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Augusta Commission to discuss possible sale of surplus property

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The city of Augusta has at least $9 million in surplus real estate slated to eventually return to the tax rolls, but don’t expect the properties to hit the auction block soon.

The properties, including the former main library, the old Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Engine Company No. 3 on Reynolds Street, Augusta’s traffic engineering building on Prep Phillips Drive and the city’s construction shop, have a combined value of $9.3 million, an amount that could quickly close a 2012 budget shortfall.

Most are vacant and unused, but the city will take pains to ensure that whoever buys the properties has a plan to put them to good use, Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

“My personal opinion has always been that they’re non-revenue-generating assets, then we should not keep them on the balance sheet,” Copenhaver said. “But I do not want it to become a situation where people are speculating on city properties and warehousing them.”

Copenhaver said he expects City Administrator Fred Russell, who requested a meeting on the properties and other matters at 3 p.m. Tuesday, to “begin the dialogue” about what commissioners want the properties to become and to describe any interest in the sites.

The commission voted earlier this year to hire a real estate firm to market the properties.

A list of surplus city properties distributed at an April commission meeting includes several that are not vacant, including Engine Company No. 3 and the city’s Licensing and Inspections building on Marvin Griffin Road.

Licensing and Inspections Director Rob Sherman, who recently became a part of the city’s revamped Planning and Development Department, said his staff will move into the third floor of the Augusta Municipal Building when renovations are completed.

The Licensing and Inspections building, a 12,716-square-foot office and warehouse building, could appeal to industries seeking space in the area, especially with ongoing widening of Marvin Griffin Road, he said.

Russell has said the buyer interested in acquiring Television Park, the former WJBF headquarters on Reynolds that is adjacent to the former Golf & Gardens property, is also interested in buying the fire station.

Copenhaver said development of the entire riverfront, which includes two of the vacant city-owned properties and the dormant golf hall, is the best way to benefit the city.

“In my personal opinion, development is best done when you look at the riverfront as a whole,” he said.

Copenhaver and Commissioner Jerry Brigham also foresee an arrangement with the Augusta Land Bank Authority similar to the one used when the city moved to develop its transit depot property into a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

After negotiations through a Realtor with a buyer, the city transferred the land to the land bank, which will sell the property to the developer when the time comes.

“I would assume that would be the approach,” Copenhaver said.

“I would think that we would attempt to negotiate most of these properties, rather than put them on the auction block,” Brigham said.

Also on the agenda at the commission meeting is a closed-door discussion with lawyers and a discussion about the city's human resources department, some functions of which may be outsourced to Automatic Data Processing.

Surplus Property Map

Comments (7) Add comment
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dichotomy
34496
Points
dichotomy 05/21/12 - 10:48 pm
2
0
My guess is that the $9.3

My guess is that the $9.3 million "valuation" is about 50% optimism.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 05/22/12 - 12:40 am
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the bosses of augusta don't
Unpublished

the bosses of augusta don't particularly like auctions, or open bids.

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 05/22/12 - 07:17 am
1
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The city has no property...it
Unpublished

The city has no property...it belongs to the tax payers. I would think Fred wants to liquidate them so he can have a little extra cash for the payout he is gonna have to make to Beck. I say that because it will happen. It will happen because Fred will never let the intricacies of his house of cards be viewed by the tax paying public.

Little Lamb
47042
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Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 07:51 am
1
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Crony

Susan McCord wrote:

Russell has said the buyer interested in acquiring Television Park, the former WJBF headquarters on Reynolds that is adjacent to the former Golf & Gardens property, is also interested in buying the fire station.

Who is this interested buyer?

Is he/she a relative of the mayor?

Richmond county taxpayers need to know what the plans are for fire protection. If the city sells a functioning fire station to a private land speculator, what expenses will the city incur after the deal? Is the fire station really needed, or will the fire station's territory be absorbed by adjacent fire stations? If Augusta plans to purchase another parcel and build a replacement fire station just so this mystery "interested buyer" can make a cool profit in land speculation down on the riverfront, then I say, “Halt!”

Commissioner Bill Lockett is stuttering and waffling on his forensic audit. He knows that bad real estate deals were made in the past, but he does not know how to expose them. Well, here is a bad deal proposed for the future. He can certainly stop it before it happens. He can nip it! He can nip it in the bud, in the words of deputy sheriff Barney Fife.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 05/22/12 - 07:52 am
1
0
The fire station has been
Unpublished

The fire station has been replaced...it was moved to the end of broad by east boundary.

Little Lamb
47042
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Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 08:56 am
1
0
What a vacuous statement!

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said:

“In my personal opinion, development is best done when you look at the riverfront as a whole.”

Is he talking from the Columbia County line to the Burke County line?

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 05/22/12 - 10:23 am
1
0
Little lamb you hit the nail

Little lamb you hit the nail on the board, man. Sho nuff could be the buyer is a relative of our fair mayor.

regarding the firestation... i heard on another media outlet that if it were to be bought, personnel and equipment would be split between the olde town walton way and eve st stations,

Little Lamb
47042
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Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 11:42 am
1
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Mystery

Here is quote from a Gracie Shepherd story from the May 4 online Chronicle:

The former WJBF building at 10th and Rey­nolds streets could house all of Augusta’s economic development agencies under one roof, according to a news release from property owners Clay Boardman and Barry Storey. The former WJBF station on Reynolds Street could become combined offices for Augusta tourist and business groups. Boardman and Storey, operating as TelPark Partners LLC, said they will redevelop the site.

If Boardman and Storey, each a prominent real estate speculator, already own television park, who is this mystery person Fred Russell is talking about who is interested in owning it?

May 4

Ms. McCord, can you ask Fred Russell to name names and then post his answer here?

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 05/22/12 - 01:07 pm
0
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i second little lamb's
Unpublished

i second little lamb's motion.

raul
5334
Points
raul 05/22/12 - 02:27 pm
1
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Little Lamb
47042
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Little Lamb 05/22/12 - 04:43 pm
0
0
Nip It

:-)

Hey, thanks raul.

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