Comcast Corp. announced Thursday it will build a new office in northwest Augusta that will house nearly all its operations under one roof.
The metro area's largest cable television provider plans to build the 45,000-square-foot facility on a seven-acre tract in the River Shoals development near the intersection of River Watch Parkway and Interstate 20.
The $5 million project will consolidate the company's customer service, technical service center, warehouse, studio and administrative office into a centralized location during the first quarter of 2001.
Comcast's 225 employees currently work out of four facilities spread throughout the city, from the main customer service center at Daniel Village shopping center to the service vehicle yard in Columbia County.
"We'll be more accessible, more efficient and have a lot more parking," said Doug McMillan, Comcast area vice president. "... We're doing everything possible to provide the most state-of-the-art facility for our customers."
The company plans to break ground on the two-story building in late June. Comcast officials said the Daniel Village office will remain open through 2001, but said they were unsure whether the North Augusta office would close.
Comcast said it plans to keep its advertising staff at its office on Monte Sano Avenue, which is also the location of the company's network operations center and satellite dishes.
The search for a new office building began in April 1999, shortly after Philadelphia-based Comcast purchased Jones Intercable.
Steve Burke, president of Comcast's cable TV operations, made the decision after visiting the company's Augusta facilities.
"On the spot he said, `Let's put up a new office here,"' Comcast spokesman Bill Botham recalled.
The new building will feature 350 parking spaces, an atrium foyer and a call center expanded to handle Comcast emergency calls from Savannah and Charleston.
Comcast officials said it selected the River Shoals area for its visibility, central location and easy access to major thoroughfares.
It also chose the development for its proximity to North Augusta and because the company's franchise agreement with Richmond County requires its headquarters remain within the county lines.
Comcast's building will be west of River Shoals' first tenant, Delta Air Lines' call reservation center.
San Jose, Calif.-based Brandenburg Properties, developer of River Shoals, is marketing the property as an upscale, mixed-use development with corporate offices, multifamily housing and retail.
Brandenburg Properties spokesman Bill Baron said the company is in discussions with two companies interested in locating at River Shoals.
"We're excited," he said. "There's seemingly continued interest in this location."
Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486.