BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WTXL) - A city's downtown area is typically full of life with shops and restaurants, and Bainbridge officials hope more of those will be coming to their city.
Walking through downtown Bainbridge, you'll see shops, but also empty storefronts with "for sale" signs in them. The newest shop to be put on the market is the Rich's Building, though it'll need some TLC before it can be useable. The paint is flaking, and there isn't much of a floor.
"We were able to tear out a lot of the rotten wood and flooring. It looks pretty rough right now, but it's got lots of potential for a future investor or developer," said Amanda Glover, Executive Director of Downtown Development Authority in Bainbridge.
Owner of Maiden South, Jessica Allen Polsky, knows how daunting it can be to see an old building in such disarray, but she and a business partner decided to invest in a small storefront.
"It was tiny and not attractive. It had covered up the beautiful ceilings. It had drywall on the wall," said Polsky. "Luckily the owner rehabbed it so there's exposed bricks and you can see the original ceiling."
That was four years ago. Polsky has since expanded Maiden South into the larger building next door. But she's not the only one showing interest in the city.
The growth and investment within downtown Bainbridge has skyrocketed over the last year. In fact, since 2018 started, more than 15 different properties have sold, making this an historic year.
"I attribute it to a number of things. With the announcement of the new industry that's coming, with Taurus USA, it's really gotten lot of local people excited and potential growth, and what that's going to do for us," said Glover. "Also, with the city of Bainbridge being named a 'Rural Tax District.'"
This means that investors or developers could get tax breaks for purchasing the historic buildings, rehabilitating them, and creating jobs. But just the thought of more investors and visitors coming in is enough to excite Polsky.
"I'm thrilled. I'm very proud of our town. I love it, and I love when we have visitors," said Polsky. "I love that they walk around and say that they feel very comfortable here and it's very easy."
At this time, it's estimated that there are about 12 different projects going on downtown, including Diablo's and a brewery.