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Augusta Commission to consider parking deals

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The Augusta Commission impasse surrounding management of two city-owned parking facilities might be over, if the deal offered by Augusta Riverfront LLC resembles what was generated by the open market when the job was put out for bid earlier this year.

The bottom floor of the new parking deck on Reynolds Street is reserved for landowner 933 Broad LLC.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/FILE
JACKIE RICCIARDI/FILE
The bottom floor of the new parking deck on Reynolds Street is reserved for landowner 933 Broad LLC.

The commission can “take a look at those (bids) and use them as a guideline for what we need to pay the operator of the TEE Center to run the parking deck,” Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles said Friday.

Commissioners have raised multiple questions about the terms of two contracts presented by Jim Plunkett, the city’s special counsel, on many aspects of the $50 million development being paid for with sales, hotel and rental car taxes.

Bowles said he was satisfied with explanations he had found for why Augusta Riverfront LLC, which runs the existing adjacent Marriott convention center, is to operate the deck, and why the city owns only the deck and its air rights, not the dirt beneath with the exception of 0.07 acre.

“The Marriott has an image of quality and customer care, and they want that portrayed in the parking lot under their jurisdiction,” Bowles said.

He and other commissioners, including those who were not yet in office, have found in 2009 meeting minutes where the commission agreed that Augusta Riverfront LLC was to operate the deck, even though managing the deck was later put out for bids.

“We’re coming in on the tail end of this,” said Com­missioner Wayne Guilfoyle, who with Commissioner Grady Smith was elected nearly two years after most of the convention center and a related Laney-Walker redevelopment deal were struck.

Bowles, who met Friday with commissioners Matt Aitken and J.R. Hatney to discuss the deck, agreed with Guilfoyle that evaluating two compliant bids from parking management companies would provide a basis for comparing the proposed agreement with Augusta Riverfront LLC.

According to city bid documents, only two parking management companies responded with compliant bids to Augusta Procurement’s request for proposals.

The bids, from Ampco System, of Houston, and Standard Parking, of Atlanta, have remained under seal since they became due Feb. 18.

CONSTRUCTION OF THE convention center expansion will reduce the Marriott’s 712 parking spaces by nearly half, helping create the need for a new deck and a new management agreement with Augusta Riverfront for what will remain of its original parking supply.

Since Sept. 26, the commission has had two proposals before it, a lease and a management contract.

The 15-year lease has Augusta Riverfront LLC paying the city $50,000 for exclusive use of what’s left of city-owned Marriott parking after construction.

The lease is as good a deal as the city has with Republic Parking, which it pays $25,000 annually to operate the nearly twice as many spaces the city had before construction began, City Administrator Fred Russell said.

Under Republic’s management, the 712 spaces have typically generated about $80,000 in annual revenue for Augusta, Russell said.

At the new deck, the bottom floor of 150 spaces is reserved for landowner 933 Broad LLC, which will use them for long-term parking during regular business hours by businesses located at and adjoining 933 Broad St., Plunkett said.

The proposed agreement has Augusta paying Augusta Riverfront LLC $25,000 annually to manage the entire 650-space deck, but all parking revenue after expenses – from upper floor spaces and first floor spaces after regular business hours – becomes the city’s, Plunkett said.

Managed by the firm that operates the Marriott and the TEE Center, the public spaces will be available at hourly and daily rates to convention attendees and the public, Plunkett said.

An extension of the city’s current parking management agreement goes before the commission Tuesday, while discussion of the two contracts was referred to a later committee meeting.

Russell said Friday he was tired of commissioners questioning his dealmaking ability and doubted comparing the proposals to the bids would get them anywhere.

“I’ve negotiated the best deal I could,” he said.

Comments (46) Add comment
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Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/29/11 - 09:41 pm
0
0
Fred is tired of the

Fred is tired of the commission questioning him? Wait until he gets a load of everyone else...

Riverman1
79461
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Riverman1 10/29/11 - 09:47 pm
0
0
I disappointed the article

I disappointed the article didn't mention the link between The Chronicle, Augusta Riverfront LLC and 933 Broad St. LLC.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 10/29/11 - 09:52 pm
0
0
I call BS

I call BS

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/29/11 - 09:57 pm
0
0
I'd like to see a story

I'd like to see a story explaining in detail Bill Jackson's purchase of a lot for $25,000 and a month later selling it for $125,000 to the city. Apparently, he has said it was actually a trade for another piece of property he had with the understanding that the city would soon need it and he knew he would get $125,000. This was done because of tax implications, it was said.

