Potential buyer slows demolition of Regency

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Inspectors will go inside Regency Mall for the first time in several years, although the promise of a buyer continues to slow the arrival of a demolition crew.

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"We commissioners disagree on a lot," Augusta Commission member Bill Lockett said, "but when we have a location which borders so many commissioners and we can't get something done about it, something's wrong with that picture."

Lockett, who made Regency a campaign issue and frequently dissents on the city's plans to reorganize government, questioned Monday progress the city was making with the former shopping mall, once Georgia's largest. It has stood substantially vacant on Gordon Highway since anchor tenant Montgomery Ward moved out a decade ago.

City Administrator Fred Russell presented an April 22 letter from mall owner Alan Cardinale during Monday's Administrative Services Committee meeting.

"They're currently negotiating with a potential purchaser," Russell said.

As it prepares to construct a flood control project nearby, the city hopes "that someone would come in there and do a private project," Russell said. The water feature is included in Augusta's master plan, whose "priority corridor" stretches from downtown to Rocky Creek, which borders the mall.

No buyer has materialized, and the mall's Mattituck, N.Y.-based owners have paid only partial taxes on them since 2009, when the Richmond County Board of Assessors reassessed the properties.

The owners appealed the ruling, and the Board of Equalization returned the value from $16 million to $4.2 million. The assessors board appealed, and that appeal is still being litigated.

During a 2009 campaign speech, Lockett, who then served on the assessors board, said the mall reassessment was an effort "to force these people who own it to either sell it or develop it." He later retracted the statement.

A committee motion Monday directed inspectors to go inside the mall to determine whether it might violate the city's mothballed properties ordinance.

The site lost its last known occupant when a Richmond County Marshal's Office substation moved to a new building March 22.

In other commission business, Augusta is no closer to having a private company run its bus service, after Russell said Monday that a separate work session was needed for the commission to review a proposal from Mobility Transit Services LLC.

The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company was selected from three qualified bidders by an evaluation committee, and Mobility Transit Services representative Kevin Adams appeared at Monday's meeting.

The work session, likely to be held in the next few weeks, was welcomed by Lockett, who said he has many questions.

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TrulyWorried
16644
Points
TrulyWorried 04/25/11 - 07:17 pm
0
0
Turn out the lights - the

Turn out the lights - the party's over - at least we can save some money on the light bill.
Good grief - what's next???
I don't think anything can be accomplished in the glorious "Garden City of the South".

countyman
21682
Points
countyman 04/25/11 - 08:02 pm
0
0
The Regency Mall is private

The Regency Mall is private property.. Cities can't just demolish private property without first taking many steps.. The new $1 million Marshall's office is now open on Deans Bridge road in South Augusta.. The Marshall was the last tenant to leave the mall.... The lights are officially turned off in the mall..

I'm wondering what the buyer is thinking of turning the former mall into.. The new lake by Regency Mall will go along perfect with a renovated property.. If the potential buyer doesn't work out in the next three to four months.. I think we should go ahead and try to have the building razed... Then turn the property into a huge public park with soccer fields, tennis courts, bmx track, skateboard park, baseball fields, walking track/trails, and basketball gyms.. Name the area Rocky Creek park to fit in with the Richmond County master plan....

AutumnLeaves
10343
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/25/11 - 08:02 pm
0
0
I was stunned that the

I was stunned that the Marshall's department was still there, when it was mentioned in the media recently. I'm glad they are out of there. Too bad the new Marshall's department doesn't have a bird's-eye view of at least a mile radius around it, considering the number of criminal activities going on in the surrounding area, maybe they should, with a link-up straight to the sheriff's department (which, last I heard, does not include emergency/911 dispatch, that is or was a separate entity).

countyman
21682
Points
countyman 04/25/11 - 08:31 pm
0
0
Autumn, The new Marshall

Autumn, The new Marshall substation is apart of a much bigger picture.. The Dover-Lyman neighborhood belongs to the Rocky Creek area in the Richmond County master plan completed last year.. The groundbreaking for the first renovated home in the neighborhood happen on March 31, 2010.. There's a major infrastructure project underway or completed in the area.. Along with a new playground and Marshall's office..

