EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) – A disagreement with Columbia County’s Development Authority has led developers and investors to back out of what was going to be a Hilton hotel behind the performing arts center.

The project has been in the works for about two years.

But the recent purchase sale agreement states that if the hotel construction wasn’t complete by November 30, 2026, the development authority would take back the property.

“We agreed to all the financial portions of the transaction, the only thing we could not agree on was the start-stop date, and what happens if we do not meet the start-stop date,” said Dr. John Bojescul, a developer.

The PSA also states that the developers would be reimbursed the purchase price, but any other cost would be at their expense.

“Our investors and our bankers did not believe that would be a good deal,” Dr. Bojescul said. “Because in this environment with the uncertainty of the economy, interest rates and COVID, to guarantee a stop date without any accrued periods was impossible for us to think this is being a good investment.”

The hotel was supposed to have a fine-dining restaurant, a rooftop bar, and other amenities.

“I’m very disappointed for the county, for the people of the county, as well as for the hotel industry for this area,” Dr. Bojescul said. “I think that growth is inevitable, and that a hotel would be the ideal project for that portion of the land. I’m just more disappointed than anything else.”

Dr. Bojescul said he wishes the development authority luck with future opportunities for the property, but he will be moving on.

“I plan to continue doing what I’m doing with my current projects, and look for other places to do a hotel, but not in Evans,” he said.

He also said he hopes something beneficial to the community will go in place of the hotel.

We’ve reached out to the development authority for comment, and are waiting for a response.