Reynolds Street development faces challenges

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Mayor Deke Copenhaver gets a good feeling when driving down Reynolds Street. A nearly complete parking garage set to open next month across the street from the under-construction Trade, Exhibition and Event Center is bringing a fresh face to the downtown thoroughfare.

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Reflecting pools at Summerfield Park across from the golf gardens have been waterless and littered with trash.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Reflecting pools at Summerfield Park across from the golf gardens have been waterless and littered with trash.

“What you’re seeing is a physical transformation of Reynolds Street,” the mayor said. “When you drive down Reynolds Street, you get a completely different feel than you used to.”

Yet, a potential facelift for Reynolds Street driven by public and private investment is being marred by past projects that have so far failed to live up to expectations or fallen through.

At the site of the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and Gardens, overgrown weeds cover a 17.5-acre plot stretching from 11th to 13th streets. According to Copenhaver, the state currently controls the land and is responsible for landscape maintenance. The city once tried to take over landscape duties but the option wasn’t financially feasible for land it doesn’t own, he said.

Across the street from the Golf and Gardens, five reflecting pools at the Springfield Village Park have been waterless for several months. Beverage containers, food boxes and used clothing litter planting beds and a bench-lined concrete pathway.

The Springfield Village Park Foundation, a private entity, has been looking at new options to lift the park’s appearance in the long run, said Monty Osteen, one of the park foundation directors.

“They have become problematic in terms of keeping them watered and keeping them clean,” Osteen said.

A high water table on the property caused undue pressure on the concrete pools, spurring leaks. Additionally, trash thrown into the pools by pedestrians, many of whom are unwanted skateboarders, clogged the filter system, he said.

The foundation has been exploring filling the pools with dirt planting beds. The park was dedicated in 2002 with the unveiling of a 40-foot art sculpture, but phase one will not be complete until marble-and-granite black history plaques are installed, Osteen said.

Another local developer and investor, Clay Boardman, said he’s disappointed the park is not better maintained to attract visitors.

“That’s another great amenity for the beautification of Reynolds Street, yet it’s in disrepair,” he said. “I’ve never seen anybody walking through it. It’s not getting used.”

At the opposite end of Reynolds Street, near the Fifth Street bridge, a 6-acre dirt lot and old railroad Depot stand empty while the city tries to settle on a Realtor to list the property, according to City Administrator Fred Russell.

“We want to make sure we sell it to somebody who does something conducive with our plans for downtown,” Russell said.

Some forward motion was made last week to redevelop two properties on the commercial market along Reynolds Street, the city’s closest traffic artery to the riverfront, which city planners claim to be an untapped resource for development and tourism.

On Tuesday, the former-site of the WJBF studio at 10th and Reynolds streets was bought by a local partnership for $700,000. Officials from TelPark Partners LLC said they are exploring options to redevelop the property, potentially razing the 15,000-square-foot building near the TEE Center.

Another riverfront property, the 125,000-square-foot Fort Discovery building, was placed under contract last week. The potential buyer will not be released for about another month, when the sale is expected to close, said Dennis Trotter of Meybohm Commercial Real Estate.

Cortland Dusseau, a private investor in hotel properties, said plans are still on the table for a $19 million Hyatt Place on Reynolds at Ninth Street. Financing the seven-story hotel has been difficult, but the Augusta location is still an enticing market, Dusseau said.

Before his mayoral term ends in 2014, Copenhaver doubts progress will be made to develop the former Golf and Gardens or the Depot, two sites he called “anchors to the riverfront.”

Those two properties along with a privately-owned parcel across from the Augusta Commons were proposed in the Westobou Shared Vision Augusta/North Augusta 2009 Master Plan for future development of retail stores, residential buildings and an arts center. The TEE Center was the first project to come to fruition on Reynolds Street from the master plan.

While progress is being made, there are still areas that need improvement, said Camille Price, director of Augusta Tomorrow.

Development of the Golf and Gardens site and the Depot are critical to development of the city’s urban core, Price said. Reynolds Street was targeted in the master plan because it connects the valuable riverfront land with the rest of the city, she said.

The future of Reynolds Street could rest on moving the Golf and Gardens and Depot properties from government hands to private investors, said Boardman.

“The only way something’s going to happen is if they sell them,” he said.

Boardman thinks private development on Reynolds Street is a wise investment that can only help improve the street’s appearance.

“There are good things going on near Reynolds Street. There’s real good traction in that area right now,” he said. “It’s such a destination already and will be a greater destination we are hoping.”


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countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/11/11 - 08:33 pm
0
0
There's construction taking

There's construction taking place all over the CBD this year.

