Regency Mall could be breaking into showbiz

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
News 12 at 11

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's been sitting there for decades rusting and waiting, but the Regency Mall property may have just the right look to break into showbiz.

There's been a lot of talk over the years, but no action when it comes to redeveloping Regency Mall. We've heard everything from a city park to a new arena. Now there's a new idea in the mix with Augusta's film business.

It's 80 acres of an abandoned Regency Mall just waiting to be redeveloped.

"No one can argue that this wouldn't be a benefit to the community if it was redeveloped properly with something that creates jobs and that doesn't require government subsidies directly for its regular operation," Brad Owens said.

Brad Owens is the director of the Augusta Film Office. He says he has the perfect plan for the space.

"It's cement and metal beams," Owens said. "It's literally a blank canvas, which is exactly what the movie industry needs."

Owens says movie scouts like what they see in Augusta, but the city is missing one thing. It's something he says will put us in competition with other cities.

"Our long-term plan has always been to see studio space developed somewhere because that's the final piece," Owens said.

Owens says Regency Mall is a no brainier. He says it's not just because of the building size, but also because of its central location.

"What you need for a studio is basically big box warehouses with nice offices in it," Owens said. "So what we would have to do here is a lot less work than anything else to be redeveloped here."

It's a plan he's trying to help launch.

"I'm hoping that I can help put all the pieces together for the decision makers so that we'll see this one day, instead mall entrance over there, you'll see studio entrance."

It's a vision Owens says the property owners like too. He's been in direct contact with them and the property manager on several occasions and says they've been very open to the idea of movie studio space.