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North Augusta reveals stadium plan; Ripken sells GreenJackets

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Rendering shows proposed North Augusta stadium and development in relation to 13th Street Bridge at bottom right
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 9:18 AM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 1:23 AM
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After lobbying for years to bring baseball downtown, the Augusta GreenJackets found a likely taker – across the river in North Augusta – as part of what Mayor Lark Jones called “the biggest proposal that has ever been made” in the history of the South Carolina city.

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North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover speaks during the announcement of a major multi-use development proposal known as Project Jackson during the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce A.M. Connection meeting. The development, still in the early planning phases, is set to feature a hotel, baseball stadium, and retail, residential and office space.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
North Augusta City Administrator Todd Glover speaks during the announcement of a major multi-use development proposal known as Project Jackson during the Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce A.M. Connection meeting. The development, still in the early planning phases, is set to feature a hotel, baseball stadium, and retail, residential and office space.

Confirming widespread speculation Wednesday morning that a secret proposal known as “Project Jackson” indeed includes a sports and entertainment center for the GreenJackets – and a hotel, restaurants, townhouses, conference center, parking garage and more – city officials and developers revealed the details at a morning meeting.

The proposal, on which city officials are seeking public input, grew out of long-term plans to develop a high-density town center on the riverbank beside Hammond’s Ferry, City Administrator Todd Glover said. The site adjoins the 13th Street bridge connecting downtown Augusta and North Augusta.

The development proposal includes a 200-room resort-style hotel and conference center modeled after Hampton Terrace, a North Augusta winter resort that burned in 1916; up to four restaurants; 75 townhouses; 225 apartments; 30,000 square feet of retail space; 40,000 square feet of office space; and 900 parking spaces.

Under the proposal, the city would be responsible for about 30 percent of the financing, about $43 million for the sports and entertainment center, conference center and parking garage. In exchange, private developers promise $122 million in investment for the hotel, retail, residential and office space in addition to the already-announced new riverfront Family Y, Glover said.

The announcement Wednesday was coupled with the additional revelation that the GreenJackets are changing owners. Two of them, Chris Schoen and former Ripken Baseball Vice President Jeff Eiseman, were involved in earlier efforts to persuade city of Augusta officials to build a stadium on the Augusta side of the Savannah River and spoke to the group Wednesday.

Shoen, a previous minor-league owner involved with teams in Salem, Va., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Savannah, Ga., said Augusta’s loss of an ideal riverfront tract – the former Golf & Gardens property, now owned by Georgia Health Sciences University – prompted his look across the river.

Schoen, of Atlanta-based Greenstone Properties, emphasized the multipurpose nature of the sports and entertainment complex, which he said could be used for concerts and other sports, including football.

While not all public funding sources have been identified, Glover and Jones said the intent was to make the development “pay for itself.” An example of that would be using a Tax Increment Financing district that routes new property tax revenue from the development back into infrastructure costs at the site.

Jones mentioned a “seat tax” charged to ticket-holders for the facility’s games and other events; other sources of funding would come from a long-term lease of the stadium to the GreenJackets and a bond issue to be repaid from lease and other payments from the GreenJackets but not the city’s general fund, according to a news release.

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Lee Benedict
1572
Points
Lee Benedict 12/19/12 - 03:35 pm
3
3
Can't fill the current stadium

...so Cal wants the taxpayers to build another one a few miles away in order to satisfy his ego.

EagleDawg
22
Points
EagleDawg 12/19/12 - 03:39 pm
4
1
They will likely close the

They will likely close the smaller Family Y in North Augusta when that one is build. Atleast the team still has a riverfront stadium and the area is not losing the team to Columbia or another city away from the CSRA.

harley_52
23004
Points
harley_52 12/19/12 - 03:51 pm
10
1
I'm Having A Real Hard Time...

....understanding why any of this is BAD for the city of Augusta. Will none of the visitors/fans be allowed to stay or shop on the Georgia side of the river? Will Augusta not benefit from whatever growth is associated with the new facility?

