I.M. Pei would be proud of a jazz cafe

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When word began to spread last week that there are plans to turn the former Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce building on Broad Street into a jazz cafe/coffee house/art gallery/office area, many people were interested, but also a bit confused.
The unique I.M. Pei-designed building in the middle of Broad Street across from the Ramada Augusta Downtown Hotel has always attracted a lot of attention because of its unusual layout.
It’s hip, trendy and designed like no other building in town.
But those qualities are also part of its downfall.
Being located in the middle of Broad Street makes the structure definitely out of the ordinary, but it also can be inconvenient because it is surrounded by traffic on both sides of the street, a parking pit and a railroad track on Sixth Street.
Since the intersections of Broad and Sixth streets, as well as Broad and Seventh streets, have a decent amount of traffic during the day, the exits and entrances into the parking pit can be somewhat dangerous if people are not obeying the speed limit.
Now, it is definitely a safe building and traffic is manageable, but when WRDW News Channel 12 reported last week that the new building, which is the latest endeavor by the Augusta Regional Collaboration Project, was going to have a “full bar” along with the coffee shop, that could definitely complicate things.
It’s great that Augusta Regional Collaboration Director Matthew Kwatinetz told News 12 that it is the group’s dream to renovate a “rooftop bar” on the former chamber building. However, with a bar comes major responsibilities.
The last thing downtown needs is for anyone to have too much to drink in the new rooftop bar, stumble onto Broad Street and get hit by a passing car.
Downtown also doesn’t need someone to drive drunk out of those parking pits.
Now, can that happen in any parking pit in the downtown area? Of course, it can.
But when you have a bar right in the middle of the street and a parking pit that will be primarily dedicated to that location, the management of this proposed rooftop bar will need to closely monitor folks’ alcohol intake.
Otherwise, the results could be deadly.