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MCG Foundation negotiates deal to buy city bus depot

Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 2:41 PM
Last updated Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013 1:20 AM
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Medical College of Georgia Foundation Inc. has negotiated a deal to buy the bus depot the city voted nearly one year ago to sell to a company developing a Walmart.

Foundation president and CEO James Osborne said six months of discussions with the city and the developer, Blanchard and Calhoun, resulted in a revised plan that allows the foundation to buy the bus depot. Osborne said the purchase could be complete in mid-January, but he would not disclose the price.

Last January, the Augusta Commission voted behind closed doors to sell the bus depot after a proposal by Blanchard and Calhoun. It was later transferred to the Augusta Land Bank Authority. The foundation, which had a longtime interest in buying the property and at one time offered $1 million, was upset at the deal.

Tommy Saul, the vice president of Blanchard and Calhoun, said the project will move along more quickly with the foundation involved because it owns an adjacent shopping center on 15th Street with a Kroger grocery store.

Osborne said no development plans have been finalized. Discussions continue with Walmart to build a 40,000-square-foot store, but the foundation and developer Jim Hull are also talking to Kroger and at least two other grocery stores, which Osborne would not name.

“We expect we’re going to get one of those to sign on the dotted line in the next six months,” he said.

The foundation also recently purchased parcels at Walton Way and Chafee Street – where a Chinese restaurant and TitleMax are located – and two apartment buildings between the bus depot and Walton Way, Osborne said. Although several layouts are being considered, the buildings will likely be demolished to create a gateway to the medical campus.

A grocery store – either a Walmart Neighborhood Market or another brand – will be the centerpiece of the 25-acre development, with additional retail, restaurants and other amenities, Osborne said.

Russell said he was not ready to discuss details of the sale or development. Moving the bus depot and securing a grocery store in the area is still a major goal, he said.

Development of the property has not moved as quickly as Russell wanted, but he’s hopeful a solution is near. Negotiations continue over the price for a new bus depot off Mike Padgett Highway, he said.

Plans for another Walmart on Wrightsboro Road are closer to fruition. A site and engineering plan for a 152,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter are being reviewed, said George Patty, Augusta’s director of Planning and Development.

Walmart Stores East Business Unit spokesman Bill Wertz said the corporation is not ready to send the Wrightsboro Road project out for construction bids but it anticipates an early 2014 completion date.

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Conservative Man
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Conservative Man 01/05/13 - 03:53 pm
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FYI....

....I heard months ago. this has been the plan all along.....this parcel was put into the land bank specifically to negate competition from outside bidders.....

Also heard that Commissioners were lied to,by those who put this deal together in order to make this happen....

corgimom
38742
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corgimom 01/05/13 - 04:30 pm
9
1
The former Commissioners had

The former Commissioners had to be the most gullible people on the face of the Earth. Between the TEE center and now this- it's just sad.

rebellious
22034
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rebellious 01/05/13 - 05:23 pm
7
0
Whatz that game

where a pea is hidden under a cup and the three cups are rotated to different positions, then you try to guess where it is?

Dr. Azziz is one slippery wabbit, isn't he!

Riverman1
94247
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Riverman1 01/05/13 - 05:31 pm
5
0
Blueprint for How to Save Downtown

This is the blueprint for how to save downtown Augusta. Encourage MCG-ASU to expand in the downtown area. Replace shoddy businesses with facilities that employ people and provide their own police protection. The Foundation has always wanted that land to build an alumni facility, possibly with a motel. There's still the Kroger on Foundation land for a grocery store.

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/05/13 - 06:01 pm
3
8
This is great news, but the

This is great news, but the development is located in the Medical District/Harrisburg which is not downtown.

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/05/13 - 06:08 pm
2
7
''A grocery store – either a

''A grocery store – either a Walmart Neighborhood Market or another brand – will be the centerpiece of the 25-acre development, with additional retail, restaurants and other amenities, Osborne said.''

Lol... I'm sure the developers will tell us this has absolutely nothing to do with the growth occurring n Richmond County.

GnipGnop
12747
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GnipGnop 01/05/13 - 06:12 pm
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2
huh?

where were you raised? This is most certainly downtown...

Riverman1
94247
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Riverman1 01/05/13 - 08:16 pm
10
2
The Way Countyman Divides the County

Countyman divides up Richmond County in ways unknown to others. He has southeast, southwest, central business district, left central business district, entertainment area, medical district, south of Broad (well, maybe that's Charleston), north of Broad, Ruff House area, gay district, and if you don't know them you are out of luck with an LOL on the end of it. Don't y'all know Augusta is the fastest rising city in the southeast? I'm not sure if that's the southeastern US, Georgia or Richmond County.

