On Tuesday, the Augusta City Commission will vote on a proposal that calls for the construction of a new Augusta arena at the Regency Mall site.
Discussion of building a new arena in the Georgia city has been focused on the site of Regency Mall. While the site has been touted by proponents as good home for a modern alternative to Augusta’s James Brown Arena, it has not come without controversy, as many have contended that the venue should be constructed in downtown Augusta.
The Regency Mall plan will receive more discussion on Tuesday, when the 10-member commission votes on the proposal. Under the terms of that agreement, property owner Cardinal Management would give the City of Augusta 10 acres to use for the new arena’s construction. In exchange, the company would receive concessions and tax abatements on the land surrounding the arena, which it would seek to convert into a mixed-use development.
Leading up to the vote, The Augusta Chronicle surveyed opinions among members of the commission, and was unable to come up with a clear consensus:
[Commissioner Sammy] Sias and [Commissioner Ben] Hasan, while attending a ribbon-cutting event on Thursday, refused to state their position on the issue when asked by a Chronicle reporter.
“You’ll get a direct answer on Tuesday when we vote,” Sias said.
Said Hasan: “We’re still looking at the information that was given and we’ll make a decision Tuesday.”
Also present at the ribbon-cutting was District 5 Commissioner Andrew Jefferson, whose district encompasses the Regency site. Jefferson, who has previously expressed support for a Regency arena, said Thursday his mind has “been made up a long time” and that he would elaborate during an Friday morning phone call. Jefferson did not call Friday or return phone messages throughout the day.
In order for the proposal to move forward, it will need approval from six of the 10 commissioners. In August, the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority voted to pursue the construction of a new venue at the site of Regency Mall. The authority took another step last Tuesday, when it voted to send the non-binding agreement to commissioners for their consideration.
RELATED STORIES: Deadline Imposed on Augusta Arena Negotiations; Regency Mall Site Eyed for Augusta Arena; Augusta Slowing Down Arena Pursuit; Augusta Close to Selecting New Arena Site; Augusta Meets with Arena Design Firms; James Brown Arena’s Success Fuels New Arena Talks