Bass Pro Shops not coming

Efforts to bring Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops to Augusta have failed, according to City Administrator Fred Russell.

"There have been extensive conversations, but at this point I'm not optimistic," he said. "If it does materialize in the future, it would be a welcome surprise."

The development was first reported Tuesday by television station WRDW.

This week marks the third anniversary of the sporting goods giant's announcement that it would build a 100,000-square-foot "destination" store at the Village at Riverwatch development flanked by Interstate 20 and River Watch Parkway.

The company later placed that project -- and others across the country -- on hold.

Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Richmond County Development Authority, said he has no formal notice that the Bass Pro project is finished.

Incentives used to lure Bass Pro included $25 million in tax-exempt financing arranged by the authority before the 2008 announcement, he said, adding that the inducement resolution ultimately adopted remains valid and could still be used.

Larry Whiteley, the company's manager of communications and outdoor education, said in an e-mail Tuesday that Bass Pro has no new information to reveal.

"I wouldn't believe any rumors you hear," he said. "When or if everything is ready to be announced we will hold a press conference or send out a media release."

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

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