AUGUSTA MALL
Bobby Jones Expressway / Interstate 520 and Wrightsboro Road
Augusta, Georgia

Maryland's Rouse Company built its second Georgia shopping mall in the western environ's of The Garden City. It followed Greater Atlanta's PERIMETER MALL, which had been dedicated by Rouse in August 1971.

AUGUSTA MALL was developed on an 80 acre tract, located 5.9 miles west of Augusta's center city. The site was adjacent to the State Route 232 expressway, with the section running by the mall site having opened to traffic in 1974. SR 232 was redesignated as Interstate 520 in 1977.

Planning was underway for AUGUSTA MALL by 1972, but construction was delayed by the economic recession of the mid-1970s. By 1976, work was underway on the fully-enclosed, 2-level complex. Its official grand opening took place August 3, 1978.

Starting out as a 500,000 square foot complex of one hundred and seven stores and services, AUGUSTA MALL was originally anchored by a 2-level (152,500 square foot), Atlanta-based Rich's and 2-level (156,000 square foot), Atlanta-based Davison's. Charter tenants in the 25 million dollar complex included Frisco Fashions, Ford Shoes, Pearle Optical and Bailey, Banks & Biddle Jewelers.

Rival developer Edward J. DeBartolo had opened his REGENCY MALL just a week before business began at AUGUSTA MALL. The REGENCY property {2.9 miles southeast, in Augusta} was over 300,000 square feet larger than the original AUGUSTA MALL. For a time, REGENCY had a competitive edge.

Anchor store rebrandings commenced at AUGUSTA MALL in February 1985, when the Davison's store was rebranded as a Davison's-Macy's. On November 17, 1985, said store became a full-fledged Macy's.

The first of many expansions at AUGUSTA MALL was completed in 1987, with the addition of a 2-level (139,000 square foot) J.C. Penney.  This was followed by a more ambitious enlargement 3 years later.

A 32 million dollar construction project added a 2-level (157,000 square foot) Sears, thirty-nine inline stores and 14-bay The Park Food Court. The interior of the existing mall was also given a face lift. When the addition was completed in 1990, AUGUSTA MALL encompassed 1,066,000 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and thirty stores and services.

Augusta's sibling centers had coexisted for some years, but, by the early 1990s, AUGUSTA MALL had gained prominence, leaving the REGENCY property in a state of decline. AUGUSTA MALL continued to renovate and expand while REGENCY MALL stayed the same, becoming more and more dated and obsolete.

A third enlargement of AUGUSTA MALL consisted of the addition of a 2-level (160,800 square foot), Augusta-based J.B. White. The 14 million dollar store opened March 11, 1998. It was to sport the White's nameplate for less than a year. On February 19, 1999, it re-opened as a Dillard's.

Other nameplate changes followed. Macy's closed their AUGUSTA MALL store in March 2002. On February 2, 2003, Rich's morphed into Rich's-Macy's. The lower level of the old Davison's / Macy's re-opened, as a Rich's-Macy's Furniture Showroom, in the fall of 2003. The upper level of the store remained vacant.

The Rich's-Macy's branding disappeared when the AUGUSTA MALL stores were rebranded as Macy's operations, on March 6, 2005. The Macy's Furniture Showroom was shuttered in 2006, in anticipation of a fourth renovation and expansion of the shopping hub.

The upper level of the vacant Davison's / Macy's was demolished in late 2006, with the existing lower level being renovated into a (60,000 square foot) Dick's Sporting Goods. A 180,000 square foot "lifestyle component" was built on top of the Dick's store.

Officially known as The Promenade, it was dedicated November 8, 2007. Tenants included Williams-Sonoma, Sephora, The Buckle and P.F. Chang's China Bistro. AUGUSTA MALL now spanned 1,388,800 leasable square feet and contained one hundred and sixty-two stores and services.

Chicago-based General Growth Properties acquired the assets of The Rouse Company in November 2004 and became the new owner of AUGUSTA MALL.

Sources:

The Augusta Chronicle
"Augusta Mall" article on Wikipedia
"Regency Mall" article on Wikipedia
www.augustamall.com
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)