Historic Augusta announces 2014 Endangered Properties List

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 11:36 AM
Last updated Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 7:05 PM
  • Follow Latest News

NOTE: A graphic of Historic Augusta’s annual Endangered Properties list Friday in The Augusta Chronicle had the wrong address for the Old First Baptist Church at 802 Greene St.

The former J.C. Penney building on Broad Street  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
The former J.C. Penney building on Broad Street

The Chronicle regrets the error.

The days might be numbered for some of the oldest properties in downtown Augusta if appropriate action isn’t taken soon.

On Thursday, a historic church, a synagogue, a former department store and two freestanding buildings were added to Historic Augusta’s 2014 Endangered Properties List.

Historic Augusta compiles the list to draw attention to buildings of historic significance that are in danger of being lost because of neglect, nearby development, vacancy or changes to the building inconsistent with historic design. This year’s list targeted properties in areas where other preservation or redevelopment projects are underway or completed.

“The goal is we will continue to work with the folks that own the properties to try to accomplish their preservation,” said Historic Augusta Executive Director Erick Montgomery. Historic Augusta held a press conference at the Jacob Phinizy House, 529 Greene St., a building that was on the 2010 list before renovated for the offices of 2KM Architects.

The old First Baptist Church, 802 Greene St., was added to the list because it has been underutilized and poorly maintained in recent years, Montgomery said. It is on the same block as the Augusta Public Library that opened in 2010 and a row of historic houses undergoing rehabilitation.

“A number of groups have used it — small churches and educational institutions. None of them have had the resources to restore it and maintain it as it should be,” Montgomery said of the church.

The other religious structure on the list is the Congregation Children of Israel Synagogue, 525 Telfair St. The building has been used as city and county offices since the mid-20th century and currently houses the Augusta Planning and Development offices.

The offices are slated to move to the Municipal Building that is undergoing renovation, leaving the synagogue available for a new use. The synagogue’s annex building, which was to be demolished before the city’s Historic Preservation Committee vetoed it two weeks ago, was not included in the listing.

“Had the county not picked it up and since been used by the city, we probably would have lost this building a long time ago,” Montgomery said.

The former J.C. Penney’s department store on the 700 block of Broad Street was also added to the list. The building is owned by Bonnie Ruben, who also owns the Ramada Hotel and several other vacant, downtown properties.

The old department store is located on the same block as the Miller Theater which is being refurbished by Symphony Orchestra Augusta. The store could be used as apartments, commercial office space or a community center, Historic Augusta said.

The other two listings were the former Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Exchange Building, near the renovated J.B. White’s Building, and a 19th century commercial building that was originally a grocery store at 472 Broad St. The 19th century building is on the same block as the Holiday Inn Express set to open next spring.

THE LIST

Old First Baptist Church, 802 Greene St.

Built: 1902 by William F. Denny

Style: Beaux-Arts

Features: copper dome, Corinthian columns and arched windows

History: The old church is on the same site where the Southern Baptist Convention had its first meeting in 1845. The church congregation moved to Walton Way Extension in 1975.

Congregation Children of Israel Synagogue, 525 Telfair St.

Built: 1869

Style: Greek Revival temple

History: It is the oldest building constructed in the state of Georgia as a synagogue. The congregation moved to Walton Way in the late 1940s. The main worship space has been divided into two floors creating numerous offices.

Former J.C. Penney’s department store, 732-738 Broad St.

Built: 1900 by William F. Denny

Features: 83,000-square feet, 230 feet of window displays and an Art Deco facade added in 1922

History: Built as part of the Albion Hotel, the store first housed the J.B. White Company. A 1921 fire destroyed parts of the hotel but it reopened the following year. J.C. Penney opened in 1959 before leaving for the Augusta Mall in 1987. It also housed a Sears Roebuck and Co. store.

Former Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Exchange Building, 937 Ellis St.

Built: 1902

History: The Southen Bell Telephone and Telegraph company occupied the building until 1940. It was then listed as the Carpenter’s Building in 1945 and housed a variety of tenants including unions, alliances and professional fraternities. The Augusta Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons last occupied it in the 1980s.

19th-Century commercial building, 472 Broad St.

Built: soon after the 1878 tornado

Style: two-story masonry commercial building with residential space above

History: The building sits near the Haunted Pillar that remained standing at the city’s public market after a tornado destroyed much of the surrounding blocks. It once housed a grocery store.

Comments (11) 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.
raul
4899
Points
raul 11/07/13 - 12:41 pm
4
0
So, if they are declared

So, if they are declared endangered properties by Historic Augusta, are they eligible for federal grant money for restoration?

Riverman1
84256
Points
Riverman1 11/07/13 - 12:50 pm
7
2
Decision?

I know someone very unhappy about the designation of a certain property. I'd like to hear more about the decision making process.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 11/07/13 - 01:05 pm
2
1
No official weight...

While this designation "flags" the properties as "at risk", the move is merely ceremonial.

Sad to see the First Baptist building on the list.

NrthAugustaSam
475
Points
NrthAugustaSam 11/07/13 - 02:17 pm
3
3
Retaliation

One of those property designations is probably motivated by retaliation or revenge because the owner is not liked. Riverman is right......as usual. Austin would disagree though because he is one of those that does not like the owner.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 11/07/13 - 02:41 pm
3
2
What in the world are you talking about?

...and since the designation from "Historic Augusta" is no more than a fancy sticky note attached to the building...how is any such designation some kind of retaliation?

The_Wilhenford
46
Points
The_Wilhenford 11/07/13 - 11:36 pm
2
1
Who is it?

What is the property in question?

nocnoc
42800
Points
nocnoc 11/08/13 - 07:09 am
4
3
Having grown up around or been in many of these buildings.

The 1st and 2nd are truly historical beauties.

----------------

WAIT FOR
I can almost smell a typical DOWNTOWN idea brewing.
Any bets we hear a proposal to spend $Millions$ moving the 472 Board St. building to another site, or a SPLOST proposal for DOWNTOWN to purchase the JC Penny's building and turn it into loft apartments and Section 8 the problem next door, as part of a Board St. Re-vitalization project. or maybe even turn it in to more DOWNTOWN Government Office space with no parking?

BTW:
How about adding Exterior / Interior pictures of 1 & 2.

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/08/13 - 09:40 am
0
0
soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/08/13 - 09:40 am
0
0
Do the Southern Baptist care about their building? NOT
Unpublished

Do the Southern Baptist care about their building? NOT

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/08/13 - 09:41 am
0
0
Do the Children of Israel care about their building? NOT
Unpublished

Do the Children of Israel care about their building? NOT

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/08/13 - 09:42 am
0
0
Does a slum lord want tax money to preserve a store? YES
Unpublished

Does a slum lord want tax money to preserve a store? YES

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/08/13 - 09:43 am
0
0
Preserving Augusta's History? Where is that historical marker?
Unpublished

Where is that Confederate flag? Where is that train depot?

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/08/13 - 09:44 am
0
0
History is an elusive mist in the ARC of No Covenant.
Unpublished

History is an elusive mist in the ARC of No Covenant.

Little Lamb
46081
Points
Little Lamb 11/08/13 - 09:55 am
2
0
Owners

In that gray sidebar up above where they give the history of each building, they should have also included the current owners.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 11/08/13 - 10:10 am
3
0
You either can afford to own

You either can afford to own it or you can't. @ Owners, bring it up to code. @ the city, reposses and raze/sell.

Simple and efficient, not to mention it's the law no?

Boogie67
7
Points
Boogie67 11/08/13 - 01:01 pm
4
0
Holding slumlords accountable

It is not surprising to see the J.C. Penney building on 700th block of Broad Street on this list. If you look at the side of the building, you can see some amazing window details and cornice and trim work. What should be addressed is how slumlord Bonnie Ruben has been allowed to keep this large property in such derelict conditions. What is even more amazing is that this building is virtually across the street from the Augusta Chronicle, the Imperial Theatre, etc. This building has been boarded up for decades! The City of Augusta needs to grow a set and go after these slum landlords who just sit on their properties. If they are not willing to make their property assets to the streetscape and the downtown area, DO SOMETHING. Property rights should be abdicated when said property owners do nothing to improve their property. It doesn't matter how much revitalization work you do. If there is one crap property, it brings everything else down. Go after these slumlords, City of Augusta, and really revitalize the community!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 11/08/13 - 02:04 pm
1
0
Remember, the city is only as

Remember, the city is only as pretty and appealling as it's least pretty and appealling property. Setting the bar this low suggests we have a very ugly city.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs