MUSCLE SHOALS — Discussion continues on a possible retail incentive program for Muscle Shoals that could lead to the redevelopment of uninhabited properties.
The idea came to life after Gregg Pounders, a commercial real estate developer, asked the city in January to apply its current Wilson Dam Corridor retail incentive plan to his development on Woodward Avenue.
Pounders is renovating the shopping center that houses Sav-A-Lot grocery to become the home of a Goody’s clothing store. He asked the city to basically split sales tax collections for the next 10 years as an incentive for locating the retailer in Muscle Shoals.
Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford developed a proposal that would split sales tax collections on developments in parts of the city outside of the Wilson Dam Corridor for up to five years and $250,000.
The Wilson Dam Corridor is Wilson Dam Highway and 1,500 feet down any intersecting roads.
“That is similar to what I asked for, but the numbers are a little bit different,” Pounders said. He is scheduled to discuss the plan further at today’s City Council meeting and declined further comments until after that meeting.
Bradford said he wants to encourage development of unused property but the two retail incentive plans need to be developed differently.
“We don’t have any main retail along Wilson Dam highway,” Bradford said. “We are looking to attract something there and improve the traffic count there.
“On Woodward and in other parts of the city, we already have established retail and traffic.”
Both plans require a national or regional retail chain to create a name-brand draw to the development that would benefit the surrounding businesses, Bradford said.
Incentive programs are popular tools in recruiting new industry or expanding existing industry, but the use of incentives to attract retail business isn’t quite as common.
City Councilman Allen Noles has been part of conference calls to develop the new incentive plan and called the council’s most recent meeting progress.
Bradford echoed that sentiment.
“A lot of municipalities have to go to the bond market or purchase property for development; we didn’t want to go to that extreme because it could limit other services,” he said.
The city did purchase the property for Zaxby’s on Avalon Avenue in 2010.
The Wilson Dam Corridor incentive plan was put in place in late 2010. Bradford said developers have made inquiries about it but it has not been used to date.
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@ TimesDaily.com.