Is this accurate? Can we have the details of the deal and the assurances given? This wouldn't be circumventing any tax codes would it? I don't know. I'm just asking and want it laid out for the public.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 10/29/11 - 09:58 pm
0
0
Here's a thought.. if this

Here's a thought.. if this 933 Broad Investment LLC, which is a subsidiary of Augusta Riverfront LLC, wants to control the ground level of the deck, then why didn't they acquire that remaining 0.07 parcel from state senator Bill Jackson instead of the city. the city way over paid for that parcel.. $119,000 and they don't even now own the rest of the land where the deck sits.. so if this was supposedly the new deal, then Augusta Riverfront or 933 Broad Investment LCC should have purchased Sen jackson's parcel.

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 10/29/11 - 10:07 pm
0
0
River.. have you been

River.. have you been following this story on facebook? This has all been discussed ad nasueum on there

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/29/11 - 10:10 pm
0
0
Dip, I follow things

Dip, I follow things everywhere...or at least try to. JP has led the way with this. I'm going off much of her work. But for goodness sakes help me out here if you have something to add.

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/29/11 - 10:14 pm
0
0
What is the yearly value of

What is the yearly value of the 150 parking places 933 Broad St LLC will be given?

Dipshot
-5
Points
Dipshot 10/29/11 - 10:25 pm
0
0
River... that's what I was

River... that's what I was getting at.. glad you caught the stink over this from elsewhere since cannot post those links here. But the bigger question is why would anyone think it is a good deal for the city to build a $12 million parking deck on land they do not own.. the city just made a $12 million improvement to someone else's property and then overpaid for the remaining 0.07 parcel owned by State Sen Bill Jackson. Everything about this deal has been for the overwhelming benefit of Augsuta Riverfont LLC and giving the taxpayers the shaft, and it looks like some people who work for the city were in on it. Please don't tell me Joe Bowles is this gullible? Just when you think there is some hope for the guy.. he goes and pulls this.

Little Lamb
43831
Points
Little Lamb 10/29/11 - 10:38 pm
0
0
Fred (What, me worry?)

Fred (What, me worry?) Russell said:

“I’ve negotiated the best deal I could.”

Sorry, Fred, but it's not good enough. If that's the best you can do, then you need to resign and leave town.

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 10/29/11 - 10:53 pm
0
0
Very interesting. It was OK

Very interesting. It was OK for the LLC(s?) to own the land under the deck but NOT Senator Jackson? Somebody's got some REAL 'splainin' to do on that one!

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 10/29/11 - 11:02 pm
0
0
River, your numbers are off.

River, your numbers are off. Jackson bought out his deceased partner's interest in this 0.07 lot for $24,000 and sold it within a month to Augusta Richmond County for $119,000. They had owned it since 1969. Neither your nor I would have wanted to pay capital gains, if the land could be swapped. Sen. Jackson 'found' two tiny parcels on the corner of 13th and Reynolds. Obtaining these lots to add to adjacent property gave his Tile Center operations a prime corner lot and enhanced the value of the entire combined tract, IMHO. The cost of obtaining these lots was every close to the $119,000 the city paid at closing for the .07 acre lot now under the deck. There is no smoking gun there, IMHO, unless you consider that buying the 0.07 parcel when the rest of the land under the thing was neither bought nor donated is unusual. lol.

Little Lamb
43831
Points
Little Lamb 10/29/11 - 11:12 pm
0
0
Why is it I feel like Ricky

Why is it I feel like Ricky Ricardo?

“Ahy, yah, yah, yah, yahy!”

Many Arrows
-1
Points
Many Arrows 10/29/11 - 11:15 pm
0
0
River, your numbers are off.

River, your numbers are off. Jackson bought out his deceased partner's interest in this 0.07 lot for $24,000 and sold it within a month to Augusta Richmond County for $119,000. They had owned it since 1969. Neither your nor I would have wanted to pay capital gains, if the land could be swapped. Sen. Jackson 'found' two tiny parcels on the corner of 13th and Reynolds. Obtaining these lots to add to adjacent property gave his Tile Center operations a prime corner lot and enhanced the value of the entire combined tract, IMHO. The cost of obtaining these lots was every close to the $119,000 the city paid at closing for the .07 acre lot now under the deck. There is no smoking gun there, IMHO, unless you consider that buying the 0.07 parcel when the rest of the land under the thing was neither bought nor donated is unusual. lol.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 10/30/11 - 12:06 am
0
0
Looooooseeeeeey!

Looooooseeeeeey!

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 10/30/11 - 12:58 am
0
0
Based on the price the

Based on the price the senator got for his small parcel. How much will Augusta Riverfront/933 Broad Investment LCC hold Augusta ransom for the remainder?

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 10/30/11 - 01:06 am
0
0
Augusta, Georgia where

Augusta, Georgia where ineptitude of appointed and elected officials is really a cover for _________.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 10/30/11 - 03:19 am
0
0
Riverman1, More poignant

Riverman1,

More poignant questions. Thanks.

But where will we get the answers? Facebook?

