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Abandoned Regency Mall in Augusta, Georgia

Petar Djajkovski

Regency Mall was the first shopping mall opened in Augusta, with just a week’s head start on Augusta Mall. However, the head start didn’t help Regency Mall much or at all. Located at 170 Gordon Highway in South Augusta, it had a significantly less advantageous position than the Augusta Mall, which was located in West Augusta.

The city of Augusta is divided into five parts: East, West, North, South, and Central Augusta. Each part of the city had differing income levels, back in 1978 when the mall was opened. The south side had moderate income compared to the East, which had a lower one. The West and Central sections received the highest income in the city.

Even with this consideration, the company that researched demographics for Regency Mall was confident that it would succeed in its location. They were counting mostly on the South Augusta citizens, but also on the Central and Western population that would cross over to the south side.

Regency Malls Marquee Sign on Deans Bridge Rd.

Regency Malls Marquee Sign on Deans Bridge Rd.

Justifying the construction this way, they started building it only to find out what a big mistake was made after it was opened. The initial anchors and opening stores did not match the level of income that was expected from the customers.

 

Regency Mall from the outside. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

Regency Mall from the outside. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

The original plan was to build the mall inside a larger complex named “Regency Square.” It would be a great modern settlement with condominiums and hotels, a shopping plaza, and a big green market, etc. Very soon this idea was abandoned, and all that remained of it was the “shopping plaza” that destined to be a shopping mall.

Abandoned food corner. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

Abandoned food corner. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

Construction began in 1976 and right off the bat, three anchor stores were announced: Montgomery Ward, Belk, and J.B. White. The building was configured to take the shape of the letter Y.

Abandoned mall entrance no.1.  Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0′

Abandoned mall entrance no.1.  Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0′

The three wings of the mall met at a center court 28,000 square feet (2,600 square meters) large with a fountain in the middle. On its edges stood great 45-foot (14-meter) pillars. As well as a small clock tower 28 feet (9 meters) long. The total space Regency Mall occupied when opened was enough to give it the title of the largest shopping mall in all of Georgia.

Regency Mall.  Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC BY 2.0

Regency Mall.  Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC BY 2.0

Its grand opening happened on the 27th of July, 1978 with more than half of its stores ready for customers. Many of the smaller stores followed and were ready for business in the first couple of weeks after opening. However, it took a whole year for the third and final anchor, Belk, to complete their great Regency Mall store.

Abandoned storage room inside the mall. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

Abandoned storage room inside the mall. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

Regency Mall had a difficult period in the 1990s. Even though the mall was not making much profit, barely over the proficient line, the owners thought that a wise investment might flip things around.

Empty hallways. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

Empty hallways. Author: Mike Kalasnik – CC-BY 2.0

It was a great 32 million dollar renovation and expansion. An investment that was mostly centered around the new anchor. Sadly, they didn’t include the exterior of the mall in the renovation plans. And Regency Mall still looked outdated and dark compared to the new malls that were popping up all over the state of Georgia. This was the beginning of the end.

The Belk building, seen from the lower level. The darkly smoked mirror-glass, the white-painted bricks, and the building’s exterior configuration are classic 1970s design cues – Author: Augustawiki – CC BY-SA 3.0

The Belk building, seen from the lower level. The darkly smoked mirror-glass, the white-painted bricks, and the building’s exterior configuration are classic 1970s design cues – Author: Augustawiki – CC BY-SA 3.0

The end came in the early 2000s. Montgomery Ward, the biggest anchor of the Regency Mall, announced the closure of all stores by 2001. Management of the mall decided not to close the mall yet. A few stores were left working. Some new stores were opening, but they did not change much and continued to bring very little profit.