The construction at 851 Broad street is underway next to the common..

-Sprint Foods wants to renovate this commercial space to accommodate their home offices on the upper floors and possibly other commercial office tenants and to develop the first floor as an urban market. The façade will be renovated to match as closely as possible the original façade with all traditional elements. The wood section visible about mid way down the building along the Augusta Commons will be removed to allow for an open air seating area and window openings will also be added along this face of the building."

-Demolish single story structure between 2 buildings and rehabilitate structure into retail on the first floor and office on the second..

The JB whites warehouse at 922 Ellis street(connected via skywalk to the Whites Building) is being renovated into a office/parking garage component..

-916 Ellis Street – Thompson Wrecking Co.,– demolition of structure which abuts J. B. White’s warehouse and replace with crush and run (J. B. White warehouse will not involved)

– 922 Ellis Street – Eric Brock, on behalf of August Renaissance – ground level façade modifications to provide for a new building lobby and covered parking. The existing outdoor parking lot will be improved with new landscaping and fencing with gated access..

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/12/11 - 04:33 pm
0
0
There's construction taking

There's construction taking place all over the Central Business District.. Similar to the TEE Center attracting private investors/construction nearby(cotton warehouse, wjbf studios, fort discovery property, Hyatt Place hotel, parking deck)... The Kroc Center in Harrisburg and the ongoing urban renwal in Laney Walker/Bethlehem will do the same thing. The Kroc Center already attracted the developer Clay Boardman, he's behind the former Martha Lester school and Broad Mill Village.. I'm positive somebody purchases the Sibley Mill in Harrisburg sooner or later.. It's kinda sad actually, because some people will tell you it's nothing going on downtown.. Then again it's people who don't the Village at Riverwatch is underway or what exactly is the Kroc Center..

cityman
-6
Points
cityman 09/11/11 - 09:12 pm
0
0
According to the Richmond
Unpublished

According to the Richmond County GIS map, Elizabeth Boardman owns 701 Reynolds st. Any relation to Clay Board man? This also says that sales data is not available.

Riverman1
84066
Points
Riverman1 09/11/11 - 09:20 pm
0
0
While Mayor

While Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman keeps steering tens of millions of tax money down to that area where his relatives own much property, West Augusta around I-20 is booming without a penny of taxpayer money.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/11/11 - 09:28 pm
0
0
The WJBF property and Fort

The WJBF property and Fort Discovery were both purchased by private developers..

Another private investor is behind the Hyatt Place hotel.....

Clay Boardman has nothing to do with the construction of the TEE Center and parking deck(taxpayer money)... The majority of RC citizens voting for the TEE Center to be built..

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/11/11 - 09:26 pm
0
0
Why doesn't Augusta condemn
Unpublished

Why doesn't Augusta condemn the golf and gardens property and take it over. Why does the ARC government continue to let dilapidated properties permeate the "garden city"? I can tell you why, NO CAJONES!! Deke is a politician not a leader and the whole bunch of commissioners are as well. Follow the money! Any time I heard a Boardman mentioned I know what the deal is!

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/12/11 - 04:35 pm
0
0
Maybe because the Golf and

Maybe because the Golf and Gardens is owned by the state of Georgia, and doesn't belong to the city of Augusta..

I don't know why some people are hating on the Boardmans.. There would be no renovated Enterprise Mill, Green building, Sutherland Mill, Heritage Academy, Granite Mill, William Robinson School, Christ Community, etc without them... Clay purchased the Martha Lester school, and he's constructing the Broad Mill Village.. He even tried to do something with the Sibley Mill.. I wish we had more local developers intrested in helping our community.. Mr. Boardman and another developer brought the Marion building on Broad street last year(maybe retail, office, residential)..

dichotomy
32995
Points
dichotomy 09/11/11 - 09:40 pm
0
0
I'm so thrilled countyman.

I'm so thrilled countyman. Meanwhile, the Water Plant next door keeps dumping their tank into their little retention pond about once a month which overflows into the 4 ft. deep, unmaintained dirt ditch in front of my property and it has washed the dirt from around my driveway culvert pipe and my driveway is collapsing. Been trying to get the county....err city....to pipe that retention pond overflow and ditch off down to the creek at the bottom of the hill since they built the plant in the early 2000s. I'm so happy that all of the rich property owners on Reynolds St. might get a windfall with taxpayer funded projects.

In case you don't get the point countyman, we the forsaken in the SOUTH end of the county.....err city....are so far removed from the benefits of our tax dollars that we really don't give a fiddler's damn about what is happening on Reynolds St.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/11/11 - 10:11 pm
0
0
Private investors are buying

Private investors are buying real estate and people still complain lol.. Nobody is stopping private developers from purchasing property around South Augusta.. A Hampton Inn hotel on Gordon Hwy is underway, and Dennys/Five Guys Burger are both planning on opening somewhere in South Augusta.. Don't worry the Target shopping center is coming sooner or later..

