Key stadium piece gets conditional OK

North Augusta’s Planning Commission gave conditional approval Thursday to The Clubhouse at Ballpark Village, a major facet of the baseball stadium.

 

Commissioners had no problems with the building’s size, location or “footprint,” but several did not like the color.

That means Greenstone, the master developer, will have to come back for another meeting and present some alternatives, but commissioners green-lighted the start of foundation work, a key concern for making the April 2018 completion deadline.

The Clubhouse, which will include apartments, offices, the team’s clubhouse and parking, will be seven stories tall and located behind left field, 50 feet from the 13th Street Bridge on one end.

It’s a 100,000-square-foot building and anything bigger than 40,000 square feet must have major site plan approval from the planning commission.

The 1,500- to 1,800-square-foot apartments will fill the top four floors and all will have views of the stadium, with doors that open onto small balconies. Offices will be below the apartments and parking below that. On the second level is a concourse where fans can walk around and mingle.

Because of its size and proximity to the bridge, it will be the most prominent feature of the development, commissioners noted.

To JoAnn McKie, it’s too modern.

“It’s a trendy building, but this is not a trendy site,” she said, pointing out that it didn’t seem to fit in with Hammond’s Ferry, the Municipal Center or even other buildings within the project.

The color palette – white and three shades of gray – doesn’t match the red-brick look of many nearby structures, she said.

Looking like it fits is important because the building will stand at a gateway to the city, she said.

Briton Williams also didn’t like the colors and thought the building looked too “futuristic.”

“I don’t like the building. I’m for the project, I’m just disappointed in the building,” he said.

Greenstone representative James Dean said there was plenty of time to discuss the building’s “skin,” but the company really needed to get started on the foundation. He asked commissioners for their approval, since they weren’t opposed to anything else about the building, to keep construction on schedule.

“We would like to know we can have some dialogue, that there can be some tweaking,” said Commission Chairman Woods Burnett.

Planning Director Charles Martin suggested language for a motion requiring a future meeting with the Planning Commission “to review alternate design elements.”

“That doesn’t paint anybody into a corner,” Martin said, and the meeting could be scheduled quickly when Greenstone is ready to come back.

With Dean’s assurances, the commission voted 6-1, with Williams in opposition, to give a conditional recommendation to City Council.

 

Reach James Folker at (706) 823-3338 or james.folker@augustachronicle.com

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