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Augusta fire officials inspect Regency Mall for combustibles

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 7:21 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 4:09 AM
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The interior of what once was a 72-acre retail extravaganza now resembles an empty shell, as Regency Mall’s owners continue to remove combustible materials to meet fire codes.

The Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department performed a walkthrough inspection of the vacant Regency Mall on Tuesday. Lt. Jason Beard said the owners are steadily removing all combustible materials such as sheetrock and wood.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
The Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department performed a walkthrough inspection of the vacant Regency Mall on Tuesday. Lt. Jason Beard said the owners are steadily removing all combustible materials such as sheetrock and wood.

Regency was cited this fall for being a firetrap after officials discovered the loosely secured mall’s fire alarm and sprinkler systems were inoperable. Owners chose to remove all combustible materials from the vacant building instead of repairing the alarm systems, Augusta Fire Chief Chris James said Tuesday.

Fire Lt. Jason Beard, who performed a walkthrough inspection Tuesday, said owners are steadily removing combustible materials such as sheetrock and wood.

“When I got out there, it was better than what I thought,” Beard said. “They’re tearing everything out of the building. There won’t be anything left except concrete and steel. There wouldn’t be anything there left to burn.”

Mark Axler, who manages the property for owner Car­di­nale Holdings LLC, said the company will spend between $750,000 and $1 million to gut the mall in a continued effort to sell it.

“I get a lot of calls, at least one a week,” Axler said. “The economy is changing now, and we were told some things are coming out of the woodwork.”

The inspection was performed in advance of a Thurs­day hearing in magistrate court on the code violations. A judge will have the final say, but Beard said progress was sufficient enough for him to recommend owners be given an extension to complete the requirements.

Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett, who represents the Dean’s Bridge Road-Gordon Highway area where the mall sits, was not impressed by the work done on the visible reminder of blight on the city’s south side. Once Georgia’s largest mall, Regency’s last anchor tenant, Mont­gomery Ward, closed in 2001.

“Five years ago, it was the same song and dance,” Lockett said. “It’s an eyesore in the community that has not been properly maintained, and it hinders having new businesses and new residents come into your area.”

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corgimom
27462
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corgimom 01/09/13 - 04:40 am
5
1
Bill Lockett is exactly

Bill Lockett is exactly right.

seenitB4
81048
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seenitB4 01/09/13 - 06:56 am
6
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Oh yes Mr Lockett

,” Lockett said. “It’s an eyesore in the community that has not been properly maintained, and it hinders having new businesses and new residents come into your area.”

EXACTLY.....but what do you plan to do about it.....downtown gets the goods...south Augusta gets the crumbs......that area could be rebuilt & the mall would just be the beginning..

seenitB4
81048
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seenitB4 01/09/13 - 07:05 am
4
2
Roundtree

Do you have any plans for Regency Mall....training---perhaps....could Augusta rent the space .....could volunteers clean the grounds...just asking...

Little Lamb
43814
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Little Lamb 01/09/13 - 09:07 am
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Sore Eyes

Well, Commissioner Lockett, it might be an eyesore to you, but remember this: Cardinale Holdings, LLC, is under no obligation to bring “new businesses and new residents . . . into your area.” They are co-operating with the fire marshall. Leave them alone.

CobaltGeorge
149789
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CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 09:08 am
5
4
Regency Mall....Suggestion

Why not make it a Historical Landmark as to what the destructive powers of Political Correctness can do!

OpenCurtain
10049
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OpenCurtain 01/09/13 - 09:23 am
5
0
Its time came an went 25+ years ago.

Regency Mall was the best for maybe the 1st 5 years.
It was fun to walk around in and yes even buy things.

About a year after Augusta Mall opened, Downtown Augusta started running buses to Regency Mall and Augusta Mall publicly stated it did not want a Bus Route. ??????

Soon there were the frequent fights between shop lifters and security, too many times in front of families.

Crime problems in the parking lots.
Lack of enough properly trained security personnel.
Gang turf issues.
Brawls in the mall.
and large numbers of professional and amateur shoplifters.

Whatever the reason for Regency Malls failure. Augusta Mall sucked up the high item ticket buyers given their better safety and security. Then Regency Mall's upscale businesses followed in a steady exit flow. Monkey Wards was the only hold out, an years later they folded from other such bad decisions. BTW:Charlotte in the Electronics section upstairs was their best sales person.

11 years later
Many suggestions have been made, MCG expansion, I/O Offices, a Corporate HQ, National Call Center and other pipe dreams have been floated. All have have failed to distract US that there is a dead WHITE ELEPHANT is laying next to the road.

Bulldog1
223
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Bulldog1 01/09/13 - 09:36 am
4
3
All you whiners need to step up

All you whiners need to step up to the plate and buy this property and then you can do whatever you like with it. The whiners seem to know best about how to deal with someone elses money! Let's see them put up their own...

