AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – As realty companies chart expected growth in and around Augusta, two popular buildings could soon be revitalized.
There are talks are already in the works for new businesses at the Lamar and Marion buildings as well as the parking lot of the Marion Building.
Back in 1913, when Broad Street was on a dirt road, construction started on the Lamar Building and it was the tallest structure in Augusta at that time. From then until now it has changed with the times and a lot could be in store for its future.
Sieglinde Boykin owns Coffee Break. She opened the restaurant with her daughter 16 years ago.
“We had a full service café here,” she said.
Coffee and sandwiches kept a lot of professionals nourished for breakfast and lunch at Coffee Break, which is located at the bottom of the Lamar Building. The building, which is near the corner of 8th and Broad on the 700 block is empty. The workers and their appetites once filled by the coffee shop are now gone.
“What happened is they sold the building and the new owner does not want us here,” Boykin explained.
All that’s left is this coffee shop. But the owner said she will be gone in a week.
“It’s very crushing, but you have to face reality. The new building owner doesn’t want us here and if we’re not wanted here, we don’t want to be here,” she explained.
The new investors aren’t being named yet. But Blanchard and Calhoun Vice President and Director of Commercial Real Estate, Davis Beman, told NewsChannel 6 the entire Lamar Building was sold in December 2016. Next door is the Marion Building. Beman said it is currently under contract and being studied along with its parking lot. The two buildings are a few of Augusta’s tallest and as downtown gets redeveloped to meet the growth of nearly five thousand people, Beaman said it could become mixed use office space, residential or hospitality space. The buildings could both include higher end restaurants and higher end retail.
“I think it’s great news. My personal problem is that I’ve been waiting for that. [I’ve been] Working towards that for all of these years. We have been through very bad times and good times. Now we are starting to see things happen, we are forced out,” she explained.
It’s an empty spot now, but there used to be a TV sitting up at the top of the restaurant. That’s where Boykin first saw the September 11th terrorist attacks. She opened Coffee Break one month before that happened.
“Our business has reduced 50 percent. It’s amazing to me that I’m still existing,” she explained.
Boykin must be completely out of the coffee shop by March 15.
Beman added Blanchard and Calhoun will know more about the future of these buildings in a month or two.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps