Land transaction for 15th Street Walmart Neighborhood Market completed

40,000-square-foot grocery planned

Thursday, March 1, 2012 11:04 PM
Last updated Friday, March 2, 2012 1:02 AM
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The Augusta medical district is closer to having a Walmart Neighborhood Market, with 11 city-owned parcels that make up the Augusta Public Transit bus depot turned over to the Augusta Land Bank Authority.

Eleven city-owned parcels of land making up the Augusta Public Transit bus depot were turned over to the Augusta Land Bank Authority, which will sell it to Walmart for about $505,000. The grocery will be a fourth or fifth the size of a superstore.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Eleven city-owned parcels of land making up the Augusta Public Transit bus depot were turned over to the Augusta Land Bank Authority, which will sell it to Walmart for about $505,000. The grocery will be a fourth or fifth the size of a superstore.

Land Bank Authority Director Norman Michaels informed board members at a Thursday work session that the transaction had been completed, based on a Jan. 17 resolution signed by Mayor Deke Copenhaver authorizing the transaction.

The Augusta Commission voted on the measure behind closed doors Jan. 17 and didn’t discuss it in open session because of changes in state open-meetings law permitting a vote to be kept private until a transaction is final, city staff attorney Kenneth Bray said.

Minutes from the Jan. 17 meeting, obtained Thursday by The Augusta Chronicle, offer insight into what developers are proposing for the bus site, which sits near the busy intersection of 15th Street and Walton Way.

In the closed-door meeting, Jim Plunkett, the special counsel for a number of city development projects, told the commission that transferring the property to the land bank allows it to sell the land to a “shell corporation, effectively Walmart,” that will construct a Walmart there, according to the minutes.

The proposed building is a 40,000-square-foot Walmart grocery. The corporation has options on adjoining parcels, some of which might become parcels potentially holding fast-food restaurants, Plunkett said.

The Federal Transit Ad­mini­stration has a lien on the city’s bus land because federal money was used to build the bus depot, so it will have to be paid back about $400,000, he said.

In addition, the state will have to be repaid $50,000 to $100,000 for money it has in the site, so Augusta will make about $30,000 to $40,000, Plunkett said.

The resolution authorized sale of the land for $505,000.

News of the incoming Wal­mart disturbed the Med­ical College of Georgia Foun­dation, which owns the nearby 15th Street Kroger and a small strip mall and had hoped to incorporate the city’s land into what’s called the Harrisburg Blueprint, a master plan for the area developed by a focus group last year.

Tommy Saul, of Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial, the realty firm brokering the deal, said he had worked closely with Copenhaver, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, Michaels and other city officials, in addition to Georgia Health Sciences University officials “to try to do something nice down there that really benefits the city and benefits everybody downtown.”

The site plan is subject to change, but what is anticipated is a Walmart Neighborhood Market, about a fourth or a fifth the size of the largest Walmart Supercenter, he said.

City Administrator Fred Russell said the city would perform any environmental cleanup at the bus maintenance facility, and developers would pay for the work.

Though the city has proposed selling surplus land to raise cash, it did not expect to make money on the Walmart deal – only to provide an additional retail opportunity downtown, Russell said.

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Music Teacher
1
Points
Music Teacher 03/02/12 - 03:46 am
1
2

A Wal-Mart store at the bus

A Wal-Mart store at the bus depot location on 15th Street would be beneficial to both the medical community, Harrisburg and downtown neighborhoods (no more crossing the bridge to S.C.) as well as patient's families who are staying near the hospitals. With Wal-Mart and the Kroc Center in this area, we can hope it will help regenerate the section of Harrisburg behind it and perhaps the slumlords will decide their property has the potential to attract better tennants who will actually take care of their rentals which is more value for the slumlords. Perhaps they'll clean up their rental locations which will benefit other renters plus home owners who live there! Hope springs eternal in the human breast!

seenitB4
72768
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seenitB4 03/02/12 - 09:13 am
1
0

Well ain't this special..:)

Well ain't this special..:)

TakeAHike
180
Points
TakeAHike 03/02/12 - 09:48 am
3
1

Oh joy. Why do people think

Oh joy. Why do people think more People of Walmart is going to improve an area? Walmart never improves an area! Just look at North Augusta. Now we have a whole strip mall of low end stores and a lot more crime. If they want to revitalize downtown, they need to get a more hip grocery like a Trader Joe's. With a Walmart, no respectable store will open up downtown.

allhans
21955
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allhans 03/02/12 - 10:01 am
0
0

How great for those living

How great for those living below the "Hill". One run-down Kroger that is not considered safe.
I live in the "burbs" with a Bi-Lo, a Food Lion, 2 Krogers and a Publix at my convenience and I can't imagine being in their situation.
Medical students living in the dorms, senior citizens, and of course the many renters and homeowners downtown will finally have what we take for granted.

