News 12 First at Five/ June 9, 2014
Augusta, Ga (WRDW)--------In 2013, code enforcement officers told News 12 the property was 90 to 95 percent up to city code. Now we're told it's 100 percent secure and up to code. We went to the property and found two doors not secured like the city ordinance states.
"Code enforcement several years ago said that it was up to code. They said it was mothballed. I insisted they go back in and they found leakage coming in from the roof," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.
"I was at the mall when it was operational. It was a good mall. I don't know what happened. I guess they lost business," said Neighbor Sheldon Maurer.
Maurer remembers the Regency Mall a lot different then an empty building and parking lot. He says things started to change for Regency Mall once Augusta Mall opened.
"I was wondering what goes on with our SPLOST money. It seems to me that the property should have been purchased a long time ago. It seems to be it would have been an asset," said Maurer.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver is also thinking SPLOST. He says the old mall property could have potential for the city. "I believe the last I heard that the owner was asking for about $50 million. If that's the case the city couldn't afford to it," said Mayor Deke Copenhaver.
The latest appraisel of the property from the city's GIS system has the land and building costing more than $ 2.5 million. It's no where near the $50 million the owner wanted. Commissioner Bill Lockett is thinking that the city should use imminent domain and force the owner to sell through the court system.
"They haven't done anything constructive. maybe we need to do that. i wouldn't be reluctant to do that at all," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.
The city could buy the property from the New York owners or force them to sell. Until either decision gets six votes, Regency Mall will still look a lot like this.
Mayor Copenhaver says buying the mall could be put on a sales tax package wish list. He says the commission could find use for the building in the future.