During Tuesday's work session, City Administrator Fred Russell talked about a development in the works that would bring 400 jobs downtown. Russell didn't give many details about the jobs, but other officials have talked about a hotel being constructed in downtown Augusta.
There is already a lot of buzz about these jobs. Business owners are looking forward to hearing an announcement sometime soon.
Russell won't talk about the details, but he says there is something in the works that could bring hundreds of jobs to downtown Augusta.
"I feel pretty comfortable at the moment that we have a good project going. But you know, it's like smoke and mirrors, sometimes they disappear as fast they come on the horizon," he says.
And on Tuesday night, Matthew Kwatinetz also talked about the possibility of more jobs in the downtown area.
"We're trying to retain a business from Richmond County, to stay in Richmond County and move downtown. And that might involve as many as 400 jobs moving into the downtown area," Kwatinetz says.
Russell and Kwatinetz wouldn't disclose the company's name, but they say they are in the vetting process right now. Downtown Development Authority Director Margaret Woodard is also hinting at more jobs for downtown Augusta.
"You all are aware that for a couple of years we've been working on a hotel site at the commons. That's getting closer and closer," she says.
If a new hotel is built downtown, and if the 400 jobs move there as well, business owners say it would be great for the area's image.
"It would show that someone feels that downtown is safe. It would show that people are willing and wanting to come downtown, which would be a win-win for everybody," Downtown Business Owner Mike Walraven says.
Even though this would be good news for downtown Augusta, the business owners say they have no idea where these jobs would be located.
"They have the mills. We've been hearing a lot of talk about a project at the mills, associated with GRU, but a gentlemen spoke last night and he stated that the mills were also big enough to house something else," Walraven says.
City officials say that we could know which company is moving to downtown Augusta sometime in the next 60 days. As for a new hotel in downtown Augusta, an announcement is expected very soon.
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