New social house, art gallery, park to drive Valdosta economy forward

New amphitheater opens soon
Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 11:16:38-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Three projects are in the works to bring more business to the downtown Valdosta area. From a new amphitheater to a family friendly social house, entrepreneurs and city leaders are hoping to revamp what the Azalea City has to offer for decades to come.

Tiffany Bentley is working on a building right across the street from the historical courthouse which is under renovation. It’s called “Downtown Social.”

“There’s just really not a lot to do in Valdosta,” Bentley said. “I think this is going to bring a lot more.” The project features two floors of fun. The 7,200 square-foot space is housed in a building Bentley said has been here over a century. They’re planning boutique bowling, bars and virtual golfing.

“It’s my husband and I,” Bentley explained. “It’s self-funded. It’s been quite the task.” She said inflation has been one of the factors impacting financial decisions. “Obviously, costs of everything have gone up. Our bids for construction came in a little bit higher once the completion was done.”

She said the project is costing around $1.2 million. The business is expected to open this fall and create 20 jobs.

About a block away, a new venture called “Curate” recently opened. Jessica Ganas owns the new storefront that she’s converted into a collective space of artists and vintage vendors.

“It just brings something with life and energy and community development into this space in such a great area,” Ganas explained.

She is working in an area that’s seen a lot of change over the years.

“I just have a strong history with downtown,” Ganas said. “I want to see it do well.”

Just a few blocks to the east, downtown developers are working to make that idea happen.

Brandie Dame is Downtown Valdosta’s Main Street Director. We met next to Unity Park at the corner of Lee Street and Central Avenue. Construction crews are working to build an amphitheater and splash pad inside a new park.

“Taking a blight area that was an eyesore and turning it into something this magnificent is just a wonderful thing for our economy,” Dame said.

The project is coming in at $2.9 million. Once complete, Dame said it’ll be another attraction for visitors in the downtown area, complimenting the new businesses in the works just blocks away.

The amphitheater has a grand opening planned for August 20th.