UPDATE: North Augusta development proposal includes GreenJackets stadium, hotel

A rendering of the proposed North Augusta complex. (WRDW-TV)
A rendering of the proposed North Augusta complex. (WRDW-TV)
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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Rumors of what will be built on the North Augusta riverfront have been circulating for weeks.

On Wednesday at the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce meeting, city leaders announced the answer. It's a $150 million proposal looking to bring new development, including a hotel and baseball stadium.

"It's our time," said business owner Rachel Franklin. "It's our time for that business to stay here."

After years of watching business go across the river into Augusta, she's ready for a change.

"We have kept the best kept secret too long and we need to let not just new people, but our residents need to know what a gem we have," she said.

That's exactly what city leaders and developers are hoping "Project Jackson" will do.

"This is the largest economic proposal ever made in the history of North Augusta," said Mayor Lark Jones.

The plan is a $150 million public/private investment that would include a resort-style hotel with conference center, a baseball stadium for the GreenJackets and a 900-car parking deck, apartments, townhouses, a new Family YMCA and space for offices, retail stores and restaurants.

"As former Mayor Green said many, many years ago, he said, 'We only got one shot at the river, and you've got to do it right,'" Jones said.

"It's gonna generate a lot of interest in North Augusta," said Jeff Eiseman, president of the Augusta GreenJackets. "People that haven't taken the time to get to know this community are gonna have that opportunity."

All the construction and new development would take place between the existing Hammond's Ferry and Georgia Avenue, just down the hill from City Hall.

"It is a proposal," Jones said. "This is not an announcement that it is being done."

But Franklin said this is exactly what they need.

"We've been needing a hotel for a very long time. You know, we have dog show, cat show, knife show, Nike Peach Jam, and all the business goes right over the river. I don't think most people even know that we have a town," Franklin said.

They are hoping to get approval in the next six months to a year. Before that time, they will have multiple meetings and public hearings to get your input.

If they are approved, they are hoping to break ground in fall 2013. They say the project will take two to three years to complete. The goal is opening day at the stadium in April 2015.

The project would cost $150 million. Approximately $43 million would be paid by the public, but the mayor says taxes will not be raised.

Initial report:

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The city of North Augusta unveiled its plan for a baseball stadium and a multi-million dollar conference center on Wednesday morning.

The proposal requires a $122 million private investment and a $42 million public investment.

The project includes three to four restaurants, 30,000 square feet of retail, 225 apartments, 75 townhouses, a 200-room hotel and 40,000 square feet of offices.

The GreenJackets stadium would be next door with a 900-car parking deck. The team is being sold by Ripken Baseball to a group of investors with local and regional ties.

The goal is to have the plans approved within the next year and break ground by the summer or fall. They expect it would take two to three years to complete. Opening day for the baseball stadium is expected to be in spring 2015.

Commissioners say nothing has been acted upon yet and there will be lots of public input before any approval is finalized.

Approximately 70 percent of the project would be paid for by the private sector and 30 percent from the public sector. The public's portion of the funding will have to be approved by City Council.

A rendering of the proposed North Augusta complex. (WRDW-TV)
A rendering of the proposed North Augusta complex. (WRDW-TV)
A rendering of the proposed North Augusta complex. (WRDW-TV)
A rendering of the proposed North Augusta complex. (WRDW-TV)

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