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 Originally, Hughes suggested a stadium could cost $20 million; he’s since admitted that figure is outdated.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.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Delicious Downtown Breakfast
Tony’s is open for breakfast every day from 7:30-10:30! Conveniently located on Washington St. right off Main. Stop in for something filling and delicious before work! Follow us for updates on specials.
A two-day outdoor art and crafts show celebrating its 38th year. Being held on September 5 & 6, 2014, Click for details
Accepting Applications for Shakespeare’s Kidz!
Students ages 10-16 are invited to join South Carolina Shakespeare’s new youth company, with classes running September 20th-December 11th followed by a final performance. Learn and hone audition skills, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare and modern works! Contact Katie Mixon with questions about scholarships and applications: PKatieMixon@gmail.com.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Music Break at Music Farm Columbia
Join COR for an evening of networking for music and business leaders on September 3rd, featuring performances by Josh Roberts and the Hinges, Death of Paris, Fat Rat Da Czar, and Lazy A and the Green Thang. Free admission for musicians and members! Register here.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Pool Cleaning-Full and part time available. Must have a clean driving record, be organized and have a professional appearance. Starting Pay is $10.00 per hr, please call for an interview, please bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Cal 803-865-1200
Company seeking carpenters, plumbers, masons work is year around with a 40 year old company. Starting pay is $10.00 but experienced individuals will be compensated accordingly. Must have a clean driving record and must bring a copy of your driving record to the interview. Please call 803-865-1200.
Real Estate Spotlight
Mungo Homes. Celebrating 60 years of our family building for your family. mungo.com