Little Lamb
43831
Points
Little Lamb 10/30/11 - 07:32 am
0
0
Good question, Mr. Casey

Good question, Mr. Casey about how the inflated price Jackson got might affect the amount taxpayers will fork over for the entire property. One thing they could go by is the assessed value on the current tax books. No matter what it takes, the city needs to condemn and take the land and also take the operational duties of the deck.

I really think it is a hoot that the Marriott is howling about lost revenues when the original deck was torn down and replaced by the TEE Center. It was the Marriott owners who were the loudest cheerleaders for the TEE.

stanley
2
Points
stanley 10/30/11 - 07:59 am
0
0
Have you ever been to a

Have you ever been to a function or meeting and they remind you to get your parking sticker validated so the event pays for your parking? How does the "manager" figure this out? What if I don't get my sticker validated, then I pay twice. Once when I pay for the event and then when I go to leave the parking deck? What if I didn't park in the deck to begin with? Talk about a shell game at its best.

With all that is planned for downtown and parking at a premium on a good day, doesn't $50,000 sound a bit low for revenue?

IsAnyoneAlwaysRight
40
Points
IsAnyoneAlwaysRight 10/30/11 - 07:59 am
0
0
Just think, all those poor

Just think, all those poor patients that use the downtown YMCA-Health Central have to pay to park on land the city doesn't own.

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/30/11 - 08:29 am
0
0
It was revealing the attitude

It was revealing the attitude Mayor Copenhaver-Boardman displayed in the TV interview. He was visibly perturbed and snapped back when the interviewer asked him if he had talked to the ower (and we know who that really is) of the land.

"Why do some people always want to look back at matters? We should be looking ahead."

In other words, the TEE is a bust and I don't want to look at how much someone made on it.

Many Arrows has sent smoke signals that something he has given public officials may blow the big teepee down. This is going to be interesting.

Financial problems alter perceptions of proper business conduct.

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/30/11 - 08:33 am
0
0
Again, I'd like to see the

Again, I'd like to see the Bill Jackson deal laid out in detail as to whom the deal was made with and how this got around the tax laws which is what he said was the reason. An apologist in the media for Jackson explains it simply as a way to avoid taxes. Jackson was said to be angry that he was included in this mess with the LLC's.

We should see the details of the deal that made him $100,000 in 30 days along with the IRS to determine if such an arrangement is in violation of the tax code. It could be he has done nothing wrong and would like to clear his name.

All we've heard is second hand informatioin from a radio show where the host is angry Jackson is even being looked at. That show spent it's time bashing the person who broke this story on the internet. We need to examine the facts and ask Jackson questions.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 10/30/11 - 08:38 am
0
0
My golly folks this will all
Unpublished

My golly folks this will all be a wash when the TEE starts raking in millions for our tax base. Don't we just love a SPLOST? Especially a SPLOST that puts taxpayer moneys under the guidance of an unspecified and unelected third party.

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/30/11 - 08:45 am
0
0
I'd love to be at the table

I'd love to be at the table of an editorial staff meeting one morning where they discuss matters. This subject is preeminent, but everyone at the table has to act like nothing is going on. It's like there is a huge white elephant named TEE sitting at one of the chairs sipping a cup of coffee up through his trunk.

One looks at the elephant and whispers to another. "You see anything?

"I see a job for you on a weekly in Alaska."

"In that case, let's write an editorial about Augusta moving forward and not looking back."

seenitB4
81514
Points
seenitB4 10/30/11 - 09:04 am
0
0
You are funny this

You are funny this morning....river....:)

"I see a job for you on a weekly in Alaska."

"In that case, let's write an editorial about Augusta moving forward and not looking back."

Riverman1
79461
Points
Riverman1 10/30/11 - 09:10 am
0
0
I was actually invited to an

I was actually invited to an editorial staff meeting once. I didn't go though. I had an idea they would run a metal detector over me and maybe even strip search me medically where they put on those plastic gloves before they let me sit down with them. I fit the profile of dangerous poster.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 10/30/11 - 10:07 am
0
0
riverman, you are on this
Unpublished

riverman, you are on this one. i was also disappointed to not hear the relationship between the riverfront and 933 broad corporations. since 933 broad reneged on donating land, do we really still feel obligated to honor the deal with riverfront to manage? how does that work? corporations are funny things.

tomcasey
-2
Points
tomcasey 10/30/11 - 10:20 am
0
0
The senator's sweetheart deal

The senator's sweetheart deal that falls almost into the category of don't ask don't tell still needs to be looked at because he made around a $100,000 at taxpayer expense and never bothered to ask why. I remember being schooled in the concept if it is too good to be true then you need to walk away from it. Obviously the senator never heard that little saying.

Brad Owens
4102
Points
Brad Owens 10/30/11 - 10:25 am
0
0
Key statement here, "only two

Key statement here, "only two parking management companies responded with compliant bids to Augusta Procurement’s request for proposals.."

Key words "compliant bids"

I see more smoke, or is it fog like everyone says?

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