John Harris Body Shop is building a 14,000-square-foot collision center at 1515 Broad St., a nearly three-acre tract bordered by River Watch Parkway and 15th Street.
The company built its first Augusta-area collision center several years ago on Evans to Locks Road in Evans and opened its second center in January off William Few Parkway in Grovetown.
Campbell Harris, company co-owner, said the repair business decided to build what will be its 12th collision center in downtown Augusta, because of increased service demand in the urban core.
“We’re seeing a lot of demand from our insurance partners,” Harris said. “We give the customers a great product and we do it quickly. Insurance companies appreciate that, and if there is a need somewhere, they lead us in that direction.”
The company’s Net Promoter Score, a quality measure in the auto body industry, is 95, Harris said. The industry average is in the high 70s, he said.
Harris said the center, which will employ between 15 to 20 people, is scheduled to open in October or November.
The family-owned chain, founded in 1975, has four other collision centers under development in South Carolina’s Charleston and Greenville markets. Harris owns the company with his brother, John.
The downtown property borders the Augusta Canal and is close to several other light-industrial businesses.
Dennis Trotter of Jordan Trotter Commercial Real Estate, which brokered the land deal, said the property has great visibility from several major corridors but had languished after construction of the River Watch Parkway flyover that connects to Greene Street. The wooded tract was frequently used as a homeless campsite, he said.
“Most people didn’t even know that piece of property existed,” he said. “Obviously, we’re excited to clean it up and get it back to being a productive part of the tax rolls.”
Harris said future expansions are possible in other parts of the metro Augusta area.
“If Grovetown and Augusta go well, we’re not stopping there,” he said. “We still see a lot of opportunity there.”