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Outlet mall on track to open by 2016 Masters

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A new fashion outlet mall in Augusta should be open in time for the 2016 Masters Tournament.

Ben Carter, the chairman of Ben Carter Enterprises, addressed the media during an announcement for a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall on River Watch Parkway.   TODD BENNETT/FILE
TODD BENNETT/FILE
Ben Carter, the chairman of Ben Carter Enterprises, addressed the media during an announcement for a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall on River Watch Parkway.

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.

WHAT’S NEW?

TUESDAY: Starbucks is closer to making instant coffee in Augusta. The Seattle-based company currently produces its VIA product line in Europe, but will be moving production here when its south Augusta facility is fully operational.

WEDNESDAY: Eyes across the nation are watching the construction of two new nuclear reactors rising out of the red-clay ground about 30 miles south of Augusta.

THURSDAY: Cabela’s opened its first Georgia store in Augusta last month amid much fanfare.

FRIDAY: GRU can point to a number of deals done and multimillion-dollar gifts received, of buildings completed and others on the way.

TODAY: A new fashion outlet mall in Augusta should be open in time for the 2016 Masters Tournament.

SUNDAY: The Army announced in December that it will relocate its Cyber Command to Fort Gordon. The five-year project, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, will include construction of a new Cyber Command headquarters, creation of a new Cyber Center of Excellence and formation of a new Cyber Mission Unit.

Comments (25) Add comment
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Sweet son
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Sweet son 04/11/14 - 09:25 pm
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@countyman

This is something real! Your restaurant chains are a plus but something like this will increase tax revenues for Richmond County. Glad that Mr. Carter has chosen our community to develop and spend his money. Also glad that he has looked beyond our mismanaged local government.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/11/14 - 09:26 pm
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Be Nice, But Wake Me Up

Yeah, well wake me up when that tremendous interest results in firm contracts for the VAR. So far there are zilch.

OJP
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OJP 04/11/14 - 09:46 pm
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@Riverman1

If you can't be excited about this, then you probably won't be excited about anything.

Butterman
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Butterman 04/11/14 - 11:10 pm
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Seeing is Believing
Unpublished

I will believe it when I see it.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/12/14 - 12:22 am
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A "Letter of Intent" means

A "Letter of Intent" means NOTHING. And when a developer has to take people for a helicopter ride to generate interest, I'd say he's pulling out all the stops- because he isn't getting the response he hoped for.

As for getting shoppers from Cola, they will have major competition with the Charlotte outlet mall- which will be opening soon, and Charlotte has the upscale shopping that Augusta lacks. I wouldn't count on the Columbia egg in that basket, and Charlotte is ALSO promoting their outlet mall as a regional hub.

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/12/14 - 01:16 am
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God help -

- my wallet, when my wife finds out about this!

Outlet malls - "look how much money I saved" she says as I'm handed receipts for hundreds of dollars.

I guess I should be happy

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/12/14 - 01:21 am
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I just saw...

...Coach was going to be one of the stores. Does anyone now a good bankruptcy lawyer?

TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 04/12/14 - 07:37 am
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I hope it works out.... also
Unpublished

I hope it works out.... also would see some restaurants that we don't already have in the area... Cheesecake Factory would be awesome

Truth Matters
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Truth Matters 04/12/14 - 07:38 am
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@Young Fred A friend's wife

@Young Fred
A friend's wife just hides her new shoes in the closet until that special day and then proclaims, "These are not new. I have had these for a good while!"

jimmymac
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jimmymac 04/12/14 - 07:41 am
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CORGI
Unpublished

Why would anyone in the CSRA and surrounding area want to drive to Charlotte to shop? I don't see anything there that would make me want to deal with the traffic nightmare that exists. An outlet mall will do well in Augusta but the mall will definitely feel the impact. Please no bus service to the new shopping venues so it doesn't become a hangout like the mall.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/12/14 - 07:57 am
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Don't doubt Ben Carter

He will make this thing fly & he will make you proud..

chadwick323i
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chadwick323i 04/12/14 - 08:10 am
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2016

More robberies and assaults for 2016 and 2019!! Go Augusta!!

pja5529
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pja5529 04/12/14 - 08:25 am
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Some people

Some people don't have a lick of business or political sense. Things like taking prospective business partners/investors to big events happen all the time...its how a LOT of business is handled....doesn't mean the project is in trouble and he's trying to save it.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/12/14 - 08:53 am
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His magic words

“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,”

The man is looking at the BIG picture...not just Augusta Ga...he is no fool.......the money is there, & he is going to get it.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 04/12/14 - 09:18 am
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Set you're calendars

my Predictions, for AUGUSTA MALL's decline:

2016+ 2-4 Years, a few Medium size stores and 4 small shops will move to the Outlet.

By year 2016 +5, 75% occupancy and losing 5% each year there after.

Before year 2016+7, 2+ Anchor Stores will split.

By Year 2016+10 Augusta Mall to change its Business concept, moving away from Large Retailers and more to Cultural and various other types of Entertainment venues.

AND/OR
starts leasing out sections to the City or opens Medical Offices.

So how will you know if & when my predictions will start.

When the RCSO opens a Substation in the mall.

