New development at National Hills

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, October 5, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Three thousand new jobs were added just last year in Richmond County. The Development Authority said all those jobs and the strength of the economy is the reason for new developments at National Hills shopping center.

"We're working with a large number of projects right now. Probably the largest number of projects we've ever worked with, in our history at the Development Authority," Development Authority Executive Director Walter Sprouse said.

Sprouse said the numbers in the past two years show that Augusta is growing and the economy is strong.

"We've seen a large number of new people moving into the area, new jobs being created," he said.

He's talking about ADP and T-Mobile bringing thousands of jobs to the area.

"There's a tremendous amount going on in Augusta right now and we're very proud to be a part of it," Sprouse said.

And soon you'll see changes at National Hills shopping center, where Dillards is moving out in January, and Fresh Market is moving to a bigger space next door. 25 percent bigger, and they expect to open within the next year.

"I'm very excited about it. I think that the shopping center has needed some work for a long time. And being a retail owner, I'm excited that they want to upgrade," Brigid Pursley said.

Other changes include a new Walgreens and plans to widen Alexander Drive over to Riverwatch.

"That's going to be a big help, not only for the traffic that we see on Washington Road right here, but especially when it comes time for the Masters across the street. That's going to help get traffic in and out a little bit better," Sprouse said.

Next door, employees at Windsor Jewelers said the changes will be uplifting to the National Hills area.

"Obviously, right now you are very select on what you can have here. I think by them revitalizing the shopping center, it will bring more business to the area because we'll get a lot more variety," Lamar McCubbin said.

Other store owners said all the growth will bring even more places to shop.

"We need it. We need to increase our tax base in Augusta and this is the type of development that we need to get it done," Pursley said.

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