AUGUSTA, Ga. – If you’ve walked down Broad Street lately you might have noticed a few new spots. Despite the pandemic restaurants, businesses, and apartments have continued popping up all over Augusta within the last year, breathing new life into downtown.
The challenges of last year were only a road bump for many of these new businesses and development projects. And by the time we reach the end of this pandemic downtown might be more vibrant than ever.
Right beside the Augusta Common, you’ll find Broad Street Bullie’s Grill.
“We’re very surprised that so many people came out amid the pandemic,” said Antoine Williamson, owner of Broad Street Bullie’s.
Antoine’s restaurant is one of at least seven new businesses downtown. He was supposed to open in early 2020.
“We got delayed by a year just because when we were about to open COVID really hit hard,” said Williamson.
But since their December opening customers haven’t stopped flowing in. And he doesn’t expect it to slow down any time soon.
“Everybody just waiting for the city just to keep growing. And we know we’re looking forward to it, we’re hearing about a lot of apartments coming downtown and or businesses and just more living space and that’d be great for business,” he said.
And more living space is coming. Just today owners cut the ribbon on the Ellis Street apartments. The historic building had been vacant for more than 50 years now it’ll be home to 12 units.
“It never was a residence before, but now, now it’s going to be 12, and it’s a great solution for using a vacant historic building,” said Eric Montgomery, executive director of Historic Augusta.
“I think you’ll see some more cranes and dumpsters on Broad Street with the new construction,” said Margaret Woodard, executive director of Downtown Development Authority.
At least five other residential and mixed-use developments are in the works too. Including the Millhouse Station apartments on 11th street. And about 200 new units coming across from the Board of Education. And a 12th Street project for residential and retail space.
“I think it tells the story that downtown Augusta is a great place to open a business,” she said.
There’s also at least one more restaurant on its way downtown Taco Cat going in right across from Pineapple Ink Tavern. And a couple more stores. Developers are buying old or historic properties and flipping them into residential and mixed-use developments.
Those apartments at Ellis Street range from $950 and up. And they still have some units available. The Millhouse Station Apartments are expected to open this summer.