A $425,000 offer for the former Augusta-Richmond County main library building was the highest bid of 21 opened Wednesday for 14 surplus city-owned properties.
Wayne Millar, the president and owner of M Projects in Evans, had the high bid for the library building, more than twice the $200,000 offer Augusta businessman Donnie Thompson made for the property, which is assessed at $3.8 million on the city’s books.
Thompson bid on several of the surplus properties and was the only bidder to make an offer – of $300,000 – for the historic South Carolina Railroad Co. depot and adjoining acreage at 511 Reynolds St.
Thompson said the depot site could be a venue for the Thunder over Augusta air show, which moved to Columbia County last year, but that his plans for the tract weren’t that far along.
“I have a couple of ideas,” Thompson said. “I think you could make something out of that pretty easy.”
Thompson was high bidder for two other properties, a fire station at 1099 Reynolds St. and the former Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce building, an I.M. Pei-designed structure in the Broad Street median. He bid $150,000 for the chamber building, which he said could become office space with some work.
“All of them is going to take substantial capital to get them into something, but you just have to get in there and see what you can do,” he said.
Alonzo Boardman, Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s father-in-law, was the high bidder at $200,101 for another surplus fire station at 2625 Washington Road. The tract backs Boardman’s Washington Road convenience store, which faces Augusta National Golf Club.
Attracting the most bidders was a city-owned parcel at 1710 Highland Ave., across from Daniel Field. The highest of five bidders for the 5-acre tract was Trotter General LLC, which offered $310,000.
Savannah Riverkeeper, which hoped to raise enough to make an offer on a 14-acre riverfront Prep Phillips Drive tract, bid $1,000 for the property, far less than top bidder Pilcher-Hardy Rentals, which bid $111,000. The property is assessed at $987,322.
The commission must approve all bids before the properties sell. Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he might like to see more of a development plan in some instances, such as the depot tract, because the city once spent more than $1 million to prepare the site for a condominium complex that was never built.
Others, such as the Washington Road fire station and the Highland Avenue tract, might not be hard to let go, City Administrator Fred Russell said.
Six other surplus properties, five in south Augusta and another on Sand Bar Ferry Road, attracted no bids. The city hired Augusta realty firms Sherman and Hemstreet and Blanchard and Calhoun to list the