City leaders try to clear air on depot project


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Members of the Downtown Develop Authority were called into the commission legal meeting to provide information on the depot project. That proposed $93 million dollar housing and retail development that has recently come under fire.

“We feel great, we feel like there was some confusion on what was expected on the 270 days and what they didn’t have. The Finance Department confirmed we have turned everything in on time,” said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Margaret Woodard.

But what the developers haven’t put in city leaders hands is still causing concerns. City leaders are still waiting on business plans, project budget and design plans.

“What we are asking for is basic industry standard information and for a developer at this point and the person representing the DDA not understanding it is also disappointing as well,” said Commissioner Ben Hasan.

But Commissioners heard in the legal session those documents are now in the hands of the Downtown Development Authority.

“I got three of them last night. I’m going to review them and forward them to the city.” said Woodard.

What also needs a review is parking. The city has promised Unisys five hundred parking spots, currently the depot site is being used. The project is calling for a parking deck but not big enough to handle the city’s commitment to Unisys.

“There’s ongoing conversations with Unisys, I think the parking issue is workable, what it looks like in end…we’re not really sure yet whether it’s adding more to a parking deck,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.

“So probably the most logical thing to do, is just add a couple of floors to the parking deck,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

“More money though and you’re already spending 14 million.”

“More money, unless you invest in the stock market you don’t get any return on it,” said Commissioner Clarke.

“This should have been satisfied, that shows you this whole thing has been upside down almost like a breeched birth so only time will tell if this baby will live or pass,” said Commissioner Hasan.

Following the behind closed doors session, Margaret Woodard said the drop dead date to get all documents in for the project is July 22nd. She says the development is still moving forward despite the concerns with a ground breaking in late September or early October.

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