Negotiations to build a new Augusta arena at the Regency Mall site must be completed by November 30, under the terms of a deadline approved by the Augusta Commission.
Officials in the Georgia city have been debating the construction of a new arena. Those discussions took a new turn in August, when the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority voted to pursue the construction of a new venue at the site of Regency Mall.
In the period since that vote, talks of a new arena have continued, but not without some controversy, as many are contending that the venue should be constructed in downtown Augusta. Tuesday’s vote by the Augusta Commission places a November 30 deadline on the negotiations for using the Regency Mall location. In making the decision, some officials indicated that they are still waiting for more information on the negotiations. More from The Augusta Chronicle:
Since the vote, Coliseum Authority attorney Ed Enoch and the attorney for mall owner Alan Cardinale have exchanged correspondence about what Cardinale wants to allow the authority to build at the site.
The last available information about Cardinale’s offer included the city granting long-term tax abatements on the mall land, low-interest financing for Cardinale to redevelop it and extensive parking lot renovations and upkeep. Cardinale would donate a portion of the property on which the authority would build a yet-unfunded $110 million-plus arena.
“I’ve been patiently waiting on information,” Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle said. “It’s no different from what the general public has.”
Guilfoyle said he’d added up the total expense of a triple-net lease, asphalt and landscaping work, the tax abatements and other expenses the deal would cost Augusta. According to the calculations, the latest version of the deal will cost Augusta almost $75 million over the length of a 50-year lease, including $16 million in school taxes lost during a 25-year abatement.
From an arena perspective, Augusta is currently served by downtown’s James Brown Arena, which originally opened in 1980.
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