Patty-P
3520
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Patty-P 01/05/13 - 09:15 pm
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Riverman

Your post just made my night. 2 thumbs up.

concercitizen
733
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concercitizen 01/05/13 - 09:50 pm
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1
One has to understand the

One has to understand the nature of the grocery business to appreciate the absurdity of this. If this was a prime location for a grocery store, grocery retailers would be pushing each other out of line to be the one to sign on the dotted line. And no chain would build a store right in the same parking lot with an existing store. So, either Kroger would close to make way for the WalMart Neighborhood Market, or Kroger would undertake an expansion project. Believe me, neither the business or upscale clientele is there to warrant a Kroger expansion. If it was, Kroger would have expanded a long time ago. Sounds like they are trying to put a flower bed in the middle of a desert.

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/05/13 - 09:53 pm
2
9
I didn't create the Central

I didn't create the Central Business District, South Augusta, East Augusta, West Augusta, Midtown, Southwest Augusta, Summerville, Harrisburg, Medical District, Laney Walker, Forest Hills, Hephzibah, Blythe, Mcbean, etc .

The only newer places are 'Midtown' and Southwest Augusta. It's due to the commercial growth along Wrightsboro/Central Ave/Kings Way and the growth along Jimmie Dyess/Gordon Hwy/Belair rd.

The entertainment district will end up being the performing arts center, renovated Miller, upgraded Imperial, Le Chat, etc.

It would be pretty cool if the city of Augusta had a 'gay' district, but we don't even really have a neighborhood yet(Olde Town is the closes one).

Patty-P
3520
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Patty-P 01/05/13 - 09:58 pm
5
0
uh...

we? Who is we?
Anyway, I agree with concercitizen. Where will this Walmart Market thing get it's business? Does that area support something like that?

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/05/13 - 10:13 pm
2
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Concercitizen... The

Concercitizen... The clientele is the Medical District, Olde Town, Summerville, CBD, Waters Edge, etc. In terms of the clientele for metro Augusta and the CSRA it doesn't get much better.

The first Walmart neighborhood market in the metro was announced for the area. Kroger is pretty decent, but it's not Publix/Fresh Market/Trader Joes/Whole Foods.

The Kroger could have expanded years ago, but they know GHSU(owns the Kroger shopping center) wants to build something else on the property. Why expand to be demolish shortly later on?

The good news is hopefully Trader Joes or Publix can move into the train depot on Reynolds or somewhere along Broad. I have a feeling Whole Foods is going to open in the suburbs(i.e West Augusta).

Patty P.. We? = the residents of Augusta.

Can the area support this? Is this even a serious question, because the Medical District is across the street.

dichotomy
37619
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dichotomy 01/05/13 - 10:10 pm
10
0
Did somebody say Southeast

Did somebody say Southeast Richmond County??

Oh....nevermind....this story is about shopping and grocery stores and restaurants. Nothing to do with Southeast Richmond County.

Patty-P
3520
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Patty-P 01/05/13 - 10:16 pm
5
1
Thanks for clarifying countyman.

I can't figure out what you mean when you say 'Medical District.' (I'm not from Augusta). I had to pass by Cherry Tree to get to the hospital area. And I'm quite sure you aren't talking about that area.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 01/05/13 - 10:27 pm
6
1
Yes, it is a serious

Yes, it is a serious question. The only Kroger I can think of in that area didn't seem to be in the best of locations, but I could be wrong.

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/05/13 - 10:42 pm
3
5
Cherry Tree/Sunset is going

Cherry Tree/Sunset is going to be demolished, and the Medical District refers to the numerous medical related buildings in the area.

The shopping center is located right next to Harrisburg. Expect the Kroc Center, cook out restaurant, this development, and the renovation Sibley mill in the future to all transform this side of Harrisburg which needs it the most. The side of Harrisburg facing Summerville is already pretty stable.

I don't understand why you feel the need to ask whether or not the Medical District, Summerville, CBD, Waters Edge, Olde Town, etc could support a new grocery store.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 01/05/13 - 11:01 pm
4
1
You added a lot to my

You added a lot to my original question countyman. I said Medical District. As I stated, I am NOT from Augusta, so I don't know all of the various areas as well unless I google or actually go there and see where they are. Like I said, my faint memory of a Kroger in that area was in a not so great area. And if the new Walmart Market replaces the Kroger, I'd just have to see for myself how that would work out.

GnipGnop
12747
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GnipGnop 01/05/13 - 11:52 pm
7
1
A lot of those shoppers

Will be buying there stuff at the NA Kroger and Walmart...thanks to the TSPLOST.

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/06/13 - 02:16 am
2
6
Lots of planned commercial development!

