New projects in Aiken County seek to attract new crowds

AIKEN, SC (WRDW/WAGT) — The Pascalis project is the plan to demolish the old Aiken Hotel and replace it with a new hotel, retail space and new apartments.

Aiken County leaders tell us there is purpose with all of this new development.

“Aiken has grown tremendously and will continue to grow. It’s taking off in leaps and bounds,” said Erika Jones, co-owner of Palmetto Seafood Bar and Grill.

Jones is thrilled with the new plans planned to freshen up Aiken.

“It’s great for all businesses, not just our business downtown. All we can do is move forward. All we can do is go up,” she said.

The city hopes this will attract a new crowd.

Tim O’Briant, Director of Economic Development for the Town of Aiken, said, “Over the past two decades at least, 25 or 30 years, the Town of Aiken has been very successful in attracting retirees to the community. . This hampered our demographics.

He says rental units initially created for a younger generation end up being purchased by older generations who resettle in the community.

Through the Pascalis project, Aiken is looking to install a new regional conference center, car parks, replace the Aiken Hotel and revamp Newberry Street.

“Right now there’s a lot of hard ground, and it’s basically a parking lot. It’s a nice parking lot, but it’s a parking lot right now,” O’Briant said.

Unfortunately, a new parking lot is the future of the Taj Aiken.

Alok Kumar, owner of Taj Aiken Indian Cuisine, said, “It’s a good project for the city, a lot of people will become a lot of businesses, but for small businesses, it doesn’t help us.”

It’s located next to the Aiken Hotel, and he says the city has bought the space, and he has until July to find a new location.

“I make money to survive, for myself and my employees. We just opened this restaurant two years ago. It wasn’t enough time for us,” Kumar said.

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