The city of Augusta, South Augusta Redevelopment, and South Augusta Pastors Alliance all have big plans for the area.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/25/11 - 10:05 pm
0
0
"I think we should go ahead

"I think we should go ahead and try to have the building razed..."

So, because someone's private property doesnt fit into a bogus "Master Plan", lets take it, even though the taxes are up to date, and bulldoze it. While we are at it, lets scrap all the cars that are for sale that have dents, the homes for sale that have high grass...

Hey countyman, the Roller Derby girls need a new rink... where do you live? Id like to do a little remodeling to YOUR property...

bclicious
770
Points
bclicious 04/25/11 - 10:05 pm
0
0
It's a shame that they have

It's a shame that they have to demolish the building, it seemed like prime real estate to me. With that, vacant buildings do nothing, but create eyesores and promote crime.

Riverman1
94239
Points
Riverman1 04/26/11 - 03:34 am
0
0
All we can do is hope the

All we can do is hope the owner or whoever buys it does something positive with the property. Richmond County is broke...$9 million short of paying the bills... and can't afford to take on anything else.

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 04/26/11 - 04:48 am
0
0
The drastic raising of the

The drastic raising of the taxes certainly wasn't going to work and hopefully NO taxpayer would ever agree with any government entity doing something such as this. Lockett, really ruined it all by running off at the mouth and stating exactly why they raised the taxes so high - Now, because of these actions, we as a county are once again waisting money on lawyers and time being in court.

Countyman once again reminds us how great our city is (actully it is pretty good but could be so much better - just be a realist)...anyways, it is great because...The city of Augusta, South Augusta Redevelopment, and South Augusta Pastors Alliance all have big plans for the area. Of course they do Countyman....ALL of these groups rely soley on OTHER PEOPLES MONEY so they want nothing but the best for us....

Brad Owens
4914
Points
Brad Owens 04/26/11 - 05:25 am
0
0
countryman never lists

countryman never lists private investment, he always gives us a long list of giverment property and projects.

How about we leave the people alone?

Oh by the way, the drainage "lake" as he puts it, will cost us 2million.

Regency Du Lac, AHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Brad

DawgnSC69
287
Points
DawgnSC69 04/26/11 - 06:32 am
0
0
The mall is not the only

The mall is not the only things that needs attention. The whole area along Gordon highway needs vast improvements. Take a drive from the Savannah River all the way to BBJ Exwy. It's a sad sight. I'm embarrased for Augusta when visitors and newcomers make that drive. I had to pick up a friend from the airport and drove through that area and he was like what is going on here?

It almost looks like a 3rd world country and kind of reminds me of what the city looks like on the Disney movie Wall-E. That area needs major work to improve the landscape. Very sad sight.

JustSpeakingMyMind
203
Points
JustSpeakingMyMind 04/26/11 - 06:51 am
0
0
The Marshal's new office at

The Marshal's new office at Deans Bridge and Dover is and will prove to be a much needed attraction to the area. The steady flow of Marshal's deputy's in and out of the neighborhood will most certainly deter things from occuring as frequently as they have in the past. Also for those who keep score on here Marshal in this case only has one "L".

DAMY46
0
Points
DAMY46 04/26/11 - 07:25 am
0
0
What investor/fool would buy

What investor/fool would buy the Regency mall?--Just asking a question..Btw, what would they do with it once they buy it?

airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 04/26/11 - 07:26 am
0
0
Well Said, Taylor B And why

Well Said, Taylor B
And why are City Inspectors going inside Regency Mall (private property)? Are they looking for something? Do they have the money to buy it or are they window shopping? Do they have a key? What is mothballed properties ordinance? Is mold still growing on the walls at the sherriffs office?(401) And water pipes leaking on the employees?
Ever heard Sweep your own doorstep before you get on mine.

DAMY46
0
Points
DAMY46 04/26/11 - 07:31 am
0
0
Let's look at this a

Let's look at this a different way--Say I am an investor with $5 million cash---I would be far ahead buying an 18 section cattle/wheat ranch in Montana than that place..Am I missing something here?--Tell me I am wrong....

