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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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sigma1914
20
Points
sigma1914 12/19/12 - 10:59 am
8
0
Another missed opportunity for Augusta

Here it goes again another missed opportunity for growth and business in Augusta. Why must we continue to put people in office as city leaders with the same mindset of keeping everything at a stand still. For Augusta being the second-largest city and the second-largest metro area the only thing that is being constructed are Family Dollar on every corner.Augusta should be known for the most Family Dollars. This city has so much potential (Downtown, West Augusta, East Augusta, and yes even South Augusta) But if we dont have the mindset to move forward and progress we will always fall short. It is just sad how we lag around on things. I believe that the baseball stadium would have been a far better idea than the TEE center I mean it serves the exact same purpose as the James Brown Arena. Come on Augusta lets do better next time.

Talktothehand
60
Points
Talktothehand 12/19/12 - 11:04 am
8
1
Good News for North Augusta and Augusta

Since the consolidation of Augusta's county and city governments, Augusta has fought itself on every long-term issue that would improve it's growth and appeal for investment. You don't see the good old boys on the hill investing in a damm thing around here...they KNOW you can't get two people to agree on anything in this one horse town!

This city is racially dividend to the point of a curse! A bunch of Red-necks and racially discriminating "children running the government"... on both sides of the fence (white and blacks)...everybody is watching out for their on kind (color). It's sickening!

I've told my children, don't stay in this one horse town, when you finish your education, it's dying a slow death! Look what apathy has done to our small college AC/ASU...let Atlanta "dictate" the naming of our school. Hell, Paine College is the one that needs the help and it's in MCG's backyard! Don't get me started!!! Wp

Little Lamb
47965
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 11:02 am
2
1
Not So Fast

Welcome to the forum, RonRoberts. But don't count North Augusta's chickens before they hatch. Voters will have a say in public financing. At least something's out there for discussion, but the details, as provided in this news story, are woefully inadequate to make a judgment.

GiantsAllDay
10294
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/12 - 11:02 am
1
5
My take

I think we're all missing the most important part of this. On the SC side of the river, the home runs will go in the water in right field like they're supposed to. Even though it will take a very well hit ball to make that happen

Sweet son
11083
Points
Sweet son 12/19/12 - 11:07 am
3
1
What the Heck!! Give all the Georgia property to the GRU Empire

We all know that is what Dr. Prez wants!

lsmith
105
Points
lsmith 12/19/12 - 11:20 am
0
0
This is a good proposal. As
Unpublished

This is a good proposal. As previously stated, a great mix of private and public sector funding (which I never saw proposed by Ripkin For Augusta). This isn't a loss for Augusta (excepting the Lake Olmstead park area), People need to start looking at Augusta in a more broad light, CSRA. Downtown Augusta will still benefit from game traffic, Green Jacket Fans will still have their team in a new facility and.....all this within eyeshot of the site in Augusta where the team initially wanted to build on Augusta's riverfront. If there's a loser in this thing it may be the North Augusta taxpayer who still has to pay it's portion and hope the investment ends up worthy.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 12/19/12 - 11:24 am
0
0
and if it fails
Unpublished

remember hammonds ferry it was supposed to be the premier new neighborhood....the ultimate living experience....now they are selling the houses for a 100,000 dollars less than they were asking.....multiple builders went bankrupt in that premier neighborhood......and if this staduim fiasco gets built and fails and becomes a huge money losing pit THAT ALL STADIUMS ARE not one minor league stadium has EVER made money....then you will patting augusta on the back

Little Lamb
47965
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 11:35 am
2
0
@GiantsAllDay

The only people who will be able to see the splash will be a handful in the cheap seats near the end of the right field foul ball line.

pommom38
1496
Points
pommom38 12/19/12 - 11:37 am
4
4
All those whining

by all means, buy the team back and KEEP it in GA.
We can't get decent restaurants over here, but yet they want to build a stadium?? Great!!
More traffic, more noise, (can hardly wait to hear the dang fireworks every week) and it's just not wanted.

