Commission ends talks on depot project


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It was a project to transform downtown. 140 new apartments, reuse of the historic depot property, tens of millions of dollars in new investment…however the depot project turned out too good to be true.

There’s a sign that announces the coming of the depot project, and a cool video of what was planned, but Augusta Commissioners are no longer sold.

“This is the deadline we set, I think we need to stick with it, I think if we just continue to let it roll on and keep going it’s not going to get any better,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.

Commissioners spent more than two hours in legal session where the depot project was talked about, but after, city leaders made no public announcement about ending the deal, but commissioners saying that is their official position.

“I think we’re just not going to enter into any more negotiations with it and we’re just going to let it go down the road. There’s stipulations on both sides and I think that’s just where we’re going to leave it,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

“The city hasn’t moved, the city is still in the same spot, Bloc Global is the one threatening to walk out tomorrow,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

In an email to city officials, the developers Bloc Global said they would terminate the project if $50 thousand dollars in earnest money was not refunded, commissioners did not vote to refund the money, opening the door for the developers to walk.

“Are you waiting for them to walk away?”

“I think that’s what no negotiations might mean,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

In 2015 commissioners approved providing 500 parking spots for Unisys at the depot site, and commissioners say honoring that commitment while still making room for the depot development could not be be worked out

“We’ve worked on trying to figure out the parking issues and to no avail I don’t know what would change in the future if we continue to work on this it should have been solved earlier,” said Commissioner Mary Davis.

Commissioners are in agreement if the unisys parking is not worked out development of this property will be difficult. However a new parking deck would be expensive, and as one commissioner said, when it comes to paying for it we’re not there yet.

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