DDA, Developer “Still Moving Forward” With Riverfront at the Depot
A few days after some issues regarding the development of the Riverfront at the Depot project surfaced, the Downtown Development Authority and the city clarified miscommunications at a commission meeting Tuesday that resulted from misleading reports of the project’s status.
Reports suggested that the project developer, Bloc Global, had failed to meet deadlines in providing key documents to the city that were required for the project to continue on schedule, and that the development might be in jeopardy.
Margaret Woodard, president of the Downtown Development Authority, the organization that has taken the lead on coordinating the development process of the Riverfront at the Depot with Bloc Global since the project’s inception, said those reports were misinformed and that Bloc Global had submitted the necessary documents by June 30.
“They made the deadline a week early,” Woodard said. “We are still moving forward with the project.”
Bloc Global has been submitting documents regarding plans for the Riverfront at the Depot to the DDA, which then reviews and forwards them to the city. Those documents include items required in purchase sale and development agreement as well as items required for sale of property and bond issue per the grant proposal.
Items required in purchase sale and development agreement were due June 30, 270 days after the agreement was solidified last October, Woodard said. Bloc Global provided those documents by the deadline. The latter items did not have a due date. Bloc Global did exercise a 60-day extension of the due diligence period but have yet to be late on the submission of any documents, Woodard said.
Woodard said during the commission meeting on Tuesday that part of the length of the process has been because the DDA asked Bloc Global to redo some of its submissions, according to a report from The Augusta Chronicle.
Woodard said the DDA and Bloc Global plans to wrap everything up by July 22 with regard to documentation.
The source of the $14 million in bonds that the the DDA will issue for the city’s part of the bargain is still unknown, according to the report.
“The project is still alive, and we’re hopeful we can come up with some scenarios or at least some scenario where it won’t be a burden on the citizens of Augusta,” Commissioner Bobby Williams said during the meeting.
The other issue is that part of the development site has already been committed to parking for Unisys, an issue Commissioner Brandon Garrett said could be solved with a parking deck funded by the next special purpose local options sales tax package.