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Bass Pro asked for $10 million from county to cover store construction

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 5:15 PM
Last updated Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 1:36 AM
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Columbia County officials said Bass Pro Shops asked for additional incentives, such as $10 million to build the store, to avert its decision to back out of a deal to locate a retail store near Interstate 20.

Word got out Tuesday that the outdoor retail chain had changed its mind about locating a 50,000-square-foot store in metro Augusta.

County Administrator Scott John­son said Bass Pro informed them of its decision during a Sept. 27 conference call. Johnson said the company wanted more incentives to stick with the plan, including “the cost of their vertical construction up to $10 million.”

Johnson said the demands were unreasonable and not something the county could consider.

The Bass Pro Shops Outpost on Mason McKnight Jr. Park­way, near the intersection of In­terstate 20 and Flowing Wells Road, would have created more than 200 jobs. It was announced in late July, a day before competitor, Cabela’s Inc., announced that it would locate a store in Augusta, in a spot previously considered by Bass Pro in 2008.

Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said company officials said they didn’t think the Augusta market was big enough for both stores, something that Bass Pro Shops denied in a written statement issued Wednesday.

As for the last minute change in demands, developer Mason McKnight III said a similar situation occurred the last time his company was about to close a deal with Bass Pro to build a 100,000-sqaure-foot store off Riverwatch Parkway in Augusta. That plan – announced in 2008 – never got off the ground.

McKnight said he flew to Las Vegas to finalize the contract with company officials and was met with a set of additional requests for concessions on his part.

“It was a bunch of outrageous demands,” he said. “I thought we had a deal.”

McKnight said he had no choice but to walk away.

McKnight said in the most recent deal, his company and county officials worked for about eight months to sign a contract with Bass Pro. The deal provided that Bass Pro Shops would purchase eight acres from McKnight and donate six acres to the county. In turn, the county would install and maintain a public parking lot, which was also to be used as a park-and-ride program for I-20 motorists, Johnson said.

McKnight said he sensed something was wrong with the most recent deal when the company didn’t file any plans or permits and didn’t send a sign to post on the property advertising the new development.

In a statement Wednesday, the company denied it was concerned about competition with Cabela’s.

“Frankly, we face competition in most markets, but we continue to thrive in spite of it because of our exceptional employees and the outstanding products and services we provide,” wrote Tammy Sapp, the director of communications for Bass Pro Shops.

According to Sapp, the statement was issued “to respond to and provide clarification in regard to some grossly inaccurate statements that have been made in the press.”

Instead, the statement cited Bass Pro Shops’ concerns about sharing a parking lot, which the county planned to install and maintain as a public lot.

“…In the process of our negotiations for the site, there were several instances where there was a lack of disclosure, the least of which involved the development of a park-and-ride program. We were led to believe this would be a parking lot for Bass Pro Shops’ customers,” the statement said.

Johnson said that statement made no sense to him.

“They knew about the parking lot from the beginning,” he said. “The parking lot was the deal.”

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Austin Rhodes
2989
Points
Austin Rhodes 10/03/13 - 04:27 pm
6
1
* AHEM *

Yup.

nocnoc
49129
Points
nocnoc 10/03/13 - 04:47 pm
8
0
They must of been confused about who they were.

That's only done for Hotels and Baseball stadiums in this neck of the woods.

Either way they just gave a major competitor a good toe hold in the area.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 10/03/13 - 05:00 pm
0
0
My wife
Unpublished

will still go fishin' without them dang yankees.

Riverman1
93608
Points
Riverman1 10/03/13 - 05:19 pm
5
1
Yup, again.

Yup, again. Like Ron Cross said.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 10/03/13 - 05:32 pm
10
1
Mob Shakedown
Unpublished

Hooray for Augusta! A typical mob shake down tactic and this time Augusta saw it coming. Now, go after them in court! The RICO Act should fit. Ten million dollars for two hundred jobs. That is Fifty thousand a job. Liars can figure but the figures do not lie.

augusta citizen
10021
Points
augusta citizen 10/03/13 - 06:46 pm
9
0
Hope it's clear.

If Bass Pro made these last minute ridiculous demands, then I'm glad they were promptly shown the door and I have no problem dropping them from my usual online Christmas ordering. I do hope that these demands were in writing since our local folks are being so vocal about it. Obviously Bass Pro is following the press being generated about them here.

Austin Rhodes
2989
Points
Austin Rhodes 10/03/13 - 06:55 pm
6
2
I hope they are following the press...

...and I double damn dog dare them to tell us to stop.

Trust me...if any of us get such an embarrassing detail like this wrong, we get calls, emails, letters, etc. demanding corrections, retractions and Holy Water sprinkled at Midnight.

No such requests have been made.

Fiat_Lux
16422
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/03/13 - 07:55 pm
6
0
Pure sleaze

I'm not sorry they pulled out, but it sure sticks in my craw the underhanded, sleazy way they did it.

I know a lot of fishermen and hunters from Apalachicola up to Rochester, NY, and I sure won't be singing Bass Pro Shop's praises to them.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 10/03/13 - 08:31 pm
9
0
They just picked the wrong place to build....

Fred Russell would have gladly paid the 10 million....probably call it a future regency lake fish gear tax....

Gage Creed
19397
Points
Gage Creed 10/03/13 - 08:48 pm
5
0
Say it ain't so...

From the AC 11/15/2011.... "The commission also committed to give Costco a majority of sales-tax dollars generated by the wholesale store’s sales to help pay back a $10 million loan the developers obtained to finance site preparation costs."

Gage Creed
19397
Points
Gage Creed 10/03/13 - 08:50 pm
7
0
So it sounds like $10M must

So it sounds like $10M must be the going price?

RedQuinoa
2934
Points
RedQuinoa 10/03/13 - 09:04 pm
4
0
Hmmmph!

Ain't NOBODY got time f'dat!!

Lee Benedict
1651
Points
Lee Benedict 10/03/13 - 09:50 pm
9
0
I emailed this to Bass

via its online contact page; https://basspro.custhelp.com/app/ask
Do feel free to follow suit.

You have been in the local news lately, and with this news coming to light, please know that I will no longer patronize any of your locations, nor will I purchase gift cards for family and friends. I am going to post a link for you that describes the latest news regarding this matter. But in short, you signed a contract (legal document) to build a store in Columbia County, Georgia. However, in the 11th hour, you requested $10,000,000. To my surprise, and you would have to be familiar with this government to discern fully why I was surprised, you were shown the door. In short, Bass Pro Shops' word means nothing, and that being the case, you will not receive another cent from this household. If you can sign a legal document and then play chicken and then weasel out of the agreement, I cannot help but wonder if the same holds true for the quality of your products and the veracity of your exchange/return policy. If I may speculate for a moment, with all of the negative press in this area and the social media exposure related thereto, you will probably receive $10,000,000 of advertising free of charge. Thank you.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/business/2013-10-03/bass-pro-asked-10-...

Riverman1
93608
Points
Riverman1 10/03/13 - 10:21 pm
7
1
A couple of points

A couple of points. I was telling y'all yesterday that Cross was right about all this. Dang, thought I'd get my eyes poked out from all the thumbs downers coming my way for supporting him. Heh.

But back to Bass Pro...they make billions a years. This little bit of bad publicity in our little town isn't going to bother them one iota.

I was disappointed that Cabela's is building a smaller store than their norm and the BP store was going to be small, too. I want the real deal Evander Holyfield.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 10/03/13 - 10:37 pm
2
7
Facts

Costco never asked for $10 million in additional incentives. The city allowed the retailer to keep some of the sales tax they generate for a couple of years. Richmond County didn't have to build a public parking lot, and maintain it either.

tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 10/03/13 - 10:40 pm
1
0
Riverman1
93608
Points
Riverman1 10/03/13 - 10:45 pm
5
0
Costco is keeping the tax for

Costco is keeping the tax for more than a couple of years.

countyman
21630
Points
countyman 10/03/13 - 11:15 pm
1
6
Facts

Costco opened in 2011 and they have eight years left to keep some of their sales tax.... They still didn't ask for additional incentives up to $10 million...

Columbia County might didn't let the Bojangles on South Belair rd in Martinez keep some of their sales tax, but they still offered them incentives to help the construction.

''As for the last minute change in demands, developer Mason McKnight III said a similar situation occurred the last time his company was about to close a deal with Bass Pro to build a 100,000-sqaure-foot store off Riverwatch Parkway in Augusta. That plan – announced in 2008 – never got off the ground. McKnight said he flew to Las Vegas to finalize the contract with company officials and was met with a set of additional requests for concessions on his part. “It was a bunch of outrageous demands,” he said. “I thought we had a deal.” McKnight said he had no choice but to walk away.''

Why didn't Fred Russell pay gladly back in 2008? Especially since the North Richmond store was 100,000 SQ. FT. compared to the recent proposal in Martinez.

