With 2014 just getting underway, several construction projects are billed for completion this year that will bring more work opportunities to the area.
From the Cabela’s Outpost store under construction in the Village at Riverwatch to the Starbucks manufacturing facility expected to open officially this year, hundreds of jobs will be added to metro Augusta’s workforce in 2014.
One of the first projects scheduled to finish in 2014 is a 42,000-square-foot Cabela’s Outpost store beside Costco in the Village at Riverwatch development. Executives for the Nebraska-based outdoors retailer announced Monday that the store will open March 20 with 90 employees. The store will carry hunting, fishing and other outdoor products and feature wildlife displays, a gun counter and an indoor archery range and tech room. Work on the site has been going on since July.
A 14-auditorium movie theater is expected to open by fall 2014 within the Village at Riverwatch. Georgia Theatre Co. is building Riverwatch 14 Cinemas with stadium seating, wide-arc screens, and Dolby digital stereo sound and projection equipment. Some auditoriums will have in-theater dining.
The Village at Riverwatch is a 92-acre development near Interstate 20 and River Watch Parkway.
After nearly a year under construction, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Broad Street is on track to open in mid-March, according to developer T.R. Reddy. The six-story hotel is replacing an old Regency Inn on the property at 444 Broad St. and will include 118 rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a gym and meeting space. The $8 million project will add between 30 and 40 jobs to the local economy, and hiring is to start March 1.
Another project to conclude in early spring is the 148,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter being built at Wrightsboro and North Leg roads. Work on the store broke ground in May. Hiring started in late December, but a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company is hoping to staff the store with about 200 more employees.
A second Supercenter in North Augusta is also in the works. The 158,000-square-foot store is part of the Sweetwater Square shopping center on Edgefield Road near I-20. Surrounding tenants include Camino Real Mexican Restaurant, Firehouse Subs, State Farm Insurance and Great Clips. Developers of the project have said they anticipate the store to open by Thanksgiving, with about 300 associates.
• There are several manufacturing facilities scheduled for completion this year. Although packaging operations started last fall at Starbucks’ $172 million plant in Augusta Corporate Park, full production of the VIA Ready Brew instant coffee is expected to occur in 2014. A specific date has not been announced. The plant has 70 employees and expects to hire 70 more.
• Bridgestone continues to hire workers for its new 1.5-million-square-foot Graniteville factory that will produce 49-inch and 63-inch tires. Full production of the first phase, the 49-inch tire production line, is expected to be ready by May.
• Also in Graniteville, work progresses on 110,000-square-foot recycling plant housed by Atlanta-based Recleim. Small-scale operations started in the fall, but plant Manager Doug Huffer hopes to hire 175 more employees when the plant opens late this year.
• A couple of local shopping center redesigns also are bringing new retail and fast-food restaurant openings this year. The Washington Crossing shopping center, on Washington Road near I-20, will add a Whole Foods Market, DSW shoe store and HomeGoods center this fall. Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme are pegged to open this summer in south Augusta’s Windsor Square shopping center, 3120 Peach Orchard Road.
• Inside Augusta Mall, a two-story H&M fashion retail store is expected to open this spring. The 23,000-square-foot store will carry apparel for women, men and young adults, with separate sections for accessories and lingerie.