Sat, May 25, 2024

New representative chosen for next step in JBA construction

Members of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority selected an Arizona-based firm to serve as owners’ representatives as they begin the next phase of building a new James Brown Arena.

Legal counsel, Ed Enoch presented the authority with a recommendation to hire Nations Group (https://nationsgroup.com) to fill the role that had been held by H.B. Brantley.

“They won’t be building it. They will be coordinating between the architect and the builder,” Enoch explained. “And they’ll be putting together the RFP for us to go out and get a builder. That’s part of this, they’ll be our eyes and ears or advocate.”

Enoch said the company will be paid 1.8% of the project’s $250 million price tag.

“Brad Usry, (Chairman of the authority’s New JBA subcommittee) had done some research, looking at the rates that Savannah paid, and others,” Enoch outlined. “Got some feedback from other projects. They were saying two-and-a-quarter, so I feel good about his number.”

Authority members voted unanimously to follow Enoch’s recommendation.

Although Nations Group is based in Scottsdale, the authority will be working with a familiar face. Mike Harvey will be the conduit between the authority and the company. Harvey previously worked with Perkins+Will, the architectural firm that designed the overall project, which includes a concourse to connect the JBA to the Bell Auditorium and renovations to the Bell, currently underway.

(From the Nation’s Group website)

 Part of that project is renovating the existing lobby area. The new lobby will be more than 5,000 square feet, 30 feet tall with high ceilings. It will shape the theme the design team created, “Behind the Curtain.”

Authority members received an update on those renovations from Davis Heigle with McKnight Construction.

“The curtain wall has started to go up, that’s the storefront with the big windows,” she said. “We’re expecting our brick to ship out any day and once it’s here, we’ll start working on the exterior as well. Inside, we have passed our mechanical, electrical, and plumbing inspections in the majority of the renovated areas, so, a lot more sheetrock is going up. We have had to work through a variety of existing conditions and changes to scope in the past couple of weeks, but we’ve gotten most of the change orders for those items approved and they’re well within the contingency.”

The additional lobby space on the 7th Street side of the existing building will form part of the connector that will link the Bell with the new James Brown Arena.

Heigle said the project remains on budget and still has a target to re-open in Spring 2024.

The cost of the renovations to the Bell is capped at a guaranteed $17.5 million. Money to begin that part of the project came from the $25 million voters approved in the 2021 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 8 (SPLOST) referendum.

In November, Richmond County voters approved the $250 million Construction Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (C-SPLOST) to pay for the new arena. The referendum adds a half-penny sales tax to all goods and services sold in the county – money designated for the entertainment complex project. That sales tax will be added to purchases beginning April 1, 2024.

Updates on the project are available at: https://newaugustaarena.com/

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