A local shopping center on Washington Road changed hands recently after a $20 million purchase by an Atlanta based company. It’s near Augusta National Golf Club and many customers want to know the connection and the fate of the businesses.
The sale happened nearly three months ago and now people want to know where are some of their favorite places going to end up; Stein Mart, Hooters and Carrabba’s. But what we can tell you is where some of your locally owned businesses hope they end up.
Sherman & Hemstreet President Joe Edge has an idea.
“Do I believe that, at some point, all of those tenants will be gone? I do,” he told us.
Washington Square Shopping Center could be no more. Back in January new owners purchased two parcels, which include Stein Mart and the out parcels. Edge, who works with commercial property in the CSRA all the time, said shoppers can expect big changes to some of their favorite restaurants and stores.
“Whether or not their leases are non-renewed or the landlord buys them out of the lease. I would imagine that all of that will be vacant at some point,” he explained.
Edge’s words are the exact opposite of what owners now leasing in the shopping plaza want to hear.
Fast Signs Owner Melvin La Pan is one of them.
“I will stay here as long as I can.”
La Pan added, he just expanded and his lease ends in a few years. We uncovered that date is May 2022. Juicy Crab’s expiration date appears to be at the end of 2026. The Cigar shop and State Farm both have leases that end this year.
Anthony Thuan, a State Farm Agent in the plaza, said he learned his fate back in January when the transaction happened.
“If I’m required to leave early or when my lease is up them I’m looking at still trying to stay in the area,” he said. “I have connections to the community here in Augusta and probably looking to stay on Washington Road.”
Big box stores such as Hooters stayed quiet on the topic. But NewsChannel 6 discovered a connection between the new owner – WSQ LLC and Augusta National Golf Club. Both Secretary of State documents listing the Augusta National’s Brookside West apartments and the recent shopping center sale are registered with the same lawyer, Bret Block out of Atlanta. Block also received the deeds to the new land that houses Stein Mart.
“I don’t think that this is the last property that we will see sell in that area for more money that it’s probably worth,” Edge added.
The process will take some time. One reason for that is because the businesses in Washington Square Shopping Center all have different leases and different lease end dates. We will stay on top of the story to see what happens next.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps