Wed, April 24, 2024

Another hurdle cleared and one step closer to JBA reality

The second step required to collect funds for the new James Brown Arena construction has been completed. Augusta Commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Augusta Richmond County Coliseum Authority.

The agreement sets in motion the financial process of collecting and dispersing the money from the half-penny Construction Special Project, Local Option Sales Tax (C-SPLOST). It also clears the way to begin collecting money through the $250 million bond issue approved by voters last November.

The process began in late January when members of the Authority approved the intergovernmental agreement. Attorney Ed Enoch, the Authority’s legal counsel, made clear to the Authority members that they, not the commission, would be managing the project.

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Nations Group, the Arizona-based company hired as the owner’s representative, will advertise the requests for proposals (RFPs) and coordinate between the architect and builders as the advocate for the Authority.

Enoch explained the sales tax funds for the project will be collected by the city of Augusta.

“Once the intergovernmental agreement is signed, there’ll be a process for requesting requisitions periodically based on progress and sign-offs by the architect on where we are, just like any other construction project,” he said.

It will also give the Authority access to the funds to enter into longer-term contracts. Anticipating the Commission’s approval, they’ve been preparing RFPs for the construction manager at risk, to come in to build the arena and provide a guaranteed maximum price.

The new JBA is the largest component of a three-step project to create a new Augusta Entertainment Center.

Work is well underway on the first step, renovating and updating the Bell Auditorium which includes adding more than 5,000 square feet to the lobby, additional restrooms, a green room for performers, and an elevator connecting the dressing rooms to the stage.

The project remains on budget and on schedule for the April 29 completion of construction. After that, the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE) will be installed. Target date for the first show in the Bell is late May.

The third step of the project is the construction of a concourse connecting the new JBA to the Bell.

District 7 Commissioner, Sean Frantom anticipates the half-penny sales tax will be added to the purchase of goods and services in early April.

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