The MCG Foundation thought its ownership of a property in downtown Augusta was a done deal until Monday when they learned the plan had changed. (WRDW-TV / Feb. 20, 2012)
News 12 First at Five / Monday, March 5, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The president of Georgia Health Sciences University is speaking out against building a Walmart downtown. Dr. Ricardo Azziz is even threatening legal action.
"I welcome something nice into the area," said Lori Davis with the Harrisburg Neighborhood Association.
The suggested new Neighborhood Market by Walmart has everyone talking.
"I think it's great," Davis said.
But at least one pretty big neighbor is not so sure.
"The plan as currently stated is not something we favor or support," Azziz said.
The MCG Foundation says its ongoing conversations with the city were ignored. They fear their existing lease with a nearby Kroger will suffer.
"We are really hopeful that a better proposal will be brought forth," Azziz said.
City Administrator Fred Russell says he hopes everyone will overcome the friction.
"We'll come up with something that is good for everybody," he said.
Russell confirmed the contract had been signed and sealed, but he says a master plan is very possible. He says the plan would be pretty extensive.
"Maybe some facilities for a school, maybe some living arrangements," Russell said. "A couple small stores, a great coffee shop, a good grocery store and an opportunity to be a town center."
Azziz says they have yet to see any details.
"But we are looking for them," he said.
Azziz says time is running out.
"We may, at some point, have to take some fairly firm action in this regard," Azziz said.
"Does that mean legal action?" we asked Azziz.
"Nothing is off the table," Azziz replied.
Davis says the solution is simple.
"Present it to us," Davis said. "We've been through all the studies, but we haven't seen a master plan."
Azziz says he hopes to see that plan by the end of the week.