AASU Expansion Could Take Years - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports


AASU Expansion Could Take Years

Armstrong Atlantic State University announced major plans yesterday that include expanding into nearby property now occupied by Publix and other businesses. But finishing the project may take a little longer than the university expects. Businesses' leases might hold up the expansion plans.

University officials were under the impression most stores at the shopping plaza would be up by 2007 or 2008. It turns out that some leases may run much longer. While shops are concerned about being forced to relocate, time may be on their side.

"I don't know" is what Cover Nail Salon owner Van Sam said about his business' future. After two months of rumors, Armstrong made public that it is the new landlord of the Publix shopping plaza. And the message is clear to existing shops: start looking for a new home.

By the end of summer, Publix will go dark. And one by one, other businesses will be relocating, but university officials say they are not trying to put anyone out of business. "We try to be good neighbors, but our students are our first priority," said AASU president Tom Jones.

He also says more expansion could be on the way. But first, they need leases to expire so renovations can move forward. "The longest lease is for four more years," he told us.

But is it? Ken and Kandi's BBQ declined to go on camera, but claim their lease runs for ten more years at the plaza. They'll decide their future as they adjust to the changes around them.

Meanwhile, Cover Nail Salon owner Van Sam has four years to find a new home, and hopes his clientele follows. "It's very hard to do that, but maybe we can find someplace where we can lead the clientele to where we move," he said.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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