Originally created 03/17/04

Building owner seeks to lease



Three months after buying and sprucing up the Cobern Furniture building, Tommy Moxley is itching to make some money off his investment - even if it means selling.

While Mr. Moxley is looking to lease the landmark Broad Street building, preferably to a restaurant on its spacious ground floor, a freshly painted "for sale or lease" window sign means he's keeping his options open.

"It's a little bit of a money pit right now, but nothing I can't handle," said Mr. Moxley, who owns Appliance Land on Washington Road but says he has no plans of moving or expanding the business to downtown. "I expect by July or so we'll know what we're doing."

To jump-start efforts to market the three-story building at Broad and 11th streets, Mr. Moxley has started working with Prime Commercial Properties, which also handles marketing for downtown properties like the Lamar and Kress buildings.

"We're talking to a few regional restaurants now," said Janie Peel, the company's president, declining to name names because its "premature." Ms. Peel says she's scouting out nearby property to possibly lease as future parking space because the lot around back is limited.

Property and business owners are betting that a burgeoning revival downtown will boost foot traffic and spur growth. The Board of Education's nearly finished four-story administrative offices, for example, will bring 200 employees downtown each day to work.

On their breaks they are expected to eat out and shop, and that has gotten Mr. Moxley and others excited about the prospects of doing business.

Mr. Moxley wouldn't say how much he paid for the nearly half-century-old building, but county records show the property last valued at $385,300. Since the purchase, he has stripped the building bare of its old carpet, added a fresh coat of paint and applied stucco.

Besides a restaurant, Mr. Moxley envisions the second and third floors to accommodate office space. Still, he hired Gaskin Construction Co. a few weeks ago to come up with a variety of floor plans and options to shop the building around to prospective buyers and tenants.

"There's a lot of potential for that building," said Alva Gaskin, who with his father owns and runs Gaskin Construction.

The company helped renovate the former Jumbo Sports building on Washington Road into today's Georgia State Wholesale Florists and has worked on buildings at the Medical College of Georgia.

Reach Matthew Mogul at (706) 823-3352

or matthew.mogul@augustachronicle.com.