News 12 First at Five / Thursday, July 25, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- On the heels of a major announcement in Columbia County on Wednesday, Richmond County has two.
Outdoor retailer Cabela's has announced it will be opening its first Georgia store at the Village at Riverwatch shopping center.
News 12 has learned that's not the only store on the way there. The Georgia Theatre Company will be opening up a new multimillion-dollar theater to be called Riverwatch 14 Cinemas.
"We knew that whenever Costco located here, that would bring a lot of people here, and it has. We know that Cabela's in here is going to bring thousands of people in," said Walter Sprouse with the Augusta Economic Development Authority.
A blue ribbon hanging on the tall grass in an open field next to Costco is where the 42,000-square-foot building will be built. Leaders say it's a prime location with Costco to its right, I-20 to its back and the Augusta Canal right next door.
Now, News 12 has confirmed a movie theater will neighbor it, too.
It will be a 14-screen, state-of-the art cinema experience that will even include in-theater dining and a separate party room for special events.
"It speaks volumes to the strength of the local economy that we are an internationally known brand name of a city. People outside the area get that," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
Cabela's is scheduled to open in the spring, and the theater is coming in fall 2014. City leaders are expecting quite the crowd on opening day.
"The funny thing about Cabela's is that their draw area is probably about 300 to 400 miles away," Sprouse said. "It's not unusual to see four, five, 6,000 people at the store openings. So, that's what we're gearing up for."
It will be a crowd of people for what is going to be a crowd of stores on this currently empty property, and with three powerhouse retailers opening their doors in one location, leaders say that opens doors for even more.
"We're hoping that this will be the domino of several others that will follow the rest of the year," said Augusta Canal Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse. "Opportunities for people not only locally but for people within a several hundred mile radius of Augusta."
Speaking of location, the new outdoors store will have the Augusta Canal right in its backyard. At the meeting, city leaders mentioned partnering with the canal so customers can try out products from the store right on the canal.