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Depot project feared lost after commission action

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) - Augusta Commissioners have made their offer for the development of the Depot property an offer some worry can  easily be refused. 

 "This is the potential of 100 million dollars, private investment slipping through the cities hands on a piece of property that's been vacant for years," said Margaret Woodard Executive Director of the Downtown Development Authority. 

Tuesday Commissioners moved forward with approving 14 million dollars in financing for the 93 million dollar depot project. 

But not before the  administrator presented 11 points of concern, including requiring the developer to commit to building the entire project, not just the  50 million dollar  first phase. 

"We owe it to the taxpayers that we get as much revenue in to ensure we can make the payments we need to make," said City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson. 

 "Never was phasing brought up, this project was always going to be phased,I think that was the real shocker it felt like we were on the one yard line and we're going to move the goal posts," said Woodard. 

 " If they decide not to do phase two we've put 14 million dollars into half the project," said Commissioner Andrew Jefferson.   

 "This developer spent 100's of thousands of dollars already and we're going to pull the rug out from him at the last minute, that's disappointing," said Commissioner Sean Frantom. 

"We'll ensure the developer fully understands the rational behind the decision the commission made on yesterday and we'll look forward to hear from him," said Administrator Jackson. 

 "It just feels like we didn't want this project as a city and it's disappointing because it was a game changer downtown I'm hoping we can salvage it but I don't think we can now." said Commissioner Frantom. 

Woodard says requiring the developer to commit to the entire project is  not the only troubling condition, the city also wants final approval on any changes like the number of housing units. Woodard says the developer has been made aware of the changes and hasn't made a final decision on whether this is a deal breaker.


 


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