Depot project: Confusion about plans and deadlines?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The old train depot will stay as it is for a while. The city says they did not get official plans for the property.

Today, commissioners were supposed to talk about it but they didn't.

The downtown development authority says there is no major hold up and plans are on track. The old train project is not derailed, instead, there seems to be some in house issues with the city.

The Augusta Law Department wrote a letter saying that they asked for project plans including financials but never got it. Plus, the June 30th deadline had passed.

But the downtown development authority says that deadline wasn't for project plans, adding that BLOC Global, the developer for the project, turned in what was due like concepts, money deposits, and drafts of agreements.

In commission, leaders voted to delete the discussion off the agenda but they did talk during a legal session where the DDA says BLOC Global is all in on this project and they just want to hammer out more specifics first.

"I think we clarified that today or at least hit on it. We asked the developer to go back to the drawing board on the plans and the construction contract because we weren't satisfied. We knew what the city was expecting the level of detail and it wasn't there," said Margaret Woodard, with the downtown development authority.

A $93 million development project for a quiet corner of prime real estate along the river that's been undeveloped for years but the project is making a lot of noise for what some call the wrong reasons.

The city's law department says the developers did not turn in plans but the downtown development authority says they turned in some paperwork on behalf of the developer, BLOC Global, by the deadline.

"We are still continuing to get documents to the city and we're still setting up conference calls to talk about legal documents that are being drafted, so it's still a very straight path forward," said Woodard.

She says the city hasn't gotten the business plan or formal financials because those were not the plans officially due.

"We asked the developer to go back to the drawing board on the plans and the construction contract because we weren't satisfied we knew what the city was expecting the level of detail and it wasn't there," said Woodard.

Some commissioners are concerned about the project as whole the timeline, what's exactly coming and how it's coming but the DDA says it is coming.

"I think we were able to vocalize that today, that we are looking out for the city," said Woodard.

While leaders did not publicly talk about it, deleting the agenda altogether, they say they will keep talking about until everyone is on one accord.