Brad Owens
4914
Points
Brad Owens 04/26/11 - 09:20 am
0
0
airbud, the mothball ord is

airbud, the mothball ord is in place to help make sure properties are not abandoned and become health hazzards.

It is a very good piece of law and I helped get it passed.

Sonny pittman was one of the folks that really pushed it and helped get it through.
I suggested over three years ago that they use it to force the owners hands on this site.

Not so much to make a problme for them as to make them get reasonable on their actions. They really have done nothing to maintain the building and it will eventually cause bigger problems if they are not keeping it up.

I would like to turn it into one big paintball feild inside, and motor cross tracks outside.

Brad

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/26/11 - 09:42 am
0
0
The city has buildings they

The city has buildings they need to take care of also, like the library. I guess they will sit on that until its absolutely worthless. The city is also responsible for the Golf and Gardens fiasco... Id rather an empty building generate tax money than a tax dollar pit that reduces it. These people cant even get downtown parking correct or keep the Riverwalk clean. Fort Discovery, anyone?

Brad Owens
4914
Points
Brad Owens 04/26/11 - 10:33 am
0
0
I agree Taylor..what are we

I agree Taylor..what are we going to do about it?

Lets turn Regency into a regional counter drug and terrorist training center..

Brad

airbud7
1
Points
airbud7 04/26/11 - 10:37 am
0
0
Private Property Keep

Private Property Keep Out!!!
If the city is looking for a loophole to take possession of this Private Property...I see Lawsuit...And we all know how Augusta fairs on Lawsuits.
And it looks like the N.Y.-based owners don't mind playing hardball!
In other words, taxpayers...Get out your Wallets!!!

BamaMan
2687
Points
BamaMan 04/26/11 - 11:22 am
0
0
From what I remember, the

From what I remember, the whole place is eaten up with mold. I think the best idea to date is to raze it, disinfect the ground and build an outlet mall. A town the size of this one, and no outlet mall. Shameful. Have to go to at least Columbia.

dani
13
Points
dani 04/26/11 - 11:34 am
0
0
We know the reason that

We know the reason that Regency Mall failed, has anything changed in that area since then, other than it getting worse. Come on folks, you know ver well that you can't attract people to that location.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 04/26/11 - 11:35 am
0
0
The surrounding area of the
Unpublished

The surrounding area of the Regency Mall is so terrible the best thing to do would put something there that cannot be stolen or damaged. I think an outlet mall would be a terrible idea, who would shop there? There would be robberies and kids hanging outside, "Lemme get a dollar man?"

I don't have any bright ideas myself but I would not put merchandise in that location and there have been no buyers because of that very reason. A large gated and fortified factory maybe, but no merchandise.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 04/26/11 - 11:52 am
0
0
If they have a buyer, then

If they have a buyer, then great.. but it seems like we have been hearing that same song and dance for years from these guys. At some point they need to put up or shut up. And didn't the city make an overture to possibly buy the building several years back and the owners said they would not take less than $50 million for it. That's when the tax assessment was raised to $16 million.. far less than what the owners claimed the property was worth. Yes, as private property owners, they have rights that should not be infringed.. but they do not have a right to create a public health hazard and be in violation of city building codes. And they should pay property taxes based on a fair and honest assessment of the property. I believe the $4.2 million is articfically low, now perhaps $16 million is articially high.. it's probably somewhere in between.. but that is a big chunk on land bounded by 2 major highways. I mean if I wanted to have a bunch of rusty junky cars or a rusting trailer on cinder blocks on my front lawn, I would not be able to do that. I would face fines for being out of compliance with city code, not to mention such a thing creates a public health hazard for breeding all sorts. There needs to be a clear and consistent code for minimal maintainance of these mothballed properties and a consistent schedule for inspecting them. I support raising the fee to mothball a property to cover the costs of inspections. Right now it is only $25. BUt you see the rest of us end up paying through reduced property values, yet we don't get the artificially low assessment like the owners of Regency Mall did

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 04/26/11 - 11:54 am
0
0
And why in the world the city

And why in the world the city tax payers are spending over $2,000,000 in SPLOST moneys to build the owners of Regency Mall a free water feature to increase the value of their property (when they have been decreasing the property values of their neighbors for years) is just beyond me, but we can thank Fred Russell for that.

countyman
21682
Points
countyman 04/26/11 - 12:02 pm
0
0
The Regency Mall is located

The Regency Mall is located in a working class area... If certain very low-income ghettos around the united states can be improved.. I'm sure a working class area can become a better place to live...

