On Tuesday, the Augusta City Commission voted by a 7-1 margin to reject a plan for a proposed Augusta arena at the Regency Mall site.
Discussions on the potential construction of a new arena in the Georgia city have been focused on the vacant Regency Mall, particularly since an August vote by the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority to pursue the site. While the plan was touted by proponents as a key investment in the city’s south side, many have argued that a new Augusta arena should be built downtown.
The city commission considered the latest proposal on Tuesday. A vote earlier in the evening on a substitute motion resulted in mayor Hardie Davis breaking a 5-5 tie to approve the site for an arena, form a subcommittee, identify an arena funding source, and extend Regency Mall negotiations with Cardinal Management by 45 days. However, upon a re-vote, the commission ultimately moved 7-1 to reject the plan. More from The Augusta Chronicle:
The latest version of Cardinal’s proposal involved it gifting a 10-acre tract where the city would build a 12,000- to 15,000-seat arena but let the New York-based company retain the remaining 62 acres, much of which the city was expected to maintain, insure, pay all taxes or abate them and give Cardinal all rights to develop.
Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson said based on Commissioner Sammie Sias’ earlier motion to give the authority a Nov. 30 deadline to develop a deal, the arrangement had to be “acceptable to the commission,” which it was not Tuesday. Plus the authority needs commission support to fund the project, he added.
Authority Vice Chairman Brad Usry said members agreed when voting on the deal last week that they will move on to another site if the commission rejected the plan.
“It’s time to move on and I think we can get a very nice arena downtown, and in the midst of this we can start conversations about something suitable for Regency that will help the whole city,” Usry said.
A new Augusta arena would effectively serve as a replacement for James Brown Arena. Located in downtown Augusta, James Brown Arena originally opened in 1980.
RELATED STORIES: Augusta Arena Vote Set for Tuesday; 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