News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, May 6, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga.---It was the second project of its kind in downtown Augusta, but plans for high-end condo living at the old J.B. White's building fell victim to the recession. Construction is now back on track.
We got an exclusive look at plans for what will be a $5 million renovation.
"Downtown used to be the place to be," said Rosa Bigham, who has lived in Augusta for 84 years.
The city is hoping to get back on track by finishing a major renovation of the White's building on Broad Street. The renovation fell victim to the recession more than a year ago.
"I believe it was in a tough spot," said new construction manager Ashley Alford. "But we are here to salvage it and make it good."
The plan is to finish a total 34 additional units on the 3rd and 4th floor. The Downtown Development Authority would ideally like to see the adjoining building be used as a parking deck that residents could access using the crosswalk.
"We'll just keep our fingers crossed," said Margaret Woodard who is director of the DDA.
Meanwhile, new lighting structures are popping up downtown. They come at a cost of $2.7 million.
"It is worth every bit of it," said Woodard who says stimulus funds and SPLOST money will cover the project. "When there is light...bad things don't tend to happen there."
The only other challenge is to fill vacant retail space in the building. Rosa says one thing is certain.
"If JB Whites opens back up," said Rosa. "I will be their first customer."
The lighting project is on schedule to finish in September. Alford says he expects to get permits as early as next week. He predicts the renovation could be complete before the end of the year.
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