Depot project future questioned by commissioners

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s been called the historic depot project, but now, some city leaders say Augusta’s involvement needs to be history.

“I can’t put up the city’s money not knowing what they’re going to do right now. They’re talking about backing out. They’ve been trying to back out all the time. It means the depot property is dead in the water,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

This week, the depot developers requested the city return 50 thousand dollars in escrow paid since one of the partners is backing out. With the developers saying if the city does not, they will end the deal.

“I’m not in favor of giving the money back, in the letter they said they’re going to terminate if we don’t. If that happens, it’s pretty much dead,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.

“We don’t plan for sure to give back 50 thousand dollars,” says Commissioner Ben Hasan.

“Does the project end then?”

“I don’t know, that’s up to them. Our deadline is the 28th,” said Commissioner Hasan

The city has set a January 28th deadline to have all issues with the depot project resolved.

“It’s time to walk away. We spent too much time and energy on this project,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

Progress on the depot project has been handcuffed because the city promised the site to Unisys. They promised to park 500 cars. A solution to honor that commitment while still clearing the way for the depot development has not been worked out.

“I think we have some blame for it. I think we should have been more strategic in our planning with Unisys as well as this project. So, I think we’ll be wiser in the future,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.

Following legal session there was no vote to approve returning the $50 thousand dollars. However, the Downtown Development Authority at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, is scheduled to discuss the development agreement and the request to return the 50 thousand dollars.

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