...point to ponder
779
Points
...point to ponder 12/19/12 - 11:39 am
5
1
...sad day

this is bad...not only have we lost Cal Ripken but we lost the team! (*due to a total lack of leadership and eventually greed!)

To all those who thought it wouldn't happen...I said it would a long time ago that if a new stadium was not built that Cal would leave. To all those naysayers (*those against a downtown baseball stadium due to a lack of understanding) who don't what they lost yet, it will sink in and you will feel sick.

To those insiders that sat back and allowed this to happen..it will be found out and you will have to face the people.

To the Governor, the Mayor, and Azzizz...thanks for nothing. Your poor leadership skills will not go unnoticed.

It will be very interesting now to see how the former Golf Hall of Fame property (*now under GRU control) will be "partnered". Look at the players and then piece together the self-serving individuals who benefit...it won't be the citizens of Augusta.

..a very sad day...but not forgotten!

PhiloPublius
386
Points
PhiloPublius 12/19/12 - 11:42 am
9
1
WOOOOO HOOOO!!!

As a resident of North Augusta, I am 100% happy!!!

Let the morons in Augusta waste their riverfront property!! We will use ours!

Mr. Thackeray
957
Points
Mr. Thackeray 12/19/12 - 11:49 am
7
2
Wonderful move, get out of

Wonderful move, get out of Disgusta while the getting is good!

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/19/12 - 11:53 am
1
1
NEvermind

forget it.

specsta
6754
Points
specsta 12/19/12 - 11:58 am
9
0
Augusta - Same "Skyline" For Decades

Let's see - another nearby city with progressive ideas and vision, compared to the run-down enigma that is Augusta - so what else is new?

GiantsAllDay
10294
Points
GiantsAllDay 12/19/12 - 12:20 pm
1
3
Little Lamb

The people in the kayaks in the savannah river will get to see them. Also will the people watching sports in the channel 6/12/26/54 news. I'm sure these local stations will set up their cameras out there. Here is my vision for the new park:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=SK9Pm5mTrD0&feature=fvwrel

dwb619
100968
Points
dwb619 12/19/12 - 12:22 pm
2
1
Real Justice

The article doesn't specify which government entity is going to put up the $43 million. I was under the assumption that it was going to a City of North Augusta deal. If what you are saying is true, I would imagine the citizens of Aiken will put the "thumbs down" on this venture.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 12/19/12 - 12:26 pm
0
0
Augusta is still stuck in the
Unpublished

Augusta is still stuck in the 70s with race relations still the story of the hour. The black community could care less about baseball or improving the local economy as long as there's a black sherriff or black commissioner to redistribute the tax dollars. The white guys are leaving in droves. The 50/50 commission does little other than argue about whether the firemen should cut the grass on the sidewalk or not. No one on the Augusta commission is really an inspirational figure that anyone has confidence in. None are really progress minded even. Like the first post said, "last one out of Augusta please turn off the lights."

paperhearts
99
Points
paperhearts 12/19/12 - 12:34 pm
3
0
good for north augusta

I love Augusta, despite the petty fighting and ridiculous race politics at the local level. We can can all stare in awe while N. Augusta takes something we've been fighting for for years right under our noses because they can get the job done. We love to send away the biggest opportunities that get frustrated at our local govt. dysfunction. Consolidation of Augusta seems to have been the worst thing they could have ever done, what has come from it of value? I'm disappointed.

OJP
7493
Points
OJP 12/19/12 - 12:38 pm
6
0
I have always been a big supporter of Augusta but this strikes

me as a very symbolic blow.

Hopefully the old regressives who own most of downtown won't leave the land to anyone like themselves. That dirt lot by Cotton Patch says it all.

Can we please break the iron grip downtown and let the free market finally do what it does best?

DawgnSC69
287
Points
DawgnSC69 12/19/12 - 12:51 pm
8
3
We'll take it

Love this proposal. I would also like to see Bass Pro Shops build over here as well. Lark, Jimmy? Get to work on that too. There’s plenty of room on the northwest corner of I-20 and exit 1.

