MUSCLE SHOALS — A retail incentive package originally designed to bring national chain stores to the Wilson Dam Highway area in Muscle Shoals may be expanded.
Gregg Pounders, president of Pounders and Associates, a commercial real estate firm in the Shoals, asked the City Council to consider applying the existing retail incentive package to his development project on Woodward Avenue.
The current incentive package allows for splitting non-education sales taxes generated by a national retailer or restaurant chain that locates near Wilson Dam Highway. Pounders is in the process of refurbishing the Save-A-Lot shopping center on Woodward Avenue to house a 13,500-square-foot Goody’s department store. There are two additional retail spaces that are currently not rented.
Pounders is seeking 50 percent of the city’s 3.5 percent sales tax on revenue generated by Goody’s as a developers incentive.
City Council President Jim Holland said the council would likely discuss expanding the incentive package to other retail corridors in the city instead of approving “spot zoning” changes.
“If we do anything, we need it to be citywide,” Holland said.
According to sales projections provided by Pounders, Goody’s is expected to generate $63,000 in sales tax revenue its first year. That would mean Pounders, as the developer, and the city would each receive $37,645 in sales tax revenue.
In the 10-year projection, Pounders anticipates receiving $344,916 from the sale tax incentives.
Councilman Joe Pampinto agreed the council should look at expanding the parameters of the current incentives to attract more national businesses to Muscle Shoals. Bringing a national chain restaurant to the city has long been a goal of city officials.
“How we are going to apply the incentives needs to be looked at,” Pampinto said. “There are too many empty buildings all over.”
The council will likely address Pounder’s request at its Jan. 22 meeting. Pounders said the Goody’s store would bring 20 jobs to Muscle Shoals.
Pounders and Associates purchased the four-unit shopping center during the summer from a New York real estate investment firm. Pounders said he plans to completely renovate the three currently unoccupied spaces.
“I refer to it as the old Kroger building,” he said. “I hope to never refer to it as that again, but until we refurbish it, it is going to look like a grocery store.”
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The retailer or restaurant must locate near the Wilson Dam Highway corridor.
Retailers and restaurants must be part of a national chain and must provide the nature and history of their businesses, including the number of years in business, information about other locations, financial strength and projected employment.
The retailer or restaurant must have a minimum of $1.2 million in gross annual sales.
Credits will not exceed 50 percent of the sales tax generated to the city.
The total of all monetary incentives of a proposed project will not exceed $1 million over a 10-year period.
Source: Pounders and Associates