Aren't North Augusta residents/businesses allowed to participate in Masters related activities and tourism?

Why is this a zero-sum issue?

itsanotherday1
42228
Points
itsanotherday1 12/19/12 - 04:12 pm
7
0
Amen Harley

When this first came up CM was chastising me for hoping more amenities get moved to the burbs. I said then and now, upgraded amenities in comfortable, safe environs benefit the whole area.

harley_52
23004
Points
harley_52 12/19/12 - 04:19 pm
6
1
I Agree With You...

itsanotherday1. Maybe we're both missing something, but I can't see it as a negative. I think I could argue the case that the taxpayers of ARC have little to lose and almost everything to gain by the move.

stradivarius
4
Points
stradivarius 12/19/12 - 04:19 pm
2
3
The people living on the

The people living on the riverfront won't let this happen. Too much noise, and too many people. I hope I'm wrong.. If there was a big stink about the condos going up next to the people living in the River Club just imagine a baseball stadium popping up on the opposite side of the road/bridge.

Good Luck North Augusta.

ps how are Sunday alcohol sales coming?

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/19/12 - 04:31 pm
3
1
Good points Eagledawg and

Good points Eagledawg and very accurate observation bdouglas. I think the negatives to having teh stadium/team move across the river are grounded in the hearts of those who truly believed in Augusta and wanted a better city that they could be proud of. Losing something this grand is a big blow and the traction that we thought we had now leaves us sliding back down to the bottom of the hill. That's why it's a negative yall. If you don't truly love the city with every ounce of your being, then you wouldn't get it. And that's okay. i don't expect everyone to get it.

bdouglas is right about Augusta being either hot or cold on ideas and proposals. There is no second look or re-evaluation. Once a position is taken, there is no cooperative effort, you either made it or you didn't. Move along.

puppydog
227
Points
puppydog 12/19/12 - 04:39 pm
4
0
Sorry Deke, you tried...

Sorry Deke, you've tried for years to get this done on our side of the river... if you snooze, you lose... if Deke could have gotten backwards Augusta to commit to the baseball stadium on the Augusta side of the river years ago like he wanted to, the GGHF property would have been committed for that long before GRU got its hands on it... Augusta NEVER wants to do insightful and progressive investment in this city to move it forward and make it more attractive to possible residents and businesses... good bye Disgusta, hello North Augusta... and now I just heard that they commissioners just knocked down building the bridge connecting the TEE Center- just as we've had our 3rd pedestrian fatality in Richmond County in the past few days...short sighted & pitiful!!

soitgoes
786
Points
soitgoes 12/19/12 - 04:41 pm
4
0
shining example

of the difference in leadership between the two communities. Separated by a mere hundred yards of water, but MILES of common sense... alas, so it goes...

Dixieman
14425
Points
Dixieman 12/19/12 - 05:16 pm
4
0
Dixieman has billions and billions of points

"Of all the words of tongue or pen,
"The saddest are these: It might have been."
Shame on the politicians of Augusta

seenitB4
85748
Points
seenitB4 12/19/12 - 05:18 pm
3
0
I agree with harley

This is a win win for Augusta.....not Augustas tax dollars...BUT will still get the benefits from travelers---tourists....etc.. ...POSITIVE....the flow over into the CSRA.....N Augusta is a small outlet & I'm sure most will want to see the sights in Augusta..wow....about time the honey flowed downhill...

curly123053
4570
Points
curly123053 12/19/12 - 05:19 pm
3
1
Now Bring BPS To Aiken County!

