AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – No one knows for sure what’s in store for the old Regency Mall site, but some Augusta commissioners believe it would make a good location for a new James Brown Arena.
“I think the site would be very good for that part of town, it would be a good moral booster for the people in that part of town,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams
In a letter to Mayor Davis, the mall owners are offered to lease 39 acres of the mall site at a dollar-a-year for 35 years. The lease also offers a 15-year option at market value. This a is concern for some commissioners.
“If you lease it for 35 years and have to invest all that, it’s really going to put Augusta in a hole I think,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.
“I can’t support it because it doesn’t safeguard the city,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
To better safeguard Augusta, Commissioner Marion Williams wants city leaders to get control of the mall property by condemnation if necessary.
“It’s been sitting there too long, I thought if we talked about condemnation that would get the ball rolling, that would get some conversation started. The judge can decide what the building is worth. We have to pay for it, we have to buy it,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.
“I think that may be a little harsh right now, maybe we should try some different avenues of negotiations to come out with a good deal for everyone,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
“Sounds like it’s harsh, George, but here we go again. That’s the perception. I’m trying to get some conversation started, some dialogue, if you’re a businessman sometimes you have to make some hard decisions,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
We e-mailed Regency owners for a response to the condemnation talk and did not get a response.
Commissioner Williams says he’s just trying to start a conversation but said he could not support building the new arena at the old mall under the current proposed lease deal.