The Aiken County Council approved the plan to pay for the $150 million dollar redevelopment of the North Augusta Riverfront, which means the project is now in the hands of North Augusta officials.
Last week, some robocalls went out that said the developer was being sued for defaulting on loans. There have also been allegations that the developer was fined because of construction delays on a similar project in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Greenstone Properties is a development company out of Atlanta. The company is partnering with the city of North Augusta to build Project Jackson. Chris Schoen is one of the managing partners of Greenstone Properties. He's also one of the owners of the Augusta GreenJackets. We asked Chris Schoen what his role will be in the construction of Project Jackson.
"We would be involved in actually delivering the stadium. When we built the stadium in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we sort of quarterbacked the entire development," Schoen says.
For city leaders in Fort Wayne, the development didn't move fast enough, so they threatened to fine Schoen's company several million dollars. Schoen says the recession caused delays on the project and that in the end, the city decided not to fine him.
"We worked hand and hand with the city in getting that put together. We ended up dealing with some local investors in Fort Wayne to execute that final piece," Schoen says.
Some North Augusta residents have raised questions about a lawsuit involving Schoen. Earlier this year, Bank of America filed a complaint that Schoen defaulted on loans dating back to 2007. Schoen says the recession is to blame.
"You know, we were in the real esate business doing a lot of different projects. Anybody that was sort of active in that time frame, had some issues. They certainly lost some money and we did the same," Schoen says.
We also asked Schoen about the funding of Project Jackson.
We asked, "how come Greenstone, you and the Augusta GreenJackets aren't putting up the full $150 million? Why are you asking the city to put up the money?"
Schoen replied, "the stadium acts as a catalyst. The stadium brings people. If we can bring 300 to 400,000 people to this location, then the retail wants to be there, the hotel wants to be there."
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