A new building breathing new life into a historic area of Augusta

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — A four-story apartment complex is coming to Central Avenue at Monte Sano. Contractors demolished the former Silverstein’s Dry Cleaners to make way for the complex. The big question is what will happen to Squeaky’s Tip Top.

The good news is the local preservation ordinance protects Squeaky’s. Augusta is growing, and new development is coming, but the future of the popular tavern is unknown, with the new apartment building moving in.

It seems like almost every Augusta native has a story about Squeaky’s Tip Top.

“There is a lot of history in that area, and in that building particular,” said president of the Summerville Neighborhood Association, Gearld Woods. “You can ask any longtime resident of Augusta, and they will remember going to Squeaky’s.”

Now a brand new four-story apartment complex is coming to a historic area where the building has been abandoned for decades. The preservation services director with Historic Augusta Incorporated says they encourage new development in historic neighborhoods.

“Although Squeaky’s looks very modest,” said Robyn Anderson. “It’s important because it tells the story developmentally, and architecturally for Summerville.”

Anderson told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson being vacant is the worst thing to happen to a building.

“We’ve reached out to the owner before; trying to work with them to see if there was anything we could help with,” explained Anderson. “Like offering up some designs or ideas.”

The president of the Summerville Neighborhood Association says the association board will be interested in what happens to the property in their neighborhood.

“We understand it may not be economic value to restore such a deteriorating building,” said Gerald Woods. “But we would like to be at the table to talk with folks about what’s to be done with it.”

Woods says Squeaky’s was an institution to this community. But he believes it will stall people from moving in the proposed apartment complex at its current state.

“Renovate it, redevelop it, or something,” said Woods. “I think to leave it as it is, is probably not a valuable option.”

If Squeaky’s ever does make it back, it will have a lot of company. The Monte Sano/Central Avenue area is a hotspot for restaurants and retail.

Photojournalist: Will Baker

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