I find it funny how the residents of West Augusta never complain, but somebody from South Augusta is bringing up taxpayer funded projects.

There's a $20 million vocational high school next to Augusta Tech, parking and basketball court additions at Diamond Lakes, widening of Morgan rd, Marvin Griffin rd improvements, etc in South Augusta... The $1 million Marshals office opened on Deans Bridge rd last year.

Both Brookfield and Warren rd parks in West Augusta are nice, but they can't touch Diamond Lakes park in South Augsuta. There's residential and resdidential under construction in Diamond Lakes. Parent's can walk their kids to recreation football, basketball, baseball, softball, etc practice..

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 09/11/11 - 10:14 pm
0
0
Well from the sound of this

Well from the sound of this article, despite the millions upon millions of tax dollars pumped into that area, not much seems to be happening. And the city can't simply condemn the GGHOF property. It is owned by the state. Plus, to condemn it they would have to to build a public building there. The best thing is for the state to develop the property for use by MCG. They already own it and with MCG having a bigger presence in downtown, that would be good news for the businesses down there. Either that or sell it to a private developer who put something there without using tax money. The last thing we need there is another white elephant.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 09/11/11 - 10:18 pm
0
0
Hey Countyman....was there a
Unpublished

Hey Countyman....was there a deductive change order on the vocational high school project? Your earlier posts had the project value at $30M....

floridasun
310
Points
floridasun 09/11/11 - 10:37 pm
0
0
why all the negativity on the

why all the negativity on the Boardmans? Thank goodness they invest their money in Augusta.
A healthy downtown is good for all,and that includes Columbia County and Aiken County.Too bad the Augusta Commission is so dysfunctional though

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/11/11 - 11:06 pm
0
0
Dipshot.. The 125K sq. ft.

Dipshot.. The 125K sq. ft. Fort Discovery property and 15k sq. ft. WJBF studios were purchased. The 125k sq. ft. Fort Discovery space can hold retail, office, and residential.. The WJBF property could be renovated into a retail/office development. The new owners might demolish the building and start from scratch. This is the private construction on Reynold street alone, and doesn't include the construction along Broad... GHSU building a biotech park in the CBD or Laney Walker make sense.

Pu239.. The cost of the project is $20 million and I misspoke if i put $30 million.. If you search the vocational high school on the chronicle site you can find the exact price.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/11/11 - 11:02 pm
0
0
no one walks in the
Unpublished

no one walks in the springfield park? does anyone walk in the commons? golf and gardens? fort discovery? we don't need anymore boardman/augusta tomorrow solutions.
What exactly gives deke the good feeling while he's driving through?

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/11/11 - 11:19 pm
0
0
The city can most certainly
Unpublished

The city can most certainly condemn ANY property that is not taken care of. They only have to offer fair market value for that property. The Boardmans are not doing anything out of the goodness of their hearts...follow the money...

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 09/11/11 - 11:27 pm
0
0
Broad street narrow mind.. A

Broad street narrow mind.. A private developer purchased the Fort Discovery space. In the near future the residents of the CSRA can walk into the property(unless it becomes nothing but residential).. The daily traffic, festivals, and events keep the Augusta common pretty busy..(Hispanic festival, Gay festival, Mayors master reception, Par 3 Party, etc).

The Arts in the Heart Festival(Sept 16th-18th) is coming to Broad street this year.. The Arts in the Heart averages 70k and the common sits right along Broad street.

The construction at 851 Broad street(Sprint Food Metro Market: old Belk Warehouse) is right next to the common.. The extra pedestrian activity will definitely impact the common.. Corporate offices, urban maket: restaurant/convenience store, and open air seating beside the common.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 09/11/11 - 11:26 pm
0
0
Deke gets the good feeling
Unpublished

Deke gets the good feeling from making his cronies richer....follow the money...

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/12/11 - 12:26 am
0
0
Countyman Sunday, Sep. 11

Countyman
Sunday, Sep. 11 9:40 PM
FROM:
Reynolds Street development faces challenges

I don't know some people are hating on the Boardmans.. There would be no renovated Enterprise Mill, Green building, Sutherland Mill, Heritage Academy, Granite Mill, William Robinson School, Christ Community, etc without them... Clay purchased the Martha Lester school, and he's constructing the Broad Mill Village.. He even tried to do something with the Sibley Mill.. I wish we had more local developers intrested in helping our community.. Mr. Boardman and another developer brought the Marion building on Broad street last year(maybe retail, office, residential)..

