Augusta Economy

More News | Fort Gordon | Plant Vogtle | Savannah River Site | Editor

Retail recruiters seeing interest in downtown Augusta

  • Follow Local Business

Augusta leaders need to address two things before downtown can bring new retailers to the city’s urban core: better parking management and restoration of the business improvement district.

Map View

Javascript is required to view this map.

That’s the advice of Chuck Branch, partner in Retail Strategies, which is in the midst of a downtown retail study for the Downtown Development Authority.

“You can bring national retailers, who are looking at 50 to 100 to 500 different sites, and bring them to a market, and it not be ready for them to make that visit,” said Branch, who gave DDA members an update Thursday at their monthly meeting. “The interest is out there. It’s getting them to take that next step.”

Since last May, Alabama-based Retail Strategies has been conducting an in-depth market analysis, vacant property catalog, retail recruitment and other related efforts to spawn a retail Renaissance downtown.

The three-year contract will cost between $40,000 and $60,000. The DDA is trying to raise $30,000 of that amount from the private sector. DDA Executive Director Margaret Woodard said Thursday that $27,500 in private funding had been donated.

An immediate focus of the study is targeting a new grocery store. Branch said multiple grocers are interested, but don’t want to move forward before something is done with the dated Kroger store on 15th Street.
Additionally, Branch said two new “quick-service restaurant concepts” have chosen sites along the medical corridor, but he would not provide any names. He also noted that there are three mixed-use developers “entertaining” downtown.

Demographic research done by the firm showed population figures are expected to stay relatively flat within a 3-mile radius of downtown. Last year, there were 43,835 residents living within that circle. The projected population for 2018 is 44,651.

In 2013, there were 11,304 households making an average annual income of $30,554 in the “immediate trade area” of Augusta, a smaller section that extended from Reynolds Street down to Gordon Highway and Deans Bridge Road but didn’t go past Bobby Jones Expressway. It also included portions of Harrisburg that ended before the Summerville campus of Georgia Regents University. By 2018, the number of households in that area is expected to slightly rise to 11,484, with an average annual income of $35,321.

Branch’s data showed 2,400 businesses and 32,370 employees currently operating in that section.

Branch encouraged the city to look at adding tax breaks for developers, noting most of downtown is eligible for new market tax credits.

NEW SUSHI RESTAURANT

DDA board members approved a $250,000 Georgia Cities Foundation loan for a sushi restaurant at 1033 Broad St.

Owner Jay Klugo, who operates three sushi restaurants near Clemson, S.C., recently purchased the downtown space and neighboring vacant lot at 1041 Broad St., with plans of opening his fourth such eatery. Klugo said he’d like to start renovating by August and hopes to open by December or March, at the latest.

Board treasurer Sanford Loyd said total cost of the project is expected to come in at $1.2 million.

The Georgia Cities Foundation loan is offered at a 3 percent interest rate for projects that spur development, add jobs, promote downtown housing or enhance cultural enrichment. The loans must be repaid in 10 to 15 years.

– Jenna Martin, staff writer

Comments (17) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1
81336
Points
Riverman1 06/20/14 - 06:15 am
5
3
“How to Make Money Doing Studies for Government”

Study, study, study; money, money, money. I think Augusta must be at the top of the list in a book somewhere titled: “How to Make Money Doing Studies for Government.”

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 06/20/14 - 06:37 am
3
6
Downtown benefits
Unpublished

Hurry and open a business in downtown Augusta and you can see the Gay pride parade this year and every year. All Christians should boycott downtown Augusta and watch the growth in Columbia County. I
for one do not support downtown and have no intentions of doing so, as a Richmond Co. resident, I find it appalling and will continue to spend my money in Columbia Co. and in N. Augusta.

Pops
7506
Points
Pops 06/20/14 - 07:27 am
4
2
Wait a minute, Is this true??

"Demographic research done by the firm showed population figures are expected to stay relatively flat within a 3-mile radius of downtown."

I thought all the hip, white collar, young professionals are moving to downtown.

AFjoe
2013
Points
AFjoe 06/20/14 - 08:55 am
1
1
Study?

Was there not a study years ago to solve the parking problem by building the "parking islands" that now split broad street.
These "recruiters" talk in abstract terms. "Multi grocery stores interested" & "quick service restaurant", but no names.

Dixieman
13845
Points
Dixieman 06/20/14 - 09:54 am
2
3
Haven't these "experts" ever heard...

...of the now 50 year old exciting retail concept of...wait for it...the SUBURBAN SHOPPING MALL?
Ain't nobody in their right mind going to open a new retail business downtown.

lgr
185
Points
lgr 06/20/14 - 10:14 am
5
2
downtown retail

guess Dixieman has never been to downtown Charleston SC which is covered up in retail shopping

Riverman1
81336
Points
Riverman1 06/20/14 - 11:17 am
3
3
Downtown Charleston shopping

Downtown Charleston shopping is certainly not large retail. It's small shops for the tourists mainly. Charleston has several large malls in the area. But here is one interesting retail place off of East Bay St. It's at the old historic Ports Authority warehouse where a large grocery store was built inside of it to keep the historic structure intact. It would be like putting a grocery store in the Old Depot here.

countyman
19518
Points
countyman 06/20/14 - 12:46 pm
3
4
CBD

The CBD is the heartbeat of metro Augusta and the most important area in the CSRA.. The CBD, Medical District, and West Augusta offer the best opportunities to attract white collar office jobs..

