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, especially in the cyber arena. Being strategically located along the Gordon Highway, there is excellent access to the high technology centers of Fort Gordon, Augusta University and the Savannah River Site.
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. In addition, 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. In 2017, a new Augusta Innovation Zone is being planned for the corner of 8th and Broad Streets.
In North Augusta, the abandoned and historic Hamburg area could 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. The Pension Property 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.
As part of the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) of 2012, the 5th Street Bridge redevelopment is included in Band 3 for actual construction/redevelopment to begin in 2020. Starting in 2017, the City of Augusta hired a contractor to evaluate the bridge structure and traffic patterns and to make recommendations including ways to connect to the North Augusta Greeneway across this bridge. This timing allows for plan development and contractor bids in time for release of funds for Band 3.
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.
Founded in 2012, the Clubhou.se, relocated to the Academy of Richmond County in 2014 for additional space. This innovative enterprise provides classes and work space for entrepreneurial technology companies.