Augusta State professor pens case study on downtown baseball stadium

Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 8:50 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012 1:45 AM
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A new case study authored by an Augusta State University professor offers Augusta Commission members a framework for deciding whether to build a downtown stadium for the Augusta GreenJackets.

"It is my hope that the information laid out in the case can be used by decision makers in the community to make the best decisions for the economic development of our  city," said Simon Medcalfe, an assistant professor of finance at ASU.

The 12-page case study lays out existing research on a proposal from GreenJackets owner Ripken Baseball and developer Jacoby Group to build a $38.7 million multiuse minor-league baseball stadium at the 17-acre former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and Botanical Gardens site downtown.

The proposal, backed by Mayor Deke Copenhaver, has seen mixed reviews by commissioners and the public. The commission voted 6-3 last year to develop a “transaction plan” for financing the stadium, then voted to hold a referendum on the issue. A question on the 2010 Democratic primary ballot saw 77 percent reject the idea.

In the case study, Medcalfe notes the voter disapproval and that voiced by Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, who spoke out in 2010 against publicly financing the stadium without voter approval.

Medcalfe reports increases in game attendance of 117 percent to 184 percent in Greenville, S.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Charleston, W.Va. – three cities that built stadiums for existing teams.

The GreenJackets, he notes, could have extended their existing player development contract with the San Francisco Giants beyond 2012 but didn't, citing the need for a new facility. Regardless, Augusta is guaranteed a minor-league team through its membership in the Minor League Baseball association, the study says.

The case study concludes with a set of questions but reaches no conclusions. Among the questions Medcalfe raises are whether the rate of return used in a 2008 stadium feasibility study showing cash flows over 30 years at $623 million was reasonable, and whether an unscientific survey of game fans who panned the idea was significant.

Three Augusta commissioners and City Admin­istrator Fred Russell said Wednesday they were unaware Medcalfe had prepared the study and hadn't seen it.

"Usually, they're pushing stuff they want," Commissioner Jerry Brigham said of similar case studies he had received. "We're a long way from doing anything right now."

Russell, who met with Ripken and Jacoby officials last year to discuss stadium locations and possible financing options, said he expected to learn more in a meeting with them later this month.

Of the two financing options for the stadium mentioned in the case study, issuing a revenue bond or a general obligation bond, Russell said the general obligation bond, which requires voter approval, is probably out, as is including the item on a new sales-tax referendum.

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iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/04/12 - 09:03 pm
0
0
How many different ways can
Unpublished

How many different ways can you say "no!"?

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 01/04/12 - 09:16 pm
0
0
wow. i remember an econ prof
Unpublished

wow. i remember an econ prof who was real good to deke. looks like there are more.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 01/04/12 - 09:22 pm
0
0
I'm curious what prompted

I'm curious what prompted Medcalfe to do the study? Also, how did he choose the three cities he used for examples?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/04/12 - 09:24 pm
0
0
The theory is if you ask

The theory is if you ask enough times, you will eventually wear the people down.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 01/04/12 - 09:25 pm
0
0
how's that business school
Unpublished

how's that business school working out?

"You'll never find philanthropist James M. Hull out looking for attention.

But just because he eschews publicity doesn't mean this head of Augusta-based Hull Storey Retail Group LLC, one of the largest shopping center development and management firms in the Southeast, does not make his leadership felt in our community.

The native Augustan, whose family has roots in our community dating back generations, leads by example. The $2 million he and his wife donated to Augusta State University for its business school - the largest such gift in the school's history - is such an example, says Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who serves on a number of nonprofit organizations with Mr. Hull." -09/20/06

An investment in ASU - and Augusta

By Augusta Chronicle Editorial Staff

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 01/04/12 - 09:27 pm
0
0
a hundred no's means you can
Unpublished

a hundred no's means you can keep trying. one yes is permanent.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 01/04/12 - 09:28 pm
0
0
remember when the guy who
Unpublished

remember when the guy who serves on numerous boards with deke gave two million to that business school?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/04/12 - 09:29 pm
0
0
No, means tell me more, I'm

No, means tell me more, I'm not sold yet. These guys should sell timeshares. Opps, they are trying to!

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 01/04/12 - 09:32 pm
0
0
i get the feeling that
Unpublished

i get the feeling that business school is not the best ship to have landed on these shores. for the taxpayers. these stadium scams have been debunked all over the place. this is silly.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 01/04/12 - 09:33 pm
0
0
Interesting how Russell is

Interesting how Russell is already nixing any financing that requires approval from voters. I wonder why.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/04/12 - 09:34 pm
0
0
If it doesn't require

If it doesn't require approval from voters, tax dollars should not be used.
I hope if they try to push it down the people's throats, there will be a lawsuit.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 01/04/12 - 09:35 pm
0
0
Yeah, Medcalf just decided on

Yeah, Medcalf just decided on his own to do the study and then just happened to pick cities that make the process look favorable. Yeah, buddy.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/04/12 - 09:40 pm
0
0
Why would Medcalf take the

Why would Medcalf take the time to prepare the study/advice giver, but not send it to Russell, Deke and the commissioners? Doesn't sound reasonable. And it is interesting that any number of studies using other cities would net a much different view.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 01/04/12 - 09:40 pm
0
0
Baseball Stadium?
Unpublished

