After 18 years of limbo, clock is ticking for Augusta’s Regency Mall

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 7:57 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Regency Mall has 50 acres and has been empty for two decades. The debate over what to do with the old Regency Mall has been a stop and start project ever since. Now some commissioners say they have a new plan to get rid of this and other large empty properties around town.

It’s big, it’s empty, and it’s blighted. What’s left of Regency Mall has plagued South Augusta’s growth for almost 20 years. Now leaders are looking at the new blight ordinance to do something about it.

“It’s really hindering us it’s an eyesore for one thing,” said Troy Harris, owner of Belly Kitchen.

The fall of Regency Mall took much of south Augusta’s life with it.

“It was really good, it gave us something to do. Of course, I was younger then, but that’s what we had when we were coming up,” said Harris.

Troy Harris is the owner of Belly Kitchen. He thinks something new at the old mall site would do the area and his restaurant some good.

“Anything. Anything. It really doesn’t matter just get it up and running and do something with it, you know,” he said.

That’s what leaders want to see too. Along with an apartment building in South Augusta and a old hotel on Washington Road, Regency Mall is one of several properties awaiting blight inspection. 310 are already awaiting demolition.

“The owner of Regency Mall has held this city hostage for long enough,” said Jordan Johnson, Augusta commissioner for District 1.

The mall is being targeted by the city’s new blight ordinance. The ordinance gives property owners 60 days to clean up a property or they could be charged seven times the normal amount in taxes. If the taxes aren’t paid eventually the city can take ownership.

“That property is a property that we have a great potential to develop. And right now we’re just in limbo,” said Johnson.

Limbo for 18 years, but now the clock is ticking for Regency.

“We have opportunity right now to transform our community in a way that we’ve never transformed them before,” said Johnson.

The goal of the ordinance is also to speed up demolition if needed. So leaders hope in the near future you might see changes here at Regency.

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