Little Lamb
43814
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Little Lamb 01/09/13 - 09:43 am
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Property

Amen, Bulldog. This building belongs to Cardinale Holdings, LLC. It is their property to manage, and citizens of Augusta should butt out.

soapy_725
43553
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soapy_725 01/09/13 - 10:01 am
1
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The Queen of Denial !! A casino on the creek. LOL
Unpublished

Blame the building. LOL Blame the parking lot. LOL Blame the owners. LOL Blame everyone but the same low life's who destroy everything. The same issues that brought the Regency to its demise are still present at Gordon Hwy and Deans Bridge Rd. Only worse. Regency had security. They had security on the roof top. Observing the car lot thefts and assaults. They were told to keep quiet. The AC was told to keep quiet. The mall was rotten before it closed. Remember, when remaining stores like MW blocked their entrances into the mall proper. Only the lowest of life wants to live where they defecate.

Look at Gordon Hwy folks. It resembles a war zone. Another East Boundary. Another Detroit.

Itsallnew11
523
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Itsallnew11 01/09/13 - 10:14 am
4
2
Tear It Down instead of gutting it!

Offset the cost of maintaining it and gutting it and just tear it down and sell the then clear property. It will bring more value to all involved that way.

Little Lamb
43814
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Little Lamb 01/09/13 - 10:26 am
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@ Itsallnew11

Please read the post directly above yours.

Willow Bailey
20579
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Willow Bailey 01/09/13 - 10:54 am
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What destroyed Regency Mall

What destroyed Regency Mall was the complete lack of security. After the girl was kidnapped in the parking lot and subsequently murdered, most decent people did not return or allow their children to.

It is truly a blight on the community, but I also agree that as long as the property owners are in compliance with county codes there is not much anyone can say or do.

MarinerMan
2107
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MarinerMan 01/09/13 - 11:43 am
5
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In Its Day
Unpublished

When we moved to Augusta in '88, we shopped at both malls. From the outside, I've always thought that Regency Mall looked great, with clean lines. Unfortunately, the vermin inside, brought it down. The mall took a major decline. The anchors tried to hang in, but the low lifes took control. At this stage of the game, I don't know if the shell is worth saving. The criminals have raped the buildings of their air conditioning hardware. I really don't know if anyone would actually rebuild the shells. A shame.

bubbasauce
20573
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bubbasauce 01/09/13 - 11:46 am
4
1
Something nice in a bad part

Something nice in a bad part of town never works!

countyman
19068
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countyman 01/09/13 - 01:45 pm
2
3
Been down this road before!

Several developments have been proposed for the Regency Mall, and they were all shot down.. The best idea is to demolish the mall, and build the regional sports complex.

The downtown conspiracy continues to lose team, because the majority of commissioners live south of Gordon Hwy. The funny part is how West Augusta, East Augusta, Harrisburg, Summerville, etc don't seem to exist. The same few people continue to turn everything into downtown vs South Augusta. I bet the residents of West Augusta would be very happy if they had the $1 million Marshall office, millions invested into one single park(Diamond Lakes), $20 million vocational high school, etc..

Bubbasauce. It depends on whether the nice amenities help clean up that part of town.. Many poor inner city neighborhoods across the US are now full of yuppies.

Willow Bailey
20579
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Willow Bailey 01/09/13 - 02:00 pm
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"countyman.. "Many poor inner

"countyman.. "Many poor inner city neighborhoods across the US are now full of yuppies."

That may be true, but the reason for it would be economics not choice. No one chooses to live in a slum for the sheer fun of it.

Sweet son
9661
Points
Sweet son 01/09/13 - 02:18 pm
2
1
Lockett!

Cannot be satisfied! Period!

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 01/09/13 - 02:29 pm
1
0
No one chooses to live in a slum for the sheer fun of it.
Unpublished

One man's trash is another's treasure.

Little Lamb
43814
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Little Lamb 01/09/13 - 03:00 pm
4
1
Correction

Countyman's post needs to be modified to be truthful:

Many poor inner city neighborhoods across the US are now full of former yuppies.

Obama's economic policies (or lack thereof) have put them there.

soapy_725
43553
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soapy_725 01/09/13 - 03:13 pm
2
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countyman and his friends seem to want a....
Unpublished

Soho, Buckhead or Greenwich Village with all of the perks in a few blocks of the CBD. Theaters, entertainment, dog walks, central park, restaurants, art, art fairs, loft apartments, Fresh Market, Wine Mill, Mini Brewery's, etc. All of that artsie stuff. All for their pleasure. But they want the rest of the world to pay for their personal conveniences.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 01/09/13 - 03:33 pm
2
2
The half truths, it's the

The half truths, it's the liberal, I'm sorry, progressive way.

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