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Search for Port Royal tenant begins anew

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When Medac Inc. struck a deal with North Augusta officials last month to relocate its headquarters across the river, Dennis Trotter was sent back to the drawing board.

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The approximately 122,000-square-foot interior has been stripped, leaving only a few murals and installations from Fort Discovery.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
The approximately 122,000-square-foot interior has been stripped, leaving only a few murals and installations from Fort Discovery.

Trotter, an Augusta broker, spent about a year wooing the medical billing company based in west Augusta to the downtown Augusta riverfront property that once housed retail shops and later the Fort Discovery science museum. The 120,000-square-foot property has sat vacant since Fort Discovery closed in 2010, and Medac looked like a promising fit.

In April, Medac announced that it would build its own office, spending $12 million for a two-story structure near the city’s municipal building.

In the process of courting Medac to the Port Royal building, Trotter turned away two “large employers” that were interested in the property. And now he’s trying to get them back.

“We’d been focused so hard on getting Medac to work, and unfortunately it didn’t,” said Trotter, a partner in the Jordan Trotter commercial development firm. “They’re a great company and I wish them all the success in the world in their North Augusta project, but we will get somebody down there that’s going to put a lot of people in downtown, and we’re still excited about it.”

Trotter said he’s currently talking with one of the previous companies, which isn’t local, that showed initial interest in the building.

Trotter, who represents the property’s California-based owner, said they’re open to leasing the space out to two or three large tenants. The building was purchased in 2012 by developer Moshe Silagi and has been stripped to bare concrete floors and columns to be retrofitted for new tenants.

Trotter said he’d like to see a 250-seat theater on the second floor of the space remain intact and turned into a selling point.

“We’ve still got a great opportunity for another major employer to come downtown,” he said. “We’ve got kind of the blueprints on how to make the transaction work from a parking standpoint and a logistic standpoint.”

The city’s downtown development authority also is marketing the property through its retail consultant, its executive director said. Retail Strategies LLC, the Alabama-based retail consultant contracted by the DDA to bring retail downtown, planned to market the property this week at the International Council of Shopping Centers show in Las Vegas, Margaret Woodard said.

“It’s a great location,” she said. “It’s on our beautiful Riverwalk. It’s a great structure. It’s wide open. It’s got great bones. It’s in great shape.”

But a potential parking lot on vacant city-owned land just two blocks down the street, however, is no longer on the table. Voters shot down on Tuesday a $194.3 million sales tax package, known as SPLOST 7, which included a $1.5 million allocation to the DDA for a “surface parking lot” at 511 Reynolds St. The lot was initially proposed as an incentive for Medac.

Trotter didn’t disclose full details of the proposal but said a separate parking agreement had been worked out in the Medac deal.

He pointed out that even once a potential tenant shows interest, it takes months of discussion to make a project feasible.

“It’s a long process to make a transaction like that work,” Trotter said. “It’s such a huge deal for the property owner and the tenant and the city.”

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Butterman
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Butterman 05/21/14 - 06:41 pm
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1
Kwatinetz
Unpublished

I thought Matt Kwatinetz was the one brokering this deal? Don't you remember when a news reporter asked him about the closed door meetings and he retorted back with "Back off! You're going to ruin this deal!" Now there is no mention of Mr. Kwatinetz. I guess since he will not be getting $5.25 million in SPLOST money, he has moved on to greener pastures.

corgimom
34681
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corgimom 05/21/14 - 09:17 pm
1
5
Yeah, it takes a long time to

Yeah, it takes a long time to find somebody to buy a white elephant.

Butterman
3690
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Butterman 05/21/14 - 09:26 pm
1
1
SPLOST
Unpublished

How much you want to bet that someone tried to sneak in $millions for this white elephant in next year's SPLOST package do-over?

WarrenvilleRepublican
161
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WarrenvilleRepublican 05/21/14 - 10:30 pm
1
0
Here lies the rub

"The city’s downtown development authority also is marketing the property through its retail consultant, its executive director said. Retail Strategies LLC, the Alabama-based retail consultant contracted by the DDA to bring retail downtown"

Alabama based? Really? We need an Alabama consultant marketing Augusta?

my.voice
4930
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my.voice 05/21/14 - 10:35 pm
3
2
This elephant is pink. Not

This elephant is pink. Not sure how you'd put a 400 employee firm there to be honest. You gonna park them on the levee?

dickworth1
954
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dickworth1 05/22/14 - 04:44 am
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Why Augusta?
Unpublished

You just have to look at the city government, not just commissioners, but all departments and the people in charge that just do not have a clue. Most people that deal with the city know exactly how difficult the workers can be, arrogant and most do not know how to explain anything to the citizens. Remember Titleist, and this outlet mall is not built yet and let's not forget about bass pro shop. Why would anyone want to locate in Augusta with theattitudes of the local government and its employees?

Riverman1
87512
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Riverman1 05/22/14 - 06:24 am
4
1
Any Guesses On Where Parking Would Be?

"Trotter didn’t disclose full details of the proposal but said a separate parking agreement had been worked out in the Medac deal."

Oh, I have an idea where the parking would be and who would profit from the agreement.

They set up basketball goals in the TEE Center this summer, maybe they should turn Port Royal into something like that. Maybe roller derby? Hopscotch? Jump Rope?

Riverman1
87512
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Riverman1 05/22/14 - 08:30 am
2
0
Since we gave the TEE Center

Since we gave the TEE Center to the Marriott, Port Royal should be given to the Ramada.

countyman
20724
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countyman 05/22/14 - 10:32 am
1
2
Developers

Why not Augusta?

The city has the second fastest growing tech sector in Georgia(Atlanta).. Augusta ranked 2nd in the nation between 2006-2011 and 12th between 2010-2011..

The first new hotel to open downtown in decades is up and running(Holiday Inn Express).. The first new residential construction(non renovation) downtown in decades begins soon at 1399 Walton Way($11 million 4 story Canalside)... Both Rural Sourcing and Southpoint Media have opened in the Enterprise Mill and other companies like Augusta Lung Associates are on Broad...

The Peach Orchard road corridor in South Augusta is beginning to grow and bring the national chains the residents desperately wanted..

The growth at the local airport since 2007 has been amazing.. The Augusta Regional Industrial Park and General Perry Smith pkwy will only help attract large private businesses near the airport..

The outlet mall hasn't broke ground yet at the VAR.. The Cabelas and Costco are open to the public. The new movie theater featuring the full service restaurant will break ground soon. The Cabelas is only 1 of three locations in the entire southeast and the first in Georgia.. The Costco is the only location in Georgia outside metro Atlanta and South Carolina has a total of four.. Bass Pro shops didn't break ground in Columbia County either...

Pops
10930
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Pops 05/22/14 - 07:20 pm
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1
"The city has the second fastest growing tech sector in Georgia

(Atlanta).. Augusta ranked 2nd in the nation between 2006-2011 and 12th between 2010-2011.."

What exactly defines "tech sector"?
Is that Augusta or Metro Augusta?

Gage Creed
17989
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Gage Creed 05/22/14 - 08:15 pm
0
1
FACTS are pesky things!

Checking my calendar... 5-22-14.... 2011 is gone...long gone!

Butterman
3690
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Butterman 05/23/14 - 11:39 am
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BS HQ
Unpublished

Maybe countyman can buy the property and move his center for BS studies there. He will have all the room in the world to make up lists and rankings

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