UPDATE: City leaders say owners have yet to secure Regency Mall property

Abandoned Regency Mall
The Regency Mall has been closed for years, but that doesn't mean people haven't had access to it. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 28, 2012)
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Friday, Sept. 28, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The owners of the old Regency Mall property had until Friday to secure the building, but city leaders say that did not happen.

The fire chief says the fire alarm system doesn't work and there are several other code enforcement violations.

The city says if the owners don't get the building up to code, they will knock it down.

Property owners said earlier this week they hoped to have the project finished in a month.

News 12 will keep you updated on the latest with this story.

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Sept. 24, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The city of Augusta is now talking tough about the old Regency Mall property.

The fire chief is also issuing is a dire warning after News 12 found a way inside the supposedly abandoned building.

"I don't think that building is safe to be occupied," said Fire Chief Chris James after recent reports of fire and vandalism. "That makes that building a concern."

The commission now wants an update on the state of code enforcement violations in light of our report.

Chief James says the fire alarm system doesn't work.

"Trespassing should not equal a death sentence," he said.

It wasn't hard to to find a way inside, but News 12's crew wasn't alone. The crew left when they heard footsteps.

"Did you know the alarm system was not working?" we asked Code Enforcement Director George Patty. "We did not know that. We have not been in the building since June."

And yet the city approved a recent circus event in the parking lot.

"But they certainly shouldn't be trying to go into the building," said Rob Sherman with the city License and Inspection Department.

"Did your department sign off on that request to allow them to have that circus there?" Commissioner Bill Lockett asked Sherman.

"Yes," Sherman said.

"Without knowing whether it was safe or not?" replied Lockett rhetorically.

"We are going to look at all of our codes and see what type of pressure we can put on these owners to make sure they comply with all our codes that we have," said Patty who had tough words for the current owners. "You are going to comply with the codes or you are going to have to demolish it."

As for trespassers, there is a message for you, too.

"You are putting your own life in your hands," James said.

We got our hands on this response from the Regency Mall property owners. They say work will start this week to bring things up to code. They hope to finish up in one month.

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