"This development will bring new energy to some of Augusta's most beautiful and historic locations. I'm very proud that our team was able to help bring the vision to life."
Two years from today, downtown Augusta's Riverwalk will look very different-- shoppers will wind their way in and out of boutiques, the sounds and aromas of food cooking and people dining will fill the air, office employees will kick off meetings while apartment residents kick off their shoes. Years of work and planning have finally come together, and plans for the renovation of the old train depot building have been unveiled. Augusta officials are calling this development a "bookend"-- a $100 million innovation center (the Georgia Cyber Center) at one end, and another nearly $100 million live-work-play development on the other. "This represents the largest private investment in downtown since the 80's and it brings new residential development back into downtown. The depot restoration- converting that into Augusta's version of Ponce City Market in Atlanta, will bring such a cool vibe to downtown and it also encourages more development in the area," says Georgia Power's Matt Forshee. "Investors have already started buying adjacent or nearby properties to add to the growth. It's a really exciting time and I'm proud we were able to help our partners in this work." As Community Development Manager, Matt supports economic development projects for Georgia Power in the eastern region of the state.
Our Georgia Power Community and Economic Development team was recognized in these efforts thanks to the work of engineer Paul Schneider, whose rendering of the proposed development played a major role in allowing investors and city officials to visualize what was possible for this project. The development, called Riverfront at the Depot, will bring 100,000 square feet of office space, 140 upscale apartments, 35,000 square feet of new retail space, and two parking decks with nearly 850 spaces to the long-vacant, city-owned property along the Savannah River at the east end of Riverwalk Augusta.
We wanted to learn more about Paul's video, and how these types of visualizations can help influence decision makers, so we sat down for a little Q&A. Check out the video at the end of this post.
How do you guys support prospects who are looking at locating or expanding in Georgia?
We like to meet with the prospects to find out what they need. For this one, we met with Margaret Woodward with the Augusta Downtown Development Authority and Matt, our Georgia Power rep, and flew the site with a drone to capture how it looks today. That footage allowed us to see what it could look like. The buildings were designed by an architect, so I was able to incorporate them into the rendering. Margaret wanted to make sure the space was family friendly, so I added the fountains and the amphitheater. Everyone likes to be around the water, so making that feel more connected was important. I think people will really enjoy that.
Why do you think these renderings are so important in a presentation?
Most people have a hard time seeing a 2D image and feeling or experiencing what it could be like. A 3D model lets you literally move through the space and have a better feeling of how it will be in real life. Using drones is key for this. When I was making the 3D model I could go back and reference what the area looked like so the rendering turned out to be more accurate.
What was the team looking for with the Augusta project and how did you bring their vision to life?
The team working on this had a clear vision for what they want the Riverwalk to be, so it was pretty easy to help bring it to life. We added an outdoor movie projection area and outdoor eating areas during the project. They really knew what feeling they want their visitors to have, and that made it really fun to create this visual for them.
How does it feel when you get the news that one of your videos has played a part in a big win like this?
Awesome. That's always the goal. We want to see these communities grow. When we get news like this, everyone wins. Even though some of our work is done behind the scenes, it's really satisfying to know it has a positive impact in our communities. That's why we do what we do.