Patty P.... You not being from Augusta hasn't stopped you from commenting on here before. In fact according to some of the comments the people who don't live here seem to know more than the people actually living here. Just read the comments from people living in Charlotte & Atlanta who comment on here. They swear to know everything going on in Augusta in 2013.. Some can even tell you everything from the type of home sales to how fast Richmond County is growing.

1. 25 acre development in Harrisburg/Medical District.
2. 44 acre development at Walton Way Extension/I-20 in West Augusta...
3. The Carmax area aka Wheeler Town Park(two parcels being cleared near the Gateway residential complex) in West Augusta...
4. The Village at Riverwatch(NCG Cinemas and Home Goods now on the site plan beside Costco) in West Augusta..
5. 13 acre shopping center on Gordon Hwy between Jimmie Dyess/Grovetown in Southwest Augusta.
6. 25 acre shopping center on Jimmie Dyess near Zaxbys in Southwest Augusta.

countyman
21687
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countyman 01/06/13 - 02:19 am
1
6
Full speed ahead in 2013!

This is a great time to live in Richmond County. Of course, I'm positive none of the developments have anything to do with the growth in Richmond County.. The developers just started a new trend where they just build without doing their homework on finding the correct property first. I'm sure they only picked those locations because the land is cheap. We all know Costco(only location in Georgia outside of metro Atlanta) would have built anywhere in metro Augusta, but the land was so cheap in West Augusta.

The only thing left to do is attract one large retailer & grocery store to the CBD. Get additional small businesses to open in Laney Walker, Harrisburg, Summerville, Midtown, Olde Town, etc. A medium shopping area in the city of Hephzibah, and a smaller one in Blythe. Then wait for the Target shopping center to open in South Augusta(probably near the I-520/Windsor Spring/Peach Orchard interchange).

thauch12
7076
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thauch12 01/06/13 - 03:36 am
5
1
Point of Clarification

@countyman, technically you're wrong about the Augusta Costco being the only one in Georgia outside metro Atlanta. There's one in Ringgold/Ft. Oglethorpe, right outside of Chattanooga.

As for growth in Richmond County, I welcome it. As for change in Richmond County, I'll believe it when I see it (aka when it is actually a desirable place to live).

seenitB4
98573
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seenitB4 01/06/13 - 05:49 am
5
2
The post of the year...lol

River you have it!! The way countyman divides the county...GREAT!

countyman some of us have forgotten MORE than you will ever know about Augusta Ga....that goes for corgi too!

Bulldog1
223
Points
Bulldog1 01/06/13 - 09:08 am
1
2
Coming together

Looks like all the activity around the Kroger Center is beginning to come together. We have all expected to see the Southern and Eastern edges of Harrisburg to benefit from expansion of the medical center, but until now, the picture was certainly less clear. As one who watches real estate prices in area pretty regularly, I feel that the time for "bargin basement" prices is just about over. They seem to have stabilized and except for an occasional foreclosure seen to be creeping back up again.

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 01/06/13 - 12:24 pm
1
4
Richmond County is already a

Richmond County is already a desirable place to live.

Voted the 8th best place to retire, and 7th best city to live in recently.

If Richmond County wasn't desirable then West Augusta, Summerville, Forest Hills, etc couldn't have some of the highest property values.

Sweet son
11762
Points
Sweet son 01/06/13 - 01:49 pm
2
1
Way to go Seenit!!!

I really enjoyed your last comment to countyman. He probably doesn't know what was on the Kroger property a long time ago and doesn't know who owned it and gave it to MCG!!

Patty-P
3520
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Patty-P 01/06/13 - 02:02 pm
1
0
countyman...

More clarification. I will continue to voice my opinion about the state of affairs in Augusta because I own property there. I need to know what's going on there. Property values in South Augusta took a complete nosedive in the last 8-10 years. Explain that.

Gage Creed
19456
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Gage Creed 01/06/13 - 02:15 pm
2
0
The oracle has spoken! How

The oracle has spoken! How dare you mere mortals challenge the oracle!

Funny...US News and CNN don't agree with the Oracle

GnipGnop
12747
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GnipGnop 01/06/13 - 06:17 pm
2
1
Also...

Now that NA has sunday alcohol sales expect to see upscale eating estalishments opening there. Sorry Countyman while West Augusta and Summerville and Forest Hills have great property values South Augusta does not. I might also point out that with falling property values also comes the eventual lowering of property taxes. (or when the unfair tax system is overturned in a court of law) When that happens the cash cow of taxes that flows to the CBD will dry up.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 01/06/13 - 06:57 pm
1
0
GnipGnop it may already be

GnipGnop it may already be drying up.

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