The 68,000-square-foot building, which Mr. Bennett said is about 35 percent finished, stands at the threshold between downtown and future expansion. It also will be the city's cultural center when it opens in about a year.
"That building is not just an office building, it's going to be a center of activity for the community," Mr. Bennett said Tuesday.
The four-story building hugs Georgia Avenue by design and reflects the city's new, stricter development codes. Traditionally, downtown buildings stand close to main streets, said G.M. "Skip" Grkovic, the city's director of economic and community development.
"It's the design standard; it's where we wanted it to be," he said. It's a design element echoed in another recent office-commercial addition to downtown, Jackson Square.
The building will be the gateway to an extension of downtown toward the river and the Hammond's Ferry town center. A new thoroughfare, Center Street, will tie into Georgia Avenue with a reconfigured and signalized intersection at Bluff Avenue, directing traffic to shops, restaurants and office space along the river.
"We'll have the traditional downtown and the new downtown, and the municipal center will sit right in the middle of the two," Mr. Bennett said.
About 40 percent of the structure will be devoted to city operations, he said, with the remainder open for use for civic functions and cultural events.
It will have an 8,000-square-foot lobby devoted to arts and heritage, banquet facilities and a commercial-grade kitchen.
"We want the citizens of North Augusta to enjoy it because it's built for them, because it's been designed for them in mind," he said.
The more than $20 million building is the largest individual construction project in the city's history, Mr. Bennett said.
Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Projected Total Cost: $20,663,041, including furnishings
Size: 68,000 square feet
Space reserved for city operations/cultural events: 40 percent/60 percent
Cost of a change order to include a clock tower and flagpole: $73,500
Completion date: Spring 2009