Originally created 03/12/06

Downtown Aiken is site of mixed-use project



A vacant movie theater on the north end of downtown Aiken's commercial district on Laurens Street soon will be the site of new retail and residential space.

Aiken construction company H.G. Reynolds will build the 36,000-square-foot project for partners Zipper Robbins and Ed Farmer. The project is being overseen by Laurens Centre Developers LLC,

Mr. Robbins and Mr. Farmer plan to develop eight upscale condominiums above four retail shops, each covering about 3,000 square feet.

Mr. Robbins said there is strong interest from potential buyers for the three-bedroom, three-bath residences, which will include balconies in the front and back, 11-foot ceilings, fireplaces and garages.

Mr. Robbins said building residences above shops is a growing trend fueled by a desire for in-town living.

"Mixed-use is the coming thing. Downtown Aiken is a great place to live," he said.

The facade of the structure, designed by Wakefield Beasley & Associates, of Norcross, Ga., appears as four conjoined buildings in a design consistent with the historic flavor of the downtown area.

Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh said he is a fan of combining living and shop space.

"I love the idea of having more mixed-use buildings downtown. More and more things are going that way, where people can live where they do some of their shopping," the mayor said.

Reach J.C. Lexow at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or jc.lexow@augustachronicle.com.