Augusta city leaders are saying next week will be absolutely crucial for the survival of the depot project. Commissioners are setting a January 28th deadline to resolve all issues with the development, and all issues haven’t been resolved.
The Downtown Development Authority is taking up the latest unresolved issue. The request from the depot developers saying they want half of their 100 thousand dollars in earnest money back or they will walk away from the deal.
“They are asking the DDA to be the conduit to get 50 thousand dollars of it refunded it’s their money that they put to show good faith on the project,” said Margaret Woodard, Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority.
Commissioners must okay the refund. Several are expressing concerns about that. This after they are setting a deadline to have all depot issues resolved by January 28th.
“We pretty much resigned our selves to make the 28th our deadline and so I just don’t see how we can do it,” says Commissioner Bobby Williams.
But the developers need more time. They have 180 more days to re-secure financing and do a marketing study, since there’s a lien on the property due to Augusta committing 500 parking spots to Unisys on the depot site.
“The city has not removed the defect on the title for Unisys parking, said Woodard.
“So there’s a lien on the title they can’t.”
There’s a defect on the title, yes. The city cannot transfer the property with a clean title,” said Woodard.
So unless the Unisys parking problem is solved, there’s no chance of a depot project moving forward.
“It can be done. We’ve got to be willing to have an open and frank conversation. I think this parking though Unisys and the depot deal its hampering the depot deal. This is a bigger conversation with the growth of Augusta and what we need to do as a community”
“To keep doing it another year I just don’t think we have the stamina to keep going with this,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.
City leaders are expected to go into legal session to discuss a parking plan that would provide Unisys with its spaces as well as allowing the development at the depot to proceed in Augusta George Eskola WJBF NewsChannel 6.