Auburn City Council approves purchase of train depot and construction of "Big D" auditorium

Auburn City Council approves purchase of train depot and construction of "Big D" auditorium

The historic Auburn train depot will soon be transformed into a new gateway into the City.

The Auburn City Council decided Tuesday that they will allow its Industrial Development Board to buy the depot for historic preservation as well as renovate it to promote new economic development in the city.

The rustic, brick building located on Mitcham Avenue, was built in the early 1900s and has been vacant since 2003.

IDB will plan to purchase the building as well as the block 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," explains Philip Dunlap of the City of Auburn Economic Development Department.

The City also passed an ordinance that would allow the Carmike Wynnsong 16 to construct a "Big D" auditorium in the existing Auburn Theater.

The new auditorium would combine three existing theaters; add 225 seats, and a wall to wall screen measuring 78 feet wide by 35 feet tall.

The goal of the $1.7 million dollar project is to compete with the new theater currently being built in Opelika and also benefiting Auburn City Schools.

"Thirteen percent of revenues will go to the city school system," explains Auburn City Manager, Charlie Duggan. "So for any of these commercial development agreements that we've had over the last several years, we've reduced the amount from 100 percent to 87 percent to reserve that money for the school system before we start talking about how much we would divide between what the city would receive and the company."

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