Augusta, Ga., to Fund Parking Garage in Support of Citywide Cyber Innovation Plan

The city is taking steps to recreate their city as the innovation hub of the future, and part of that plan is having space for their expected population rise.

by Susan McCord, The Augusta Chronicle, Ga. / March 28, 2017

(TNS) -- The city of Augusta is expected to contribute upwards of $10 million for construction of a 500-space parking garage in support of the new Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center.

City officials have been mum about the details of the contribution, but Mayor Hardie Davis and City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson said Thursday the city will be “engaged to the tune of” $10 million and $12 million “in terms of our partnership in helping to stand this facility up.”

The mayor wouldn’t elaborate on the reason for the contribution, while Jackson has said through a spokesman recently that a two-level parking facility is “part of the concept” presented by state officials ahead of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Jan. 11 announcement.

The $50 million state appropriation fast-tracked for the project includes $41.5 million to build a 159,000 square-foot facility on six acres at the former Georgia Golf Hall of Fame botanical gardens on Augusta’s riverfront at 13th Street.

Commissioners have heralded the project as a boon that forges a permanent connection between downtown and Fort Gordon, but haven’t discussed the parking component in open session or voted on it. Two weeks ago the commission met with Augusta University officials behind closed doors.

But a Feb. 22 request for proposals issued by the Georgia Technology Authority for project architectural and engineering services makes clear what is expected of Augusta.

Under a section marked “parking deck scope,” it states: “A separate pre-cast parking deck for approximately 500 spaces. The city of Augusta will fund the parking deck, and may or may not lead the design and construction activities.”

The hard cost budget for the deck is about stated as $17,000 to $19,000 per space, it said.

It’s unclear whether the deck would sit somewhere on the state-owned former gardens, which comprise a total of 17 acres, or nearby. A city fire station sits on an adjacent half-acre; next to it is an open 1.2 acres that housed a television studio. Existing street-level parking for the gardens takes up about 1.3 acres. The nearby city-built Augusta Convention Center parking garage, which has six levels and 650 spaces, sit on about 1.1 acres.

The contribution will not be Augusta’s first to the university system, a major employer. In 2008, the commission authorized spending $10 million in sales taxes to purchase the Gilbert Manor public housing project from Augusta Housing Authority. The purchase made way for the Dental College of Georgia expansion.

©2017 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.