Baseball Stadium? ......that's a negative Ghost Rider.........the pattern is full

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 01/04/12 - 09:58 pm
0
0
what are all the options
Unpublished

what are all the options available to get around the citizens getting a vote? have we been stockpiling splost money for this? if it's tad is it just a commission vote? is there an option where the coliseum authority can vote for it? treekey deke.

allhans
24964
Points
allhans 01/04/12 - 10:34 pm
0
0
I have no objection to a

I have no objection to a stadium. Just make sure the financing comes from the private sector. IF it is a good thing, finding financing should not be a problem.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 01/04/12 - 11:25 pm
0
0
So the voters said they don't
Unpublished

So the voters said they don't want it. Fred knows he can't get voters to approve a bond and yet they still want to force this on the taxpayers. Ripken baseball can pay for it or move the team. I would not let them blackmail me into it. There is nothing wrong with the current stadium. I will be glad to see Deke Ripken gone!

Asitisinaug
4
Points
Asitisinaug 01/05/12 - 12:04 am
0
0
I am all for anything that

I am all for anything that will make our city nicer / better. However, if it is a business (and this is a business), then the funding should come from the private sector. I have no problem in working out a deal for the rental of the land at fair rates or selling the land with favorable financing, etc. but to use tax payer funds on a stadium when we have a perfectly fine stadium at this time is unacceptable.

I, along with most others commenting believe that NO means NO and that we need to move on to dealing with what really matters in this community.

Riverman1
94246
Points
Riverman1 01/05/12 - 05:04 am
0
0
So we are now interested in

So we are now interested in studies before we spend tens of millions? What happened when Professor Heywood Sanders from Texas A&M agreed to come here and explain his studies why the TEE center would be a monumental failure? Think he was right? Think the fallout from that is part of the reason someone came up with this idea to get a positive "study" out? Please tell Deke to hurry up and take his Speedos back to the beach before the city goes bankrupt with his spending of hundreds of millions.

Billyds999
17
Points
Billyds999 01/05/12 - 05:07 am
0
0
Wow. Sounds like such a great

Wow. Sounds like such a great deal. A win-win situation, a real money maker. Go for it.
But let the "baseball people" spend/invest in it. We the people of Augusta have already spoken and said that we have other things we want to spend our money on though.

catfish20
294
Points
catfish20 01/05/12 - 06:08 am
0
0
I would love to see a

I would love to see a downtown stadium.

seenitB4
98477
Points
seenitB4 01/05/12 - 06:12 am
0
0
This is too funny...77% say

This is too funny...77% say NO...but NO means nothing to the % downtown....could this be a distraction from something else going on??

seenitB4
98477
Points
seenitB4 01/05/12 - 06:13 am
0
0
Let's burn the barn down

Let's burn the barn down while we break in the house!

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 01/05/12 - 06:39 am
0
0
How weird... 3 commissioners
Unpublished

How weird... 3 commissioners and Fred Russell didn't even know this guy was doing the study. He includes 3 cities.... but forgot to mention the Aberdeen, MD stadium that had the mayor of that city in hot water over ethics violations for coming to Augusta and promoting this stadium when their city is struggling to pay for it. Sounds like Ripkin is paying off professors and mayorS.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/05/12 - 07:32 am
0
0
I like, seeenit! Hmm......!
Unpublished

I like, seeenit! Hmm......!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
11294
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/05/12 - 08:14 am
0
0
Let's see, Augusta is looking

Let's see, Augusta is looking for ways to lay off employees without getting repercussions because they don't have the money to pay them! Services are going to be cut and done away with and delayed due to this. Now they want to do an end run around the very people they are supposed to be serving to build something these same people have said no to? Even Forrest Gump was smarter than that!!

allhans
24964
Points
allhans 01/05/12 - 08:20 am
0
0
Somehow (perhaps following

Somehow (perhaps following Obams' example) our elected leaders have declared themselves "rulers" and they rule accordingly.

swcohen
625
Points
swcohen 01/05/12 - 08:26 am
0
0
Build it and they will come.

Build it and they will come. But they won't be able to park, so they'll go to Augusta Exchange for dinner & a movie instead. Die-hard baseball fans will park six blocks away, have a great time, and maybe get mugged on the way back to their car, which will have been vandalized in the mean time.

Meanwhile, the Chronicle will do a series of nostalgia pieces on the venerable old Lake Olmstead Stadium, Augusta's own Wrigley Field.

This'd be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 01/05/12 - 08:36 am
0
0
Willow Bailey wrote: Why

Willow Bailey wrote:

Why would Medcalf take the time to prepare the study/advice giver, but not send it to Russell, Deke and the commissioners?

I read the document (skimmed part of it) provided by Susan in the link above. If he were trying to sell it as a "study" he would be laughed out the door. If he were turning it in to a professor as an assignment, he would get a D-.

It looks like he wrote the document as an exercise for his students to do further research and turn the results back into him. After his students gather some more data, perhaps the professor can sell the junk to the Augusta city government for $125,000.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 01/05/12 - 08:39 am
0
0
The stadium idea is not even

The stadium idea is not even on the radar of the commission. I would put it next to the stack of effieciency studies that have been done and never implemented.

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