Updated: Feb 7
By GORDON JACKSON firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan 22, 2021
Gordon Jackson/The Brunswick News
There is a strong belief that having more people downtown would lead to more businesses. That belief is about to be put to the test.
The Leotis building at the corner of Bay and Gloucester streets is undergoing a major renovation that should be completed this summer.
It will feature 32,000 square feet of prime retail and residential space once the work is completed.
Much of the ongoing work is on the upper level where Port City Lofts is under construction. The upper level will offer 12 residential loft units, including one bedroom, two bedroom and studio lofts.
Amenities include keyless entry, a fitness center, on-site laundry, package locker, common area WiFi, art gallery, work/study space and storage units for lease.
Brad Piazza, owner of the building, said it’s been challenging to keep the project on schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is determined to complete it by summer.
“It really hasn’t been easy,” he said. “It has been challenging with the supply train because of COVID.”
Increases in prices for framing wood for the second floor apartments forced Piazza to go to metal frames for the residential units, which he described as affordable luxury with original heart pine floors in perfect condition.
The monthly rent for studio units will run from $750 to the low $800s; one bedroom apartments will rent for about $1,100 a month and two bedroom will rent for between $1,300 and $1,400 a month.
With all the amenities and proximity to the businesses downtown, people working downtown may not even need a car.
“It offers walkable living,” he said.
Working on the renovations in the wintertime has made it easier for crews who have already completed most of the sheetrock work on the second floor. They are preparing to mud the walls and convert the second floor into living units that will be available in several months.
“It does make it easier for the workers,” he said. “The Georgia heat can be pretty oppressive in the summertime.”
Piazza said it wasn’t a race between him and other business owners with similar plans to build residential space on the upper floors for commercial buildings downtown, but he is happy to be the first to announce the near completion of work. He believes downtown Brunswick will be transformed in coming years as more projects are completed and more residents move downtown.
“We wanted to stay on track with this project,” he said. “We didn’t want to give up hope. We want to have an impact on the city and the county.”