Details: On 3/18/1983, The first step toward implementation of the 1982 long-range downtown Master Plan was announced by Bankers First Federal Savings and Loan with the $1 million renovation of 791 and 793 Broad Street, part of the overall plan for the renovation of the entire block that included the YMCA building. Augusta Tomorrow board members were the prominent promoters, investors and developers of this project initially called the Bankers First Project. The project was later named Lafayette Center.
On 11/9/1984, A ceremony for the groundbreaking for Lafayette Center was held. At the groundbreaking, federal HUD funding for this project was presented to the Mayor. This block was considered to be the most deteriorated block of Broad Street when the project was started, and was deemed an important first priority project in the City’s first true master plan developed by the American City Corporation.
On 1/21/1986, Augusta Tomorrow, Inc. held the dedication of the Lafayette Center. Bankers First anchored one end of the block at 10th and Broad Streets and the YMCA building (42,000 sq. ft. for corporate offices and 20,000 sq. ft. for a health club) anchored the other end of the block at McCartan and Broad Streets. In all, 5 historic buildings were totally remodeled including the oldest structure remaining on Broad Street.
When Lafayette visited Augusta in 1825, the city united in an incredible spirit of celebration. The 1986 dedication recalled that memorable event and Augusta’s historic spirit of unity and civic pride.
Lafayette Center was the largest restoration project in the State of Georgia up to that point. The result was a $10 million historic rehabilitation project of 12 historic downtown buildings undertaken by Bankers First, a member of Augusta Tomorrow.
Due to the huge investment that they had made to renovate the Lafayette Center block in downtown Augusta, Bankers First was the recipient of a Best Overall Project award from The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation for its work on the Lafayette Center. As CEO of Bankers First, Osteen accepted the award. This marked the first large project of many in Augusta Tomorrow’s history.
March 18 1983