Downtown Augusta dates back to the city’s founding along the banks of the Savannah River in 1736 by James Edward Oglethorpe, who established the grid system still used to this day.

The Augusta Downtown Development Authority was created in 1974 when Richmond County asked the state general assembly to create a statutory authority to manage downtown redevelopment.  The catalyst for the request was the rapid development of suburban shopping centers and office parks in West Augusta and South Augusta, which drew shoppers and working professionals away from Downtown.

The first project undertaken by the DDA in the 70s was the two-level parking deck at James Brown Boulevard and 9th Street, which is currently used by the Richmond County Board of Education.  The DDA also authorized bonds in the early 90s to construct the Discovery Plaza building parking along the riverfront at 7th Street, which is currently used by employees of Unisys and residents of the River Place Condominiums.

Augusta Morning Drone_13

The DDA, which was briefly affiliated with the Main Street America organization in the 1990s, returned to prominence in the early 2000s amid a resurgence in Downtown Augusta commerce.  In 2008, the DDA was instrumental in creating the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative (CADI) to promote beautification efforts in the central business district.

Today, the authority collaborates with downtown residents, business owners, major stakeholders and partner agencies, such as the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau and Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, to advance revitalization through marketing programs, survey and research assistance, public/private partnerships and advocacy.

Downtown Augusta’s outlook is brighter than it has been in decades, as an influx of new investment and a new generation of visitors and residents seek the vitality, culture and walkability that can only be found in urban areas.