Planning, Promoting, and implementing
the tomorrow of downtown Augusta, Georgia

View Gallery Westobou River Crossing & Higher Education/Civic District

Westobou Crossing is the only Master Plan District that spans the Savannah River, includes specific projects in North Augusta and Augusta and takes advantage of on-going collaboration of both the public and private sectors. This will be a huge urban riverfront endeavor working together in a joint development along this span of the Savannah River to realize exciting recreation, retail and entertainment destinations.

The Higher Education/Civic District includes several city facilities including the Municipal Building and the Augusta Museum of History. With open land and buildings that could easily be retrofitted to educational facilities, this area could easily become a cornerstone for additional higher education capacity downtown. Being strategically located along the Gordon Highway, there is excellent access to the high technology centers of the Savannah River Site, Fort Gordon, the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences Swamp & Nature Park, and Augusta University.

Already, the old Academy of Richmond County on Telfair Street has been turned into The Clubhou.se, a space for entrepreneurs, programmers, software designers and engineers who need a tech incubator. Even the $22 million Miller Theater renovation/rehabilitation project is including a 35,000 square foot space on Broad Street in the old Cullum's Building to house a music institute with classrooms.

MARKET CREATION PROJECT: WESTOBOU CROSSING
The Big Idea: Tie Augusta and North Augusta communities together with a waterfront development that spans the Savannah River and becomes a destination attraction for both cities.
Cost: $90 million private funds, $25 million public funds (in 2009 dollars).
Time: 20 years
Details: By tying the North Augusta and Augusta communities together with new development that literally spans the Savannah River, a destination attraction for both cities could be created. The highlight of the development would be a pedestrian/bike bridge, spanning the Savannah River and wide enough to host on-going activities and events. In North Augusta, the abandoned and historic Hamburg area would be remade into an inviting, recreationally-themed waterfront community of high density, mixed-uses including housing (200 units), restaurants, retail, a boat dock and fishing venue on the brick pond. The Augusta anchor includes the existing marina and Riverwalk, as well as proposed new development on the Pension Property site and in the adjoining former Coca-Cola bottling plant to the east.

In Augusta, the Pension Property Fund site is available for a large mixed-use development. Along with this property comes an historic railroad warehouse, located along Reynolds Street, that could be preserved, restored and reused.

To jump start this project, the City of North Augusta acquired acreage between the 5th Street Bridge and U.S. Route #1 and developed a new intersection for ease in traffic flow. The ribbon-cutting for this new interchange occurred on 11/16/2009.
Progress: The 5th Street Bridge repair and restoration, part of the Region 7 Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST), is under design.
HIGHER EDUCATION/CIVIC DISTRICT
The Big Idea: Promote health/science technology in downtown Augusta
Details: This downtown area includes many educational facilities and is the civic hub for Augusta. The Municipal Building, James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium are situated here as is the Augusta Museum of History and the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art.

The James Brown Arena is an important public facility. This is an aging structure, and plans are currently ongoing that will decide whether to potentially reconstruct or relocate this facility.

While investigating ownership and possible buildings for the higher education district, there were discussion regarding possible uses for the Old Medical College and the Academy of Richmond County with the Trustees of Richmond County. The Trustees are required to use these buildings for educational activities, and are prepared to work with prospective entities to make this happen. The Committee took a trip to Greenville, South Carolina in 2010 for the purpose of assessing the higher education initiative which produced University Center and the applicability of this model to the Augusta Higher Education District. Other academic models also being investigated include the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) model and the Columbus State University model.
Progress: The Municipal Building has undergone a complete renovation and is now open.