The owner of Riverfront BBQ has nearly completed a renovation of a new patio and outdoor space downtown that he says he hopes will bring a more lively atmosphere at night.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Standing inside the covered building at the corner of Front Street and Broad Avenue, Dale Saunders gets a little nostalgic, remembering the times when he bought tires from a former business that once occupied the space.
Fast forward a few decades and Saunders, the owner of Riverfront Bar-B-Q, is transforming the space into the a place he hopes will be unique enough to draw people downtown for food, fun and music.
"We're going to have an open patio, an oyster bar, some cornhole games ... just a fun place for people to hangout and have fun," Saunders said. "We want to do something different than anything Albany has. And we've had so many people already come in and say, 'Hey we're going to enjoy this, this is kind of like New Orleans.'"
Saunders and his workers have been working over the last few weeks to get the area transformed from a dilapidated former garage to a venue he hopes will bring people in.
Saunders believes the area will be ready for his May 17 grand opening.
"We're in the process right now of fixing it and repainting the building," Saunders said. "We've worked it out so that you can sit out under the umbrellas or you can come inside and sit and enjoy yourself. It's going to be neat."
Downtown Manager and Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority CEO Aaron Blair said what Saunders and property owner Bob Brooks have done is the ideal when it comes to downtown reinvestment.
"It's the most important thing that we can do," Blair said. "Our primary job is to promote private development and investment as much as we can."
Blair said that ADICA has chipped in about $10,000 through its facade grant program to aid Saunders and Brooks in their efforts, but he estimates the total transformation cost that will be funded privately could approach nearly $75,000.
"They're doing a lot of good work on those buildings and we hope it's something that is popular and catches on," Blair said.