Bass Pro Shop construction delayed

Construction of a 100,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop off Riverwatch Parkway has been placed on hold.

"It's because of the economic climate we're in," said Jim Gamble, the construction project manager with The Mullins Group, a local development partner in the project.

The delay, he said, doesn't mean the project is canceled.

"The dialog with the tenants is still very positive," Mr. Gamble said Tuesday.

He referred further questions to Gar Herring, the executive vice president with the Dallas-based MGHerring group, which is developing the project and owns the site. Mr. Herring did not immediately respond to a message left at his office Tuesday afternoon.

Bass Pro, based in Springfield, Mo., announced plans for the Augusta store -- and its 250 jobs -- in April 2008. So far, no construction has begun at the 132-acre site, which is expected to eventually include numerous other tenants.

Bass Pro has secured local assistance for the project, including about $25 million in tax-exempt financing arranged by the Richmond County Development Authority.

Walter Sprouse, the authority's executive director, said the financing package for the project has no sunset clause and would not be affected by delays in construction.

Many large projects are being delayed because of economic conditions, he said, and some companies might actually come out ahead as a result of better interest rates and lower costs.

"We're not worried," Mr. Sprouse said. "As far as Bass Pro, they have not only said, 'Yes, we're definitely going to do it,' but that it will definitely go at that site."

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

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