The James Brown Boulevard streetscape project will begin soon and TSplost will provide the money to complete many new infrastructure projects downtown.. The city must step up to the plate and help provide the security, recreation, and parking..

The city of Augusta needs to replace 1 or 2 of the parking bays in the middle of Broad with greenspace and build another parking deck(between Broad/Walton Way)... The parking bays are old and the lighting surrounding them is horrible..

The Augusta Greenway, Augusta Common expansion, and the Riverwalk extension into East Augusta also need to be discussed among long term plans(2-4 years)...
http://augustagreenway.org/wordpress/

A police substation on Broad street and the multi-modal transportation center(City buses, GRU buses, police substation, and future light rail) can help attract the private sector..

The research is not 100% and the urban core will grow faster much than projected.. The old city of Augusta wasn't growing in the past and the consultants still predict future growth even with the upcoming changes.. The widening of 15th street will displace many residents and Lake Olmstead or Marion Homes is probably the next housing project/development to be demolished..

countyman
19518
Points
countyman 06/20/14 - 06:44 pm
3
2
AFJOE.. The Walmart market,

AFJOE.. The Walmart market, Publix, and Kroger have all been discussed to join the GRU Gateway project(25 acres) in the Medical District... The Chick Fil A coming to Walton Way/15th street is more than likely one of the quick-service restaurants mentioned.. The MCG Foundation owns the Kroger shopping center and the store will have to bE demolished in the future.

The old depot on Reynolds street in the CBD is a great location for another grocery store in the future..

LGR... There's plenty of shopping in both downtown Savannah and Charleston... The city of Greenville is doing pretty good in terms of attracting stores downtown and even Columbia had a Mast General Store open recently..

Riverman1
81336
Points
Riverman1 06/20/14 - 01:45 pm
4
2
Same Customers?

"The MCG Foundation owns the Kroger shopping center and the store will have to be either demolished or redeveloped.."

If you demolish the Kroger and build a new grocery store, will the same customers be shopping there? I think so.

countyman
19518
Points
countyman 06/20/14 - 02:11 pm
3
4
Customers

''If you demolish the Kroger and build a new grocery store, will the same customers be shopping there? I think so.''

The developers behind the upcoming changes obviously have the opposite point of view.. A new store will attract people from the CBD, Waters Edge, Summerville, Olde Town, and Forest Hills.. The $11 million CanalSide development at 1399 Walton Way provides additional customers in walking distance of the new store.

Riverman1
81336
Points
Riverman1 06/20/14 - 02:46 pm
4
1
something to ponder

It's something to ponder. I wonder why the Summerville, etc. residents don't shop at that Kroger now?

countyman
19518
Points
countyman 06/20/14 - 06:45 pm
2
3
New store versus outdated store

''It's something to ponder. I wonder why the Summerville, etc. residents don't shop at that Kroger now?''

The Summerville residents don't shop at the Kroger, because the store needs to be demolished..

Riverman1
81336
Points
Riverman1 06/20/14 - 03:27 pm
3
2
Kroger Shoppers

I've been in that Kroger a couple of times. Kroger is kind of an upscale store compared to say, Food Lion. Sure the store has aged, but still it's a Kroger that apparently makes a profit with their current customers. Maybe others will shop in a newer store, but the current clientele will also keep shopping at that location.

Junket103
435
Points
Junket103 06/20/14 - 04:59 pm
1
1
Forest Hills Has Many Options

The residents living on the Forest Hills side of the Hill have several options, including Bi-Lo, the new Walmart and Kroger all along Wrightsboro. They can even get to Publix, Fresh Market, Kroger and the future Whole Foods, all on Washington Rd., faster then they can travel to the old Kroger on 15th. Countyman is right, demolish the old Kroger and build something new in a more convenient location.

Little Lamb
44848
Points
Little Lamb 06/20/14 - 05:14 pm
1
0
Taxes

Instead of giving low taxes (sometimes they give total tax forgiveness) to new businesses moving in, while making existing businesses here pay higher taxes to offset the tax exemptions for the new businesses; how about an old fashioned notion of everybody pays the same tax rates?

I wonder how existing retailers feel when they see that their new competition pays lower taxes than they do. Doesn't seem right to me.

itsanotherday1
41336
Points
itsanotherday1 06/20/14 - 07:31 pm
0
0
Countyman

What is going on with the Whiskey Bar? My wife and I were going there Wed night before the REK concert, but It was closed.

Riverman1
81336
Points
Riverman1 06/20/14 - 09:49 pm
2
0
I thought Countyman was

I thought Countyman was talking about using the same location of the 15th St. Kroger for a new grocery store?

Back to Top

Top headlines

Cops seek stolen truck suspects

Police said the driver failed to stop for lights and siren and soon after left the road, striking a parked vehicle and then a home in the 5200 block of Silver Fox Way, according to a news release.
Search Augusta jobs