News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 12, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Augusta ranks in the top 5 for total construction in the southeast. The city rounds out a list of places like Atlanta, Miami, and Orlando.
"It's fantastic. It's much better than being in Atlanta," said Sherwin Loudermilk.
Loudermilk is an Atlanta developer who is now taking up shop in Augusta. He's working on converting the old White's building into posh living spaces.
"This is the outside world looking in on us and seeing what's going on in Augusta, and I just would encourage people to stand up and take notice because the rest of the nation definitely is," said Augusta mayor Deke Copenhaver.
The city placed in the top 5 metropolitan areas for total construction projects in the southeast. It rounds out a list of cities like Atlanta, Miami, and Charlotte.
"You can't buy advertising like that," said Walter Sprouse with the Downtown Development Authority. But talk about the investments...half a billion dollars in D.O.T. projects, another half a billion for the National Security Agency at Fort Gordon, and $3.2 billion for the MOX facility in Aiken. "The chapter of the book is now turning and it's turning for the better. So I think that's one of the reasons we're so excited about Augusta."
Augusta saw the largest percentage of growth out of all the top 10 cities listed, and it's making way for more growth in the heart of downtown Augusta.
"I think this is going to turn into the destination spot for residences. I've seen pictures and video of the way downtown Augusta was many years ago, and I hope this turns into what it was back in the day," said Loudermilk.
12 of 51 units are already under contract at the White's building. The going rate is $99,000 to $300,000. And the developer says he's just getting started. "We're looking at a few other places...yes," said Loudermilk.
The White's building is expected to open this April. Augusta saw a 379 percent growth in construction from 2006 to 2007. No other city in the top 10 was close.