BTW:
Here is a good read on why it is likely to happen.
http://www.businessinsider.com/shopping-malls-are-going-extinct-2014-1

BTW:
Google Regency Mall Images, and take trip down memory.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/12/14 - 09:24 am
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wmarkw
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wmarkw 04/12/14 - 09:32 am
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Eateries!!

I hope the mall will have an Applebees, a Chilis, a Red Robin and Ruby Tuesdays and all the other same chain crap we have in this town!!!! We need MOAR! We have to keep the fatties pleased while they drive their hove-rounds the mall to save their kankles for the endless fries. MOAR!!

Butterman
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Butterman 04/12/14 - 10:18 am
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Nocnoc Hit the Nail
Unpublished

on the head! Let's assume this outlet mall does happen... what is the cost you ask? Nocnoc just laid it out for us. Just like the malls caused the demise of downtown Augusta, Augusta Mall will be the casualty if this outlet mall is built. Then Augusta can look forward to another empty eyesore where The Augusta Mall sits for decades to come. Not to mention, that this outlet mall is probably going to get all of these generous tax subsidies from the TAD that Augusta mall does not benefit from? Hard to compete with that. There has been far too much premature excitement over that VAR property for me to get excited now. When the developer gets the required 50% CONFIRMED TENANTS IN WRITING to secure financing, then I might start paying more attention, but until that happens, this is just talk

Gage Creed
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Gage Creed 04/12/14 - 11:14 am
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I SPLOST this outlet mall may

I SPLOST this outlet mall may be built. But think all of the optimism is a TAD unrealistic.

corgimom
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corgimom 04/12/14 - 12:00 pm
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I agree with nocnoc, too,

I agree with nocnoc, too, this is going to decimate Augusta Mall.

sawgrass
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sawgrass 04/12/14 - 12:01 pm
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corgimom

How do you know the developer isn't getting the interest he hoped for? Of course he is pulling out all stops. His plan is DEVELOP and fill the outlet mall with tenants. You worry about Charlotte.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/12/14 - 01:43 pm
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I'm just wondering about it

I'm just wondering about it all. He wants 50% of the tenants committed by this summer. Has there been one store to sign yet? I was told by someone who should know that zero stores have signed. If that's not right, someone tell me.

But I do hope it does well. It's close to my house in Columbia County. I rarely use Augusta Mall, but I already shop at Costco and Cabelas and would certainly shop at an outlet mall there. That entire site is a safe and convenient location. It's almost like it has a moat around it to keep out the trouble makers.

Butterman
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Butterman 04/12/14 - 01:53 pm
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No News Here
Unpublished

Riverman, I have heard the same thing you did from a well-known source who should know.. that basically not one prospective tenant has signed on as of now. The developer said he needs a commitment of atleast 50% to start construction.. and usually they need more than that. So what big anchors have come on board? It is Spring 2014 now and this developer is saying he plans to open in time for Masters 2016? Excuse me for being a tad skeptical. And it's not like we have not heard this same song and dance before with this property. In the early 90s an enclosed shopping mall was to be built there. Then 7 years ago, an upscale lifestyle center was supposed to be built. At one time a 150,000 sqft Bass Pro was all but "certain" to go there. So what happened? There is no news here.. until you have construction crews on site actually building something..then report that. Augustans have already become a little jaded after all of the times developers and city leaders have cried wolf.

Riverman1
83470
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Riverman1 04/12/14 - 02:24 pm
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@ OJP

OJP said to me, “If you can't be excited about this, then you probably won't be excited about anything.”

Ah, an either or choice. Either I support everything the developer says or I don’t support progress in the CSRA. Sounds like you are excitapated.

pja5529
1707
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pja5529 04/12/14 - 03:25 pm
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An outlet mall

An outlet mall typically doesn't have anchors like Dillards, Macy's...so it won't steal any of those stores PLUS there would be no room at VAR even if they wanted to steal those anchors. The Augusta mall and Regency Mall coexisted for 20 years together with less people and less of a regional draw..before the Regency Mall finally met it's demise...which most likely wouldn't have happened at a better location.

pja5529
1707
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pja5529 04/12/14 - 02:54 pm
5
2
Outlet Mall in Savannah

BTW you do realize that it was almost a full year of planning and securing contracts and leases before he broke ground on the Savannah project. It takes time to these things rolling and not to mention the fact that a lot of prospective tenants just saw the property for the first time this week at the Masters.

KSL
128786
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KSL 04/12/14 - 07:11 pm
0
1
Yep, they have to do their

Yep, they have to do their due dilligence.

Gage Creed
17103
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Gage Creed 04/12/14 - 08:21 pm
2
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Ben Carter seems to be

Ben Carter seems to be heavily vested in his Broughton Street project in Savannah as well as his Pooler Outlet Mall project. It has also been noted that he cashed out of his interest in the St. Johns project in JAX.

Are his resources stretched a bit thin?

Butterman
3680
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Butterman 04/12/14 - 09:28 pm
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Talk Talk Talk
Unpublished

Anyone can talk about what they are going to do.... Talk is cheap. Until this developer has at least 50% committed tenants, financing and a firm date to begin construction, this is all nothing but talk. Print a news article when there's actually some news to report.

raul
4824
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raul 04/14/14 - 07:54 am
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Where is the world is

Where is the world is Countyman?

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