Auburn historic train depot to be purchased and transformed by c - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Auburn historic train depot to be purchased and transformed by city

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People have been questioning the future of an empty, old train depot in Auburn for years.

"I'd like to see it as a coffee shop maybe," says Auburn resident, William Hetherington.

"I think definitely something like retail would be cool, something like a restaurant, where'd you actually go, maybe like a club," explains Auburn University student, Dylan DePonte.

The Industrial Development Board, an entity of the City, plans to buy the depot for historic preservation as well as renovate it to promote new economic development.

"We're going to fist evaluate if there's an opportunity to place it in the hands of the private sector by assembling the entire block, including the old gas station, the depot and try to put together a plan for its reuse," explains Philip Dunlap of City of Auburn's Economic Development Department.

The rustic, brick building located on Mitcham Avenue, was built around 1904 and has been vacant since 2003.

At the City Council meeting Tuesday, the IDB will ask members to approve a resolution to purchase the building for $950,000.

"There's not a final estimate, so preliminary numbers on what it would close to fix it up in various degrees, but our plan right now is to acquire it and then put together a request for proposals and see if we can partner with someone to redevelop it and create jobs and taxes with it," says Dunlap.

The goal is to preserve the historic look and feel of the block, and have it serve as a gateway into downtown Auburn.

"If you want to preserve the history then it should be something with a lot of character that people will know about," states DePonte.  

"Something like that, that is more Auburn themed because it really could emphasize how much of a tight nit community we really are," explains Hetherington.

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