Downtown Buzz: Quips from the ‘queen’ of downtown
When I was asked about writing a column for Buzz on Biz on what is happening downtown, I knew there would be a huge amount of interesting material to cover, with limited space. The first column contains some short quips to provide an overview of several commercial endeavors that are realities. Each month I will focus on a specific topic and provide you updates on the ins and outs of what’s happening in our historic city.
Hotels: Three new hotel developments are being announced. The properties have been purchased with plans in the developmental process. These new investments are warranted because of the shortage of hotel rooms for conventions, family reunions, business meetings, tourists and newcomers to our city. The Holiday Inn Express, our newest hotel, has proven to be successful. These property purchases are driving our real estate values up! This is so important for the continued growth of downtown, investments breed investments.
Restaurants: Downtown restaurants, chef driven cafes, coffee shops and juice bars are especially busy during the week. Several buildings that have recently sold are currently being renovated into permanent restaurant space. The pioneers who have been operating food establishments during the renaissance of downtown are now managing two, three and four restaurants. Can we agree this is a great success story for these entrepreneurs? Yes, Sunshine Bakery did sell and will keep the name!
Department Stores: Speaking of continuity, Ruben’s Department Store must be mentioned as they have been family operated for over 100 years. Come and explore the trendy and vintage fashions that are available at downtown’s numerous apparel stores. Remember to buy local so we can stay local.
Retail Stores and Art Galleries: Unique items and gifts can be found in an amazing variety of retail stores and art galleries. There are several new mixed use developments on the drawing boards. These are sure to have the latest trends in retail offerings.
Apartments/Condos/Single Family Residences: The demand is here! Augusta Tomorrow and the Downtown Development Authority are encouraging property owners to invest in residential development. There are great incentives from the city, state and federal levels. Low interest loans, rebates and credits are being offered from entities that understand downtown development.
Office and Service Space: There is a varied supply of office space downtown. We can accommodate large to smaller businesses. Keep an eye on The Lamar Building and The SunTrust Building, both under new ownership. Sibley and King Mill are slated for office and high level service users. Unisys is continuing to expand at the River Place. Cyber is alive and well!
Dearest readers and downtown supporters, keep up the support for downtown! We are consistently growing to be the city which we have longed for and planned. “Mixed Use Development” is the buzz phrase, so stay vigilant in your investments in our city.
Can you name the downtown establishments that correspond with the categories mentioned above? Whoever can name the largest number of establishments, will win a coupon for a free smothie! Each category gets a prize. Send your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org.