Former Chamber of Commerce building to become jazz cafe, co-working space

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 2:16 PM
Last updated Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 5:39 PM
  • Follow Government

Converting an architecturally unique building in the median of Broad Street into a coffee, jazz, “co-working” and collaboration space is the latest undertaking by the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project.

Back | Next
A spray adhesive can is seen at the first floor with scaffolding at the old Chamber of Commerce building.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
A spray adhesive can is seen at the first floor with scaffolding at the old Chamber of Commerce building.

On Friday, workers were busy removing mold inside the former Metro Augusta Cham­ber of Commerce building, which has been vacant for years.

According to Matthew Kwat­inetz, the head of the ARC Project, a combination of $100,000 in city funds and $100,000 from Mayor Deke Copenhaver will be used to renovate the I.M. Pei-designed building in the 600 block.

The concept is “creating a community café and cabaret performance space” to bring in performers and nightlife “that isn’t a strip club,” Kwatinetz said, referencing the nearby adult entertainment district.

The block has had venues come and go, but Kwatinetz hopes the renovated city-owned building will spur development of a downtown “culture and innovation district” to extend from the center to the busier 1000 and 1100 blocks.

“It’s a model that has existed in other places,” Kwatinetz said. “We want to have a hub of activity.”

The center will also provide business-acceleration and co-working space for nonprofit and for-profit entities, along with a “community room” for public meetings, he said.

Renovations are expected to be complete in two months, when Kwatinetz said he’ll move his office into the building. Donors are needed to create a self-sustaining charitable fund to jump-start the café, which will award periodic grants to artists and entrepreneurs elected by café visitors, he said.

Comments (23) 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.
Cocomommy
51
Points
Cocomommy 10/11/13 - 02:03 pm
5
1
Fool's Gold

Look's like we are funding another failed experiment for Mr. Kwatinetz:

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=21284

http://tpsonline.org/forum/index.php?topic=3330.0;wap2

Notice what the property owner had to say...

Little Lamb
49078
Points
Little Lamb 10/11/13 - 05:00 pm
5
0
Govertainment

For some reason, I don't think the government should run entertainment venues.

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 10/11/13 - 05:25 pm
0
0
More info please. Who's going
Unpublished

More info please. Who's going to run it? Who hires employees? Who collects the money? Is any rent being paid to the city?

jmo
18508
Points
jmo 10/11/13 - 05:42 pm
4
0
LL

Not THIS government.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 10/11/13 - 06:15 pm
1
9
Great idea

This is a private/public venture, and the building is going to be used for collaboration. All of the major businesses, industry, etc get to pick each other brains.

We desperately need people working together to help improve the city of Augusta.

Gage Creed
19399
Points
Gage Creed 10/11/13 - 06:53 pm
3
1
You're seriously jeopardizing

You're seriously jeopardizing this deal happening, you should back off....

floridasun
381
Points
floridasun 10/11/13 - 07:00 pm
3
2
Sounds like a great idea

Pretty cool that Augusta actually has a building designed by I M Pei

Gage Creed
19399
Points
Gage Creed 10/11/13 - 07:10 pm
2
0
floridasun... the JBA is also

floridasun... the JBA is also a Pei design

Pops
14389
Points
Pops 10/11/13 - 07:21 pm
6
1
Oh that is

soooooo cool........a jazz and coffee club in the middle of Broad Street....
I can't wait for this thing to open...........got to start working on a goatee......

dwb619
104203
Points
dwb619 10/11/13 - 07:44 pm
3
1
pei

I believe the penthouse that was built by Carl Sanders on top of the Southern Finance Building was an I.M. Pei design also.

Little Lamb
49078
Points
Little Lamb 10/11/13 - 08:06 pm
3
0
pei

Augusta seems to be Pei Poor.

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 10/11/13 - 08:45 pm
1
1
Where to begin...

...first. It is my understanding that the Mayor is precluded from investing in ANY entity that has the potential to be a profit-making venture while "serving" ...Pure conflict of interest....But not surprising that it would be attempted in Augusta..

...Second...From what I understand "Mr. K" as he prefers to be called, has had a less than stellar track record of facilitating such "public-private" ventures in the past...