I don't get that either Countyman.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/12/11 - 01:56 am
0
0
C

C

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 09/12/11 - 01:52 am
0
0
(C)ountyman may have a future

(C)ountyman may have a future as an author of fiction in another venue. But he has little of one in facilitating Augusta'a substantial vis-a-vis cosmetic improvement. His "rebranding" and "reimaging" efforts are so transparently superficial that even the blind can see them for what they are.

Riverman1
84066
Points
Riverman1 09/12/11 - 04:46 am
0
0
"Mayor Deke Copenhaver gets a

"Mayor Deke Copenhaver gets a good feeling when driving down Reynolds Street."

It's the vibration of the uneven payment making Deke feel good.

Brad Owens
4441
Points
Brad Owens 09/12/11 - 05:59 am
0
0
This article says.."At the

This article says.."At the opposite end of Reynolds Street, near the Fifth Street bridge, a 6-acre dirt lot and old railroad Depot stand empty while the city tries to settle on a Realtor to list the property, according to City Administrator Fred Russell.

“We want to make sure we sell it to somebody who does something conducive with our plans for downtown,” Russell said."

Who is the "OUR" when Fred talks about "OUR plans"???????

Brad Owens
4441
Points
Brad Owens 09/12/11 - 06:08 am
0
0
The reason Deke gets a good

The reason Deke gets a good feeling is because his family, freinds and political supporters own most all the property along Reynolds Street.

He feels good because the hotel-motel tax has been tied up into this little stretch of road for the next 50 years, so no matter who the power passes to next, they and their families, freinds and supporters will benefit beyond thier own lifetimes.

Brad

Brad Owens
4441
Points
Brad Owens 09/12/11 - 06:10 am
0
0
Also, can't we just get rid

Also, can't we just get rid of that terrible work of corporate art and the pools of water (with no water)?

I mean, flatten it and build a parking lot, at least it would get used for somthing at that point.

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 09/12/11 - 07:45 am
0
0
Iwannakno wrote: Why doesn't

Iwannakno wrote:

Why doesn't Augusta condemn the golf and gardens property and take it over?

Sigh. Because the golf & gardens property is owned by the state government. A city government cannot condemn and take over state land.

The Georgia Legislature passed a resolution (not a law) recommending that the state government put the golf & gardens property up for sale at auction to the highest bidder. The land has been placed under control of the Georgia Properties Commission. The Georgia Properties Commission is stalling because they do not want to do what the legislature recommended.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/12/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
the failed plans come from
Unpublished

the failed plans come from the smae group we're taking our new plans from. they're all the same people. augusta tomorrow brought us all the fails. golf and gardens, fort discovery, port royal, the tee center. we won't stop taking their advice though. they are made of boardmans (yes, multiple), mcg, georgia power, rw allen and thompson construction, and assorted others like administrator russell. deke loves augusta tomoorow. there's more than one way to be invested in augusta.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/12/11 - 08:31 am
0
0
who says skaters are
Unpublished

who says skaters are unwanted? at least we don't have to pay them hundreds of millions in tax dollars. i'd say in the little ghost alley of dead and failed augusta tomorrow projects, skaters are about the best we could hope for. let them build a skate park. stop pretending we have tourists to cater to. we don't. deke and friends should get their friends (is deke a member as his father was?) to open the augusta national up to golf cart tours in the off season. it's our actual tourist draw. if deke would use his influence in the moneyed world to help augusta, we'd be right to elect him. as it is, it seems he's closer to doing the reverse.

Little Lamb
46022
Points
Little Lamb 09/12/11 - 08:40 am
0
0
BSNM wrote: Deke and friends

BSNM wrote:

Deke and friends should get their friends to open the Augusta National up to golf cart tours in the off season.

If the National did that it would no longer be the "off" season, would it?

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/12/11 - 08:56 am
0
0
lamb, i'm not sure what you
Unpublished

lamb, i'm not sure what you mean, but maybe i can clarify what i mean. the course doesn't get golfed on all year. when the members aren't golfing and it's all groundskeepers at the course, why not add an hour or two of guided golf cart tours a day? people could ride a cart driven by a tour guide up magnolia lane and around the course on the path never touching the grass then be dropped back outside the course having not touched or messed up anything. think of how many people pose there at the locked gates. if there were a tour, we could actually get tourists.

justthefacts
21926
Points
justthefacts 09/12/11 - 08:58 am
0
0
"Augusta National Theme

"Augusta National Theme Park"... I like it. Heck, the members will love the idea.

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