AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Progress is being made for a new James Brown Arena. A new arena has been in the works for several years and now the project has even more momentum.
“The James Brown Arena along with the Bell Auditorium is a ‘quality-of-life’ symbol for Augusta,” said Cedric Johnson, Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority Chairman.
The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority came together Tuesday for a special called meeting. Authority members approved refinancing bonds to fund some of the new JBA groundwork.
“TEE center bonds that are probably six or seven years old, that refinance will hopefully net the coliseum authority $8 million so that we can continue on with our project, architectural design, and those type of things,” said Johnson.
The bond refinance will save the city about $200,000 a year according to Johnson.
He explained, “TEE center bonds are paid back from hotel, motel taxes that the city agreed to give the coliseum authority to help with the financing of the day-to-day management of the arena. So basically, they will be paid as the city has done with the old bonds is to take a portion of those bonds and pay a portion of our debt.”
The plan remains to increase the JBA’s capacity by 30%. The new arena would hold around 10,000 people, be ten stories tall, and connect to the Bell Auditorium.
Johnson added, “We’re very entertaining not just to the CSRA but to people all over. So it’s very important for us to be at the forefront of entertainment venues when you talk about Augusta.”
Twenty-five million dollars is being recommended by the city in the SPLOST 8 project list for the construction of the new JBA. SPLOST 8 will be on the ballot on March 16, 2021.