..therefore my point is ...we are going to allow a "public servant"invest in a private "for profit" venture within his scope of authority , while at the same time allowing someone with a questionable history to partner with said "public servant" to move the city forward?

Really?....

Gage Creed
19399
Points
Gage Creed 10/11/13 - 08:57 pm
4
0
@ Pops.... You think Dobie

@ Pops.... You think Dobie Gills and Maynard G. Krebs will hang out there? Maybe even play the bongos and recite poetry in the cafe?

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 10/11/13 - 08:56 pm
4
0
So....

....It looks to me like the Mayor personally steered city money into a project that he stands to gain from monetarily....

Aided by a "carpetbagger" .....

Does anyone else here see the utter and absolute contempt for the rule of law in this situation?

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 10/11/13 - 08:59 pm
1
0
Stories such as these..

...make me realize that ARC is surely doomed..

chrishardy
49
Points
chrishardy 10/11/13 - 10:01 pm
5
1
so.... just a few weeks ago,

so.... just a few weeks ago, downtown was a "slum", but now it's a “culture and innovation district”? okayyyyyy....

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 10/12/13 - 12:44 am
2
5
Economic domino

Mr. Kwatinetz is the person who told Starbucks they should invest $172 million into South Augusta. The plant which is currently under construction was named the 2102 Georgia deal of the year in the large city category.

Starbucks also donated $200k to the ARC Project. The ARC is already responsible for the Mill campus, chamber of commerce renovation, etc.

A future company is suppose to build in the Corporate Park very soon, and Georgia Power will be apart of the growth.

I think everybody should be thanking Mr. Kwatinetz for helping increase the cosmopolitan feel, amount of high paying jobs, additional tax base, attracting higher quality retail, etc.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 10/12/13 - 07:18 am
0
0
Economic dynamo. LOL Failed government subsidized city. YES
Unpublished

Economic dynamo. LOL Failed government subsidized city. YES

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 10/12/13 - 07:20 am
0
0
This makes flooding the parking "sump" look like a winner. LOL
Unpublished

Gondolas floating up and down the once "broad street". Views of The Awful Tower. The ARC de Failure.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 10/12/13 - 07:23 am
0
0
Sen. Holly erected the penthouse. According to his mistress.
Unpublished

Sen. Holly erected the penthouse. According to his mistress.

Gage Creed
19399
Points
Gage Creed 10/12/13 - 12:20 pm
2
2
Ewwwwwww groveling is so very

Ewwwwwww groveling is so very unbecoming....

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 10/12/13 - 02:01 pm
1
0
Hmm....

....wonder if Mr K. is auditioning for Fred Russell's job?...Fred's had a propensity for these public-private projects involving public officials vested interests for years and look how successful HE"S been at it?....

Something to consider...

blues550
380
Points
blues550 10/12/13 - 02:21 pm
0
0
Really Dumb Idea
Unpublished

Yet another stupid idea...really stupid idea.

This bunch needs to have their collective butts kicked out.

Gage Creed
19399
Points
Gage Creed 10/12/13 - 04:09 pm
1
1
Economic domino... What the

Economic domino...
What the heck is that? When one project falls flat they all fall flat?

Little Lamb
49078
Points
Little Lamb 10/13/13 - 05:08 am
2
0
Good Analogy

That's a wise observation, Gage.

These "public/private partnerships" are nothing but fascism. Welfare for Deke's croneys.

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 10/13/13 - 11:39 am
0
0
Why is Augustra Artspace.Org...

...based out of Minneapolis. With Augusta being positioned as a technology center, why couldn't it be based here in Augusta.

See more at: http://www.artspaceaugusta.org/#sthash.JO40Ehmx.dpuf

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 10/13/13 - 05:03 pm
0
0
Question...

...when did the Technology Center use end up being morphed into a “creating a community café and cabaret performance space”?

badmoon426
1187
Points
badmoon426 10/13/13 - 05:08 pm
1
0
Countyman/Nortonguy...

...I do not see a direct correlation between the arrival of Matthew Kwatinetz on the scene and him being attributed as the savior of Augusta by increasing its "cosmopolitan feel, amount of high paying jobs, additional tax base, attracting higher quality retail, etc.".

I think you are counting your eggs before they hatch...

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs