Sunday, May 16, 2010

Products Mart to discuss sale of land near fairgrounds

By Ronnie Thomas, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

The State Products Mart Authority of Morgan County will consider selling about 6.5 acres at Wimberly Drive Southwest and Fairgrounds Road at its board meeting Tuesday.

The board meets at 7 a.m. at the law offices of Harris, Caddell & Shanks P.C. at 214 Johnston St. S.E. The public is invited.


Jeff Parker of Parker Real Estate LLC, who markets property for Products Mart, said he has a contract with a buyer for a cash purchase of $625,000. The property is across from the Home Depot parking lot.

Parker said the site would be ideal for a national chain restaurant or restaurant/hotel combination.

“I think that would be best for the city and for that location,” he said. “The Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau says there’s a need for more hotel rooms and the site is in proximity to Jack Allen Park and the soccer fields.”

Products Mart Chairman Ed Monroe called the transaction “a bona fide deal that we’d all be proud of. We’ll take action one way or the other Tuesday.”


He said Products Mart has had seven or eight offers for the property during the past two months.

Monroe said he spoke with Sonny Wright of the Tennessee Valley Exposition, which sponsors the nearby annual Morgan County Fair, to make sure, he said, that the sale would not negatively impact the fair.

Products Mart has a contract with Tennessee Valley Exposition to provide a
site for the fair through 2016.

Wright, a member of TVE’s executive committee, is the group’s liaison with Products Mart.

“This is a piece of property we don’t use normally,” Wright said.

“We used it several years ago for parking. We have property south of that tract we use as an overflow parking lot. We don’t feel selling it would adversely affect the fair.”

Parker said he has sold land to the purchaser over the years.

‘Speculative buy’

“This is a speculative buy,” Parker said. “Land is better than having cash in the bank right now.”

Jim Page, vice president of public policy and business development for the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, said he has already spoken to developers and restaurant officials about the site.

“It’s a great parcel for a restaurant or hotel specifically because of its proximity to Chili’s, but it could really be utilized for anything because of access to Wimberly Drive and the Beltline,” he said.

“That section has become a commercial corridor with Chili’s, Home Depot and Academy Sports, and Hyundai is back up and running. Options are pretty wide open. There are unlimited opportunities for that piece of property.”


Page said it will be part of his portfolio he takes to the International Council of Shopping Centers on May 23-25 in Las Vegas.

“There will be 50,000 people there,” he said.

“It’s the world’s largest gathering of people in the retail profession. I’ve got a comprehensive retail guide that encompasses the city, including the Beltline, Sixth Avenue, the Alabama 24 corridor and downtown.”

Page said that while the chamber doesn’t advocate for any specific part of the city, he said the Southwest has prime retail property and also residential growth.

“There’s viable land now and viable land for many, many years,” he said.

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