I think Aiken County and the City of North Augusta need to be trying to find an adequate parcel of land along the interstate to make a deal with Bass Pro Shops since Augusta dropped the ball on that one too. I have visited multiple Bass Pro Shops and wherever those places go development follows. Go visit the BPS in Denham Springs outside Baton Rouge and look at all the commercial development at that Interstate 12 interchange where BPS is located. Before Bass Pro moved to Denham Springs that interchange resembled something between exit 11 or 18 in Aiken County. Looking at that area today you would not believe that with all the hotels, restaurants, strip shopping centers, and movie theaters developed all around the BPS in Denham Springs. It is very obvious to me that no matter where BPS goes there will be an explosion of businesses equalling more revenue going into the county treasury. I would encourage our county officials to visit Denham Springs La along I-12 and see how BPS has impacted their area.

seenitB4
85748
Points
seenitB4 12/19/12 - 05:19 pm
4
1
Dang yall

Yall talk like the dang place is 100 miles away...wake up little susie...it is 4 blocks away for heavens sake...a stones throw....why the boo hooing....

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 05:31 pm
7
0
Couple of Points

Again, there was no land in Augusta for the stadium and the rest of this huge proposed complex. The state was not giving up the GGHOF property. Yep, Harley is right, you have to view the CSRA as a whole and this is good for Augusta, too.

Keep in mind, North Augusta is a real city and not a consolidated city-county. This will not be Aiken County supporting North Augusta like South Augusta supporting the downtown area.

GiantsAllDay
9424
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/12 - 05:41 pm
2
2
I hope

I hope

GiantsAllDay
9424
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/12 - 05:40 pm
1
2
S

S

GiantsAllDay
9424
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/12 - 05:39 pm
2
2
I hope they sell Gilroy

I hope they sell Gilroy garlic fries at the concession stand.

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 06:15 pm
8
1
North Augusta Ambiance

The ambiance of going to a game on the North Augusta side will be a lot more laid back and fun. Consider the demographics and per capita income of North Augusta. This will be like going to the Target Center, not the K-mart on Gordon Hwy.

Hearing about the townhomes and apartments to be built in this community, I can see many wanting to live there. It's a fantastic and safe area.

North Augusta will pay for the stadium, but will get the money back in taxes from the other property that will be built IN TWO YEARS. This is a win-win for all concerned, including the people of Richmond County.

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 06:18 pm
4
0
GiantsAllDAy, I bet you spend

GiantsAllDAy, I bet you spend lots of time around baseball. The Gilroy Fries tells me you've been to the "T" park. Just keep the affiliation with the Giants. Get Buster Posey to pay us a visit. Go Lakeside.

justthefacts
21402
Points
justthefacts 12/19/12 - 06:19 pm
7
0
Hey

You can stand on the 13th Street bridge and watch for free!! Like Wrigley...sort of.

dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 12/19/12 - 06:44 pm
8
1
Little Lamb...."Read that

Little Lamb...."Read that carefully. It has the city paying for the ballpark and parking deck. No private development."

True, but the city is spending $43 million with a guarantee of an additional $122 million in development in the surrounding area.

We have already spent TWICE that much on our center and parking deck, didn't get a ball park, and had/have NO guarantee of surrounding development. Just a "build it and they will come" hope of some trickle-down benefit. On top of that we turned it over to Paul and the boys on an extremely BAD operations and maintenance deal that was made in some back room years ago with no public scrutiny. And damned if Paul wasn't able to weasle a $1 million dollar crosswalk out of our dingbats during the negotiations and give up almost nothing.

When the ball park rumors started here we already had a severe, lingering TRUST issue and an already demonstrated bad deal making competency issue. There is/was NO indications that a ball park built with taxpayer money would turn out to be a good deal for the taxpayers in Augusta......particularly if you are pondering the issue from South Richmond County. North Augusta does not have the problem of an alienated, discontent, neglected, robbed population which makes up more than 1/2 of the geographic area of their TAX base being taxed with an illegal property tax system. Maybe their taxpayers have enough confidence in their leadership to pull off this deal and make it work. WE DON'T. We have ZERO confidence in our leadership to solve the SMALLEST problem. They can't fix the illegal tax system. They can't agree on what to do with the golf course. They can't seem to do ANYTHING with a good outcome.