Riverman1
93608
Points
Riverman1 10/04/13 - 05:45 am
5
0
That's a Lot of Moolah

Keeping the local portion of the sales tax of Costco for a decade is a huge amount of money. It would be interesting if the Chronicle can find out how many million it will be. But I'm not taking up for any local government that wants to give away that kind of money for a retail store of any kind. Richmond County also paid for improvements to the access road for the Costco store in West Augusta. In contrast when has Walmart ever asked for such concessions? Columbia County shouldn't have given Bojangles anything either although it was peanuts compared to what Costco got and Bass Pro wanted.

nocnoc
49129
Points
nocnoc 10/04/13 - 05:32 am
3
0
Unanswered question

Quoting the Oct 4th, 2013 article # 1:36am
"McKnight said he flew to Las Vegas to finalize the contract with company officials ...

Since Bass Pro Shops, Headquarters is in Springfield, MO.

Why Las Vegas ?
They only have a store there.

nocnoc
49129
Points
nocnoc 10/04/13 - 05:47 am
5
0
BTW: what does 8 to 10 years of getting to keep some

sales and other tax revenue add up to?

Costco's stores average about $160 million in annual sales per store, and about $3 million in weekly sales per store.
http://www.istockanalyst.com/finance/story/6429143/costco-wholesale-corp...

@ JUST 1% that is $1,600,000.00

Multiply that by 10 YEARS and that sure looks like a lot more than $10M

Riverman1
93608
Points
Riverman1 10/04/13 - 05:48 am
8
1
Lose-Lose Situation

Nocnoc, thanks for answering my question so fast. So Costco is getting over $10 million. What ticks me off is during that ten year period the county is losing the tax that would have been generated by the business lost at the other taxpaying stores. We all know some of the Sam's business went to Costco. This is a lose-lose situation.

Riverman1
93608
Points
Riverman1 10/04/13 - 05:50 am
2
0
Why Vegas?

Because what happens in Vegas.....

csrareader
1288
Points
csrareader 10/04/13 - 06:04 am
5
3
Bass Pro Shops will be just fine in the long run

Columbia County needed the retailer far, far, far more than the retailer needed Columbia County. Frankly, I thought the location was odd from the first announcement. That exit can't handle the current traffic. I avoid the exit at all costs now, and don't think a Bass Pro Shops location would change my shopping habits. The Costco and Cabela's location is a different story. I'm not a Richmond County fan, but they have the perfect location for the retailer.

belle
311
Points
belle 10/04/13 - 06:32 am
0
0
Hopefully....
Unpublished

From the AC 11/15/2011.... "The commission also committed to give Costco a majority of sales-tax dollars generated by the wholesale store’s sales to help pay back a $10 million loan the developers obtained to finance site preparation costs."

Without seeing the contract, I can only assume (or choose to assume) that once they have reached the 10 million they would no longer keep the sales tax. Question is, who's watching?

seenitB4
97387
Points
seenitB4 10/04/13 - 06:38 am
4
2
Look in the mirror

You don't call your place a slum & think others will run toward you...have a majority on freebies & think THAT doesn't matter...the whole of the CSRA....something is dragging ya down..try to figure this out.

seenitB4
97387
Points
seenitB4 10/04/13 - 06:39 am
4
1
So true

Columbia County needed the retailer far, far, far more than the retailer needed Columbia County

my.voice
5167
Points
my.voice 10/04/13 - 07:06 am
6
1
All Austin Rhodes appears to

All Austin Rhodes appears to be concerned with is he got to the story first. All hail AR! Get over yourself, brother.

Did it ever occur to anyone that BPS knew the county would balk? Just sayin'......

nocnoc
49129
Points
nocnoc 10/04/13 - 07:29 am
3
0
No dig on the AC or AR.

But electronic media has a lighting speed advantage over printed stories.

Even the AC electronic edition must conform to same fact checked & legal checks for credibility, where the spoken word can be denied and updated, and corrected on the fly.

bdouglas
5777
Points
bdouglas 10/04/13 - 07:48 am
2
0
nocnoc said: "sales and other

nocnoc said:
"sales and other tax revenue add up to?

Costco's stores average about $160 million in annual sales per store, and about $3 million in weekly sales per store.

@ JUST 1% that is $1,600,000.00

Multiply that by 10 YEARS and that sure looks like a lot more than $10M"

Your math is off. The $1.6 million a year you quote is 1% of their *revenue*, not the sales tax collected. They are getting a PORTION of the county's share of the sales tax...because the county only has the authority to give up their portion and no more. 8% sales tax on the $160 million a year you mentioned would be $12.8 million, and the county might get 1% of that normally, which would be the $1.6 million you mentioned. But Costco is only getting to keep a portion of that, and not all of it. It's still a lot of money, but it is a regular concession that municipalities often make in exchange for the jobs and new spending a retailer will generate. Not to mention that it's revenue that the municipality wouldn't have been getting to start with. If Costco hadn't built, I doubt we'd even be talking about a movie theater and Cabela's yet and we'd still be looking at an expensive intersection and entrance into a field of weeds.

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