleum? Dead is Dead.

itsanotherday1
48274
Points
itsanotherday1 11/16/13 - 10:23 am
1
0
It will never survive as

It will never survive as higher end retail due to the same element that ran off business from the former mall. That element is even more prevalent and violent today than it was then. Otherwise, I would say an indoor outlet mall or the like would be a possibility.

Harley, I remember something about the mold issue too. The place was built on low lying land, a spring, or something like that? Whatever; if there truly is a mold issue, razing it is the best option.

If the building is viable; maybe office complexes, public or private, is a good solution. Since it is more central to the county than downtown, a government complex would sound real good. Maybe if they had to be further south every day they would pay more attention.

justthefacts
24990
Points
justthefacts 11/16/13 - 10:35 am
1
0
Regency

It was a great "parking" area back in the day before Malls.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 11:35 am
1
1
I Doubt Sheriff Roundtree...

....would be willing to throw in the cards and fold his hand on being able to secure the Regency Mall site.

I agree with seenitB4 that's the main reason it closed, or at least that's why they lost their customer base to the Augusta Mall, but I don't know that for a fact. Anyway, it is NOT impossible to secure a mall. It happens all over the nation. It's a mix of private and public security, but once the thugs understand the plan (and I admit that may take some serious convincing), they'll stop going there.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 11:46 am
1
2
What Would Be The Preferred Attire...

...for we third worlders if we set up shop at the Regency Bazaar? Some sort of bright colored robes, with our heads wrapped in scarves, cloth, or things that look like fan belts from an old Ford dump truck? Would we wear bright, dangling earrings, and gems in our noses? Sandals? Could we bring our own donkeys, camels, or oxen to pull our carts of meager goods to bazaar?

Will we have to smell like goats?

Could we set up our cobra baskets and bring our flutes?

C'mon Riverman....we need a man with a real vision here. Don't make us suffer along in ignorance without your most esteemed guidance and Columbia County ties.

Sweet son
11585
Points
Sweet son 11/16/13 - 11:58 am
2
0
Riverman and nocnoc have it right!

Flea market was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the story. Why not?

Also I saw a TV story that showed the inside and it is in fact gutted.

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 02:35 pm
1
0
South Augusta Flea Market...Nice Place

Harley said, "C'mon Riverman....we need a man with a real vision here. Don't make us suffer along in ignorance without your most esteemed guidance and Columbia County ties."

Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone. I thought you had made a good funny and said as much. Maybe that shouting too much is why someone doesn't like you?

But since you want to get into this even though I kept smiling, why don't you take out that teeny compass you have that you claim shows us which way is north and see if you can get it to point at all when South Augusta is being discussed. Some people at the Home may be impressed.

Hopefully, the people who live around Regency will be coming to whatever is done there. Realize the South Augusta flea market was a popular place for blacks and whites alike. There was little crime because it was a fun place to go and all the people expected polite behavior. SweetSon has it right.

While you are trying to figure out BACK azimuths, teach your bud, Countyman, how to do long division with populations and percentages.

fishman960
1504
Points
fishman960 11/16/13 - 03:10 pm
2
0
Money

This property will never be a viable retail establishment until the entire Gordon Hwy Deans Bridge Rd area is cleaned up as well.
This will never happen.
To those that say it is not that bad, I ask you to get in your car, park in the area behind Regency overnight and see what happens.
Or in the old Winn Dixie Parking lot.
Or in the TBonz parking lot.
Talk is cheap. The area is infested with a criminal element that will take millions and millions to remove.
It would be cheaper to develop another area. Oh wait, they are. All over Augusta, just not in that area.

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 11/16/13 - 05:08 pm
1
1
Regency Mall got to the point

Regency Mall got to the point where there were more sales in the parking lot than there were inside the building. And yes, that's a bad area around there, thanks to Barton Village. I can't imagine any elderly person wanting to live there, ever.

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 11/16/13 - 05:57 pm
1
1
And I can't imagine anybody

And I can't imagine anybody wanting to lease that property, either, but hey, there's a sucker born every minute.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 08:11 pm
1
1
Riverman...

Wow! I guess you unloaded on me. All for trying to understand your suggesting a third-world type open market was just what Richmond County needed. I guess now you're moving around to direct, personal insults rather than the snide innuendos. Anyway, have another drink and relax. You've still got half the weekend to go.

We Richmond County folk will struggle along just fine without your comments and guidance, at least for a while.

Gage Creed
19395
Points
Gage Creed 11/16/13 - 08:26 pm
1
0
I still have questions about

I still have questions about those mysterious "FEMA " style mobile command posts parked in the lot across Gordon Highway from the former Regency Mall.

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 09:00 pm
1
0
Didn't See The Vehicles...

...when did you see them? Do you mean near Pep Boys?

Gage Creed
19395
Points
Gage Creed 11/16/13 - 10:27 pm
1
0
Those are the ones I'm

Those are the ones I'm speaking of... multiple "office" style mobile offices

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 10:52 pm
0
1
Compass Cover Catch Something?

Goodness, Harley, did you close your compass cover on something that hurt? Grit your teeth and slowly open it back up and you will be able to get loose. But relax, it's only a little debate. Now what would you do with Regency Mall since you don't like my idea?

harley_52
25826
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 11:06 pm
0
0
"Now what would you do with Regency Mall...

...since you don't like my idea?"

Who said I didn't like your idea? Not me. An Outlet Mall type thing might be a fine idea. I haven't given it a great deal of thought. Your idea isn't bad at all.

What I find annoying is your snarky little "third world" comment. Fits right along with your "you people," and "Detroit-like" comments (and others) taking cheap shots at ARC. Why do you do that? What are you trying to prove?

Now with the "compass" comments. You have obviously decided to use that as a theme for personal attacks on me because I object to your Augusta bashing.

Know what, Riverman. It's Petty. Childish. I guess I should add "condescending" as well.

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