Construction on a five-story residential and commercial building where the Whatley Building stands could begin as soon as spring 2018.
The Whatley Building, located on College Street, currently houses Seoul BBQ, Prevail Union, Auburn Cru and LocAL Market. The Whatley family will continue to own and manage tenants on the bottom floor as the four stories above grow.
The project has not been through the Planning Commission yet and has not been approved by the city.
Developer Steve Fleming said he instructed his architect early on to design a space that looks like it has been in Auburn for 50 years.
Fleming said he hopes to build a luxury establishment that has the look and feel of Auburn. The condominium would include retail on the bottom floor and six units above. Fleming said there would be two one-bedroom units, two four-bedroom
Fleming said there will be ample parking space for residents and their guests at the rear of the former Tiger Rags building. There are 61 parking spots in that area, and each resident will have two full-time covered parking spaces.
"I am trying to make it fit in," Fleming said.
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He said he is trying his best to ensure that feedback from the city is positive.
Fleming is adding the Whatley Building to his current downtown real estate portfolio, which includes Taco Mama, Tacorita, the old Tiger Rags building and DressUp. He said he has been working on the concept of the building for 2-3 years.
The estate will be 55-feet-wide and 105-feet-deep. Fleming said they would like to start construction in late spring and the project is an estimated yearlong build.
"I love downtown Auburn," Fleming said. "I want to retire in downtown Auburn. I'm not building this as an investment; I'm building this as my retirement personal residence. I will just have four floors of other people living with me."
Fleming said he is intrigued by the location and appreciated the urban lean Auburn seems to be taking. He said he wants to park his car and walk to the grocery store or to get dinner. He said this project is just getting ahead of the curve.
Three of the units are already reserved, and real estate agents handed out flyers in front of the estate on Saturday morning before the Auburn-Georgia game. Fleming said the appeal has seemed to settle with those who live outside of Auburn and are looking for a "unique upscale Auburn living experience."
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is conducting all real estate and marketing aspects of the project.
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