Augustans, please stay on your side of the river within the ruins you've created. Your city government, school system, law enforcement, any anything else you've tried to do is circling the drain. You all know the reason why but refuse to acknowledge it and elect/hire competent people to run your government.
Good luck!

allhans
24513
Points
allhans 12/19/12 - 12:59 pm
3
0
Considering the norm..even

Considering the norm..even with the location in SC, the team will be announced on TV and other media outlets as Augusta...

lovingthesouth72
1399
Points
lovingthesouth72 12/19/12 - 01:07 pm
5
0
Augusta city government = all are idiots

Can we fire ALL the Augusta city government developers NOW!! What idiots do we have that pass up great business opportunities time and time again. Idiots. Total idiots they are. All of them. Good for Mr Ripken for making that decision. Don't blame him.

lovingthesouth72
1399
Points
lovingthesouth72 12/19/12 - 01:13 pm
5
0
more money for NA

Now the North Augusta folks car reap the benefits of all our $$$ as we head on over there to use their facilities.

livepura
49
Points
livepura 12/19/12 - 01:37 pm
0
0
90% of the posters on this
Unpublished

90% of the posters on this thread were BASHING the idea when Augusta proposed a riverfront stadium but now it's an opputunity missed because North Augusta proposes the SAME IDEA!!!! Y'all are a bunch of hypocrites!

LillyfromtheMills
14058
Points
LillyfromtheMills 12/19/12 - 01:43 pm
5
1
Countyman

Maybe if you hadn't let the commissioners waste all the monies, Augusta could have had a new stadium

EagleDawg
22
Points
EagleDawg 12/19/12 - 01:57 pm
6
3
Missed Opportunity?

How many times did you all trash Augusta when they wanted to build a riverfront stadium saying Lake Omstead Stadium was fine but when a city OTHER THAN AUGUSTA proposed it then yall attack Augusta for another missed opportunity? Lets just face it, most of the posters on here donot like ANYTHING Augusta does but it is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY when other cities do theses projects. Had the TEE CENTER been bull elsewhere or Morris Museum of Art moved out of downtown then yall would also trash Augusta for losing that it as well. Whats next North Augusta building a canal down West Avenue and all of a sudden it will get support now???

bdouglas
5588
Points
bdouglas 12/19/12 - 02:13 pm
6
1
Chances are pretty good that

Chances are pretty good that some things will thrive in North Augusta that didn't in Augusta. I think this will be a good example. One only has to look at the differences you see when entering the downtown area of both cities to see which one is willing to put their money where their mouth is. One city says you come up with an idea and run it by us and we'll say yes or no. The other asks how we can work with you to come up with something that benefits all of us and we'll figure out a way to make the numbers work.

allhans
24513
Points
allhans 12/19/12 - 02:24 pm
2
1
Visitors from PA were

Visitors from PA were surprised when driving in on I-20 they found they were in GA.... it seems the bridge over the Sav River is not exactly impressive...

DawgnSC69
287
Points
DawgnSC69 12/19/12 - 02:25 pm
2
0
As Leaders Always Say...

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Until Augusta realizes they have to elect and hire compentent leaders, they'll always fail. Sadly, our country is heading down the same path. They think things are bad over there now. Wait until Deke is out and Marion Williams or one of his cronies gets elected Mayor and the commission tilts the wrong way. And it'll happen. Promise. Things are to only get worst over there.

I just hope all of it doesn't migrate to the North side of the Savannah River.

Little Lamb
47965
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 02:25 pm
2
1
Real Estate

Does anybody on here know who owns this real estate at this time? Is it one giant parcel or are there multiple owners?

From the story:

Under the proposal, the city would be responsible for about 30 percent of the financing, some $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 as well as the already-announced new riverfront Family Y, Glover said.

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

The private investors are said to be paying for the hotel, retail, residential and office space. But get this, the city is paying for a conference center (presumably within the confines of the hotel). Shades of Marriott.

Oh, yes, just how many Family Ys can the CSRA support before we become saturated?

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