UPDATE: Local businesses look forward to Augusta Innovation Zone plans

Published: Feb. 17, 2017 at 2:14 PM EST
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Sunday, March 5, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Businesses are looking forward to what Augusta Innovation Zone has planned to bring to the downtown area.

Humanitree house is all about diversity and creativity, but that is not exactly what you see across the street.

Denise Tucker owns Humanitree House with her husband, and she said they are excited to see what the Innovation Zone will do with the abandoned Woolworths building.

"You know, Augusta is a city. We are the second largest city in Georgia, and our downtown should definitely be thriving a lot more than it is," Tucker said. "It's going to bring more traffic, more business, more life to downtown Augusta."

George Claussen with Augusta Innovation Zone said they plan to open a bar with a different view.

"The rooftop on top of the Innovation Zone is that you're looking right at the SunTrust building, and you're looking right at the Lamar building, and you're actually not too high up, but you actually get this big city feel from the roof," Claussen said.

Claussen said if the permitting and approval goes the area on top of the building will not be like any other rooftop hang out in Augusta.

"The concept of the rooftop bar and area is going to be kind of an innovation food court is what we want to be," Claussen said.

Claussen said they don't want to release rendering of the bar until it is approved, but it's been done in other cities.

"If we can come in and really do something that is very innovative very modern, we can really set the tone for the other companies and what not that are coming into Augusta," Claussen said.

Tucker said the more innovative the better.

"It brings a variety of people down and that brings more diversity, and diversity is definitely what this place is about so why would we not want that," Tucker said.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The historic Woolworth building is going to be transformed into an innovation zone in the heart of Augusta's downtown.

Augusta Innovation Zone held an information meeting Thursday night and discussed timelines and released images of what the inside of work spaces and presentation areas will look like.

Co-Founder of MealViewer, Tommy Wafford, is one of the five Augusta Innovation Zone action leaders and he said they have big plans for the building.

"The biggest thing for us is we got to change the culture. It has to be a culture of collaboration. It has to be fun, coming to work should be fun, especially if it's something you love," Wafford said.

Wafford and the rest of the innovation zone team is determined to make it fun. The meeting revealed pictures of what future businesses and entrepreneurs could look forward to working at if they sign up for a space.

The historic Woolworth building has been empty for 25 years, but Wafford said it will soon receive a big facelift that people can enjoy as their work environment.

"What we want is a space where people can come, and really the upside is I get to do life with my friends," Wafford said. "We want live, work and play right. You want to work where you live and live where you work and all that be fun so that is what we are hoping to accomplish there."

People seemed to like what they saw.

"It's cool and I think that's what a lot of people want out of a work place. You know, people don't want to be in a little box. They want to be open and free and be able to see each other and interact with each others even if they aren't doing the same exact job," local graphic designer, Jason Craig said.

Jason Craig is a graphic designer who's worked in similar spaces in other cities, but he said now having a place like Augusta Innovation Zone would make his work life a lot easier.

"Well I do have a home office and then I rent another space. I have three desks right now so to be able to consolidate those would be fantastic," Craig said.

Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The Augusta Innovation Zone is holding an informational meeting for business owners, investors, local officials and anyone else interested.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 2 at 7 p.m. at 1106 Broad Street.

The August Innovation Zone will talk about the project's timeline, ideas, and what you can expect.

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