Turning this riverfront space into a prime development is something the Downtown Development Authority and city leaders have been working on for more than three years.
“This is the largest, deal downtown has ever seen,really a lot of Augusta has ever seen and there were just details that had to be worked out,” says Margaret Woodard of Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority.
The Developer and the DDA met with the city’s finance team for more than two hours in a legal session Tuesday to come to an agreement on financing, it’s been a sticking point.
“Initially they had asked for additional money we just couldn’t make it happen so we had to tweak the numbers,” said City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson.
Commissioners approved was issuing 14 million dollars in bonds , the city wanting to make sure revenue from the project covers the city debt.
“So basically we wanted to shape the deal so the project pays for its self in terms of additional tax revenue that it generates,” said Jackson.
But what are taxpayers getting for the money he city getting for official details of the project have not been released.
Once, the DDA approves the purchase and sales agreement the project will go public,” said Woodard.
And then there’s the issue of the half a million dollar parking lot for Unisys on the site, it’s under used now but the city is under contract to provide up to 500 spaces for the company. another detail that needs to be worked out.
“I can’t tell you those things certain that will talk about with them after we ascertain what they’re need is right now it’s about 30 we’ll see that there need is going to be longer term and make sure we accommodate that,” says Jackson.
What we’ve found out about the project the 170 year old freight depot on the site will be saved and renovated into shops, there will be a parking deck on site the city will be own some of the spaces that will help pay off the bond debt, and if all goes as planned ground breaking will take place in nine months.