Are we naysayers out here? Damned right we are. And we will continue to be. We see no reason to encourage these yo-yo's to spend any more of our money until South Richmond County gets their share of prosperity and progress and gets EVERYBODY on an EQUAL TAX SYSTEM with EQUAL SERVICES PROVIDED TO EVERYONE. We are tired of seeing all of the "trickle" go to Reynolds St with a few blackmail splats here and there on Laney Walker.

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 06:56 pm
4
0
crosswalk was turned down

The crosswalk was turned down by the Commission, I think.

jmo
15458
Points
jmo 12/19/12 - 07:19 pm
3
1
I love it

Ripken tells A/RC to put where the "sun don't shine". Columbia County and North Augusta grow and Augusta dies on the vine. But, just look at the crew that is running this county and you can understand it.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 07:53 pm
3
1
DID ANY BODY

Tell them ITS A FLOOD PLAN?

That Flooded (Oct 1990) and put that whole area under 30++ feet of water.

CSRA & Clark Hill could not handle the Topical Storm that dumped 15" of rain on the area.

Wondering out loud.
Could this a cleaver Wag the Dog ploy to bring the issue back up as a Augusta vs NA issue, when the New commissioners take their seats?

Naaa ! I don't think, they think, we are that Naive ... yet.
==============

MEDIA & HISTORY

http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2009/oct/13/augustans_remember_1990_flood-ar-2...

http://www.augustaga.gov/index.aspx?NID=1198

harley_52
23004
Points
harley_52 12/19/12 - 07:53 pm
4
1
"This will be like going to the Target Center....

....not the K-mart on Gordon Hwy."

There you go again.

What's wrong with the K-Mart on Gordon Highway? It was good enough for your friend (the one who lives at Windmill Plantation) to open a store attached to that K-Mart.

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:09 pm
4
0
Just thought I would fun ya a

Just thought I would fun ya a bit, Harley. I don't know what's wrong with Windmill Plantation? If you remember I'm the one who said the K-mart on Gordon Hwy did well.

burninater
9404
Points
burninater 12/19/12 - 08:30 pm
1
1
DID ANY BODY Tell them ITS A

DID ANY BODY
Tell them ITS A FLOOD PLAN?

That Flooded (Oct 1990) and put that whole area under 30++ feet of water.

--------

Took the words right out of my mouth OC!

I've always wondered if the existing properties down there are able to get flood insurance, or if homeowners down there even understand that they are built on an overbank terrace.

Does anyone know the circumstances under which that floodplain became magically zoned for residential? A little birdie whispered something in my ear once on the matter, but I wouldn't go on the record without more specific knowledge of the circumstances -- let's just say that at one point it was considered floodplain, and then, suddenly, wasn't ...

That's alright though, in a land that elevates personal greed to be a paragon of human ambition, what are a few potential ruined homes, businesses, and drownings? As long as somebody made a buck.

harley_52
23004
Points
harley_52 12/19/12 - 08:31 pm
4
0
Nothing's Wrong With Windmill Plantation...

I only mention it because you seemed so proud to know somebody who lives there. I sure don't. I'm impressed.

Yes, you did say they did well, though not via any help from you. You said you'd only been in there once and appeared very skeptical when I said I shopped there occasionally, even in spite of the fact that your friend (the one from Windmill Plantation) had a store that adjoined that K-Mart.

Are there any K-Marts in Evans, or are those mainly Barney's, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's?

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:40 pm
3
2
Okay, Harley, K-mart on

Okay, Harley, K-mart on Gordon Hwy is a booming business where you shop? Good enough? Ha. Windmill is a nice place in Columbia County. Good enough? Ha. Remember how all this started? You asked me how I knew the K-mart had a thriving business. I suppose we are past that question? I'm still waiting for Countyman to tell me how he knows the Earth Fare on Fury's Ferry is not doing well.

Riverman1
82438
Points
Riverman1 12/19/12 - 08:46 pm
3
0
Burn said, "That Flooded (Oct

Burn said, "That Flooded (Oct 1990) and put that whole area under 30++ feet of water."

North Augusta was put under 30 ft of water during the 1990 flood?

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