There's huge mult-million development underway along Gordon Hwy/Sibley rd/Milledgeville rd about 10 minutes away from the mall.. The Endinburgh Pointe community features the Terrace at Endinburgh and Crest at Endinburgh.. The development takes up 14 acres of land..

Taylor, The city can cut the grass at the Golf and Gardens property... But the property still belongs to the state of Georgia.. I'm ready for Augusta to get behind the baseball stadium-mix-use entertainment facility.. there's two major investors behind the project in Cal Ripken Jr and Jim Jacoby.. Tourist would flock to downtown Augusta regularly...

What can the city do about Fort Discovery? Besides helping the owners of the property find potential buyers.. A couple of developers are intrested in the Fort Discovery building...

Brad... If somebody buys the mall then it would be private investment.. If I listed all the private investment happening in Augusta.. Then it would take too many post to complete the list.. The Village at Riverwatch sits upon more than 100 acres for starters...

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/26/11 - 12:57 pm
0
0
I know the Golf Gardens

I know the Golf Gardens belongs to Georgia, I pay those taxes too, along with that extra penny that built the place...

iLove
626
Points
iLove 04/26/11 - 01:26 pm
0
0
One reason is the fact that
Unpublished

One reason is the fact that when many housing projects closed downtown, MANYof the occupants of those projects moved to South Augusta. It seems the city sent them where they [the city] wanted them to go.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 04/26/11 - 01:33 pm
0
0
As far as Regency Mall is

As far as Regency Mall is concerned though. Simply make sure they are in compliance with city codes and ordinances and paying a fair property tax rate (not one set artificially high or low). I have never understood the obsession some commissioners have had over this property. And why they voted to spend $2 million in SPLOST funds to build a pond next to private property (to supposedly increase its value) is just asenine. Actually, some of the worst eyesore in teh county are owned by government entities, especially the school board. Just look at the deteriorating condition of the old Davidson School on Telfair.

Sweet son
11752
Points
Sweet son 04/26/11 - 02:28 pm
0
0
I can remember when it was

I can remember when it was tree covered. I vote demolish it and plant pine trees! Or better yet, build a large project and call it Gilbert/Sunset/Underwood/ or any other project that has been crime ridden through recent history.

augusta citizen
10047
Points
augusta citizen 04/26/11 - 03:05 pm
0
0
I am very much of the same

I am very much of the same mind set as Taylor B, if the owners are paying the taxes, leave them alone. At the same time it should be inspected to assure that it's not a major fire hazard, as I imagine it must be. If it caught on fire the local fire departments would have to go and try to put it out and I imagine a big, old place like that would be an inferno. As far as everyone pointing out what an eyesore it is, definitely, it's an eyesore, but so is the whole stretch of Gordon Hwy around there. I have heard rumors that homeless people live in there and cook, etc. That's scary, I personally would be afraid to go in and inspect it. A potential buyer? I doubt it.

AutumnLeaves
10343
Points
AutumnLeaves 04/26/11 - 07:52 pm
0
0
countyman The Marshall's

countyman The Marshall's department is not the same thing as the Sheriff's department. The Marshalls will go to their scheduled calls on code enforcement. They are not there to police the area you're talking about. They didn't police the Regency Mall area either; that wasn't their job. Otherwise, maybe that home invader wouldn't have been so bold on a nearby street (to the new location) and I wouldn't have already heard about another car break-in in the parking lot across the side-street in front of Villa Europa SINCE the Marshall's department opened up. They still have security at Villa Europa for good reason. Maybe they should just build a new jail at Regency Mall. The buses are dumping parolees out on Deans Bridge Road all the time anyway.

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