Developer Ben Carter, of Atlanta-based Ben Carter Enterprises, said there has been tremendous interest in the 400,000-square-foot mall planned for the Village at Riverwatch development, off River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20, after the project’s announcement this year.
Nearly 50 percent of the retail space is under negotiation, said Carter, adding that letters of intent have been executed for 20 percent of the mall.
Carter said he’s not in a position to release names of potential tenants but cited his mall under development in Savannah, Ga., as the type of retailers he’s hoping to attract.
Michael Kors, J. Crew, White House Black Market, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Nike and Abercrombie have signed on board for that project, according to the Savannah Morning News.
During Masters Week, Carter said, he’ll entertain out-of-town retail representatives and take them to the property. He’ll also give a helicopter tour to guests to show that the site has a regional draw of about 1.5 million residents.
“That has been a very important part of our retailers understanding that we’re after a regional trade area in addition to the Augusta immediate trade area,” said Carter, noting the importance of having Cabela’s and Costco as neighbors.
“We’re very fortunate that Costco and Cabela’s are on the site, because Costco and Cabela’s are interested in not only serving the Augusta market, they’re interested in serving that same regional market,” he added. “People will drive an hour or so to come to their stores.”
Carter and Augusta officials announced the project, named Premier Outlets of Georgia @ Augusta, in February. In addition to the mall, the real estate firm is developing parcels along River Watch Parkway and Cabela Drive near the entrance of the shopping center. Those lots are designated for restaurants, a bank, a gym, a hotel and other retail uses.
Carter said he remains on schedule to break ground in December and finish the development in the spring of 2016. The company would like to have tenant committals for 50 percent of the mall space by midsummer.
Ben Carter Enterprises is investing about $150 million in the mall, which could bring 1,500 jobs to the area.
City officials expect the mall will generate about $200 million in sales tax revenue.
Ben Carter Enterprises, formed in 1993, has developed several shopping centers and malls, including the Mall of Georgia in Gwinnett County and St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, Fla.