As the City of Columbia explores how to pay for infrastructure, parking and possibly a baseball stadium at Bull Street, the estimated price continues to go up.
Council has already committed to spending $31.236 million at Bull Street, money that developer Bob Hughes will use for water and sewer lines and other infrastructure. In return, over the next 30 years, Hughes plans to build a massive live-work-play development there.
The City of Columbia has also committed to building two parking garages of 800 spaces each at Bull Street, provided Hughes meets certain development milestones. The estimated pricetag for the two garages together has climbed to $25,890,000, according to a presentation city staff made Feb. 4.
And then there’s the baseball stadium. Originally, Hughes suggested a stadium could cost $20 million; he’s since admitted that figure is outdated. Hardball Capital owner Jason Freier, who’s proposing to bring a team to Columbia, is pitching a deal under which the city would pay $35 million. But a consulting group the city has hired to help explore options for building a stadium is working with a pricetag of $41.8 million — the total projected amount to issue bonds, handle all contracting and due diligence and actually build the stadium.
In other words, city taxpayers are already on the hook for $57,126,000 at Bull Street. The baseball stadium would bump that price tag up to as much as $98,926,000, if one uses the consultants' $41.8 million price.
Frustrated with the growing costs, Councilman Moe Baddourah asked Columbia Chief Financial Officer Jeff Palen, “When do you say ‘This is a firm number that we can go with’?”
Essentially, said Palen, he’ll have to continue revising his projections throughout the process.
At Council’s Tuesday meeting, Palen and the city’s and financial adviser laid out a few scenarios for how the city could cover all these costs. [View their presentation here.]
The basic funding proposal involves:
Issuing a $30 million bond backed up by hospitality tax collections;
Paying $5 million in cash in $1 million increments; and
Issuing $57,126,000 in Installment Purchase Revenue Bonds spread out over five years. IPRBs can be paid back from a variety of sources.
Whatever happens, Mayor Steve Benjamin wanted it made clear the city won’t be spending water and sewer funds on non-water and sewer aspects of the project.
“There was a consensus on this Council that water and sewer funds be used for water and sewer only,” Benjamin said.
But, pointed out Councilman Leona Plaugh, the city would still be “putting water and sewer funds at Bull Street over other [water and sewer] needs in the city.”
That discussion is somewhat moot, Councilman Tameika Isaac Devine pointed out.
“We are committed to funding the infrastructure for Bull Street, which is $57 million,” Devine said. “Whether or not we have an additional commitment, that’s going to be part of this discussion. The reality is we have a standing agreement with a developer and we are looking at [financing] options. We’re on the hook.”
The consulting group Brailsford and Dunlavey laid out two possible schedules for the baseball stadium project. One would have the city hiring a firm to both design and build the stadium, with construction beginning within months and a team starting the 2015 season in the stadium. The other, slower timetable would let the city contract a design and then take bids for a builder, and would have a team in the stadium for the 2016 season. The schedules are available here.
Veteran Vapors now open!
Veteran-owned and operated, Veteran Vapors is located at 2308 Airport Blvd. in West Columbia. This month, 10% of all juice sales will be donated to Save the Ta-Tas. Special discounts available to veterans, military and public safety officials.
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
$10 Spa Specials!
Join us for 60-minute facials, microdermabrasion, bikini waxing, and more for only $10! 823 Gervais Street, Suite 120. Text your appointment request to 803-468-4643.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
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U.S. Security Associates
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Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: email@example.com.