Equaltreatmentforall
49
Points
Equaltreatmentforall 03/02/12 - 10:04 am
0
0

This is the best news I've

This is the best news I've heard in a long time. This will generate numerous jobs and will open doors for the people living and shopping downtown.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 03/02/12 - 10:04 am
1
0

Right. The same people who

Unpublished

Right. The same people who now find no reason to risk their lives at the Krogers will now have another location not to risk their lives.

...point to ponder
641
Points
...point to ponder 03/02/12 - 12:57 pm
1
0

A few points to

A few points to ponder........

* Was there an appraisal performed to determine a sales price for this parcel? It is my understanding that an appraisal must be perfromed on all property sold by the city. I read where a resolution was passed for the price but there was no reference to the aforementioned "required" appraisal.

* The City had an offer on the table for $1,000,000.00 in the not to distant past from the foundation. *The City therefore left at least a half million dollars on the table...funds sorely needed from what I've read about our City's numerous budget dilemmas.

And, did those involved "really" think about the future?
If GHSU(MCG) was interested in this parcel, don't you think medical research and GHSU(MCG) expansion will have a greater long term economic impact for the good of the entire community(*not just the Harrisburg neighborhood) vs. a grocery store?

I believe this was a very short sighted action by our elected officials which 'fails' our community's long term growth quest for "growing our medical community" to a much sought after higher level of success.

allhans
21955
Points
allhans 03/02/12 - 10:58 am
0
1

points to ponder..Apparently

points to ponder..Apparently you haven't had a loved one living at St Johns Towers or one of the other retirement homes downtown.
I have no feelings about the location other than as grocery store for these people can't be anything but a GOOD thing.

Lori Davis
501
Points
Lori Davis 03/02/12 - 10:59 am
0
0

Music teacher. You and I

Music teacher. You and I think the same way! The Harrisburg association recently put together a plan to have landlord liaison's, pairing good ones with bad ones. We hope this will make an impact. The problem with landlord vs slumlord is that slumlords can't afford to put money into their houses, or they choose not to, in order to draw in better tenants. It's all about the cash with them. We are working to change the mentality of this specialized group.

Riverman1
70643
Points
Riverman1 03/02/12 - 11:42 am
3
0

My concerns about a Walmart

My concerns about a Walmart at that site are this:

The reason some feel unsafe, etc. at the Kroger is not because of the store, it's the area. A Walmart will have the same problems and very likely force the Kroger to close with the loss of business.

Plus, the Foundation, wanted the land for GHSU and was willing to pay more, apparently. GHSU supplies jobs for residents that are good paying and is not taking retail money from the community. It is ADDING money to the existing retail sector.

Personally, I think the right decision would have been to sell to the Foundation.

countyman
16822
Points
countyman 03/02/12 - 12:17 pm
1
2

The problem with the Kroger

The problem with the Kroger is the type of clientle, and not the area... Plenty of money in Summerville, Medical District, Waters Edge, Olde Town, and the CBD nearby...

The Kroc Center and the new Walmart will definitely help improve the Harrisburg neighborhood...

Riverman1
70643
Points
Riverman1 03/02/12 - 12:22 pm
1
1

Countyman, I'm not sure what

Countyman, I'm not sure what you mean the problem is the clientle, but not the area? Do you mean those shopping there don't live in the area or what? How will another retail store draw a different crowd? I don't get it?

countyman
16822
Points
countyman 03/02/12 - 12:48 pm
0
1

The people living/working in

The people living/working in the Medical District, Summerville, CBD, Waters Edge, and Olde Town don't shop at the Kroger... Not to mention the students at GHSU and Paine College nearby don't either...

Corporations don't build stores across the US for no reason.. They pay people big bucks to find the best place to open the first neighborhood market..

The Kroger looks undesirable, and can't compete against a brand new neighborhood market... I'm certain GHSU might renovate the property, or Kroger will expand in the future..

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