Trussville ‘real close’ on filling former Food World, mayor says
By Gary Lloyd
Trussville Mayor Gene Melton said last week that the city’s Downtown Redevelopment Authority is “real close” to finding a tenant or tenants for the former Food World building on Main Street.
The authority’s yearlong contract with Retail Specialists ended Dec. 31, Melton said, and the authority will not be doing another yearlong contract.
“We’re going to see if this thing develops on a month-to-month basis,” Melton said. “If we can’t get anywhere, we’ll probably look for another realtor to help us. We think we’re very close on getting this thing done.”
Melton said Retail Specialists is still working on an “at will” basis on behalf of the city.
Some possible tenants have made offers to occupy the former Food World building, Melton said.
“There’s a grocery store and a fitness center that’s in competition with each other for that site,” he said. “The fitness folks just wanted half of (the building). We think we might have found a grocer that might take the other half and them work together.”
Trussville City Councilman Buddy Choat said CVS, which is in the same shopping center as the former Food World, recently agreed to allow a fitness club in the empty space if the building is subdivided between two businesses. CVS would already allow a grocery store in the space but not a pharmacy or drugstore, Choat said.
Should a fitness club occupy half the building, the city would have to designate a certain amount of parking for CVS since there will be more demand for parking spots, Choat said.
“That’s not a big sticking point, but that was part of the agreement as well,” he said.
Melton said the city is incurring “about $22,000 plus or minus” each month to rent the building. That monthly payment is drawn because the city is paying the 15-year lease that America’s Thrift Stores had originally signed to occupy the entire space. The city originally set the authority up with a $750,000 line of credit to pay the lease.
“Once they spend that, deplete that, make all those draws, then they’ll have to come back and ask us for some additional funds,” Melton said.
Choat said the building is “pretty naked right now” and that if a grocery store were to occupy the entire space, it would likely cost between $1 million and $1.5 million to “bring it back up to a grocery store” status with proper equipment and maintenance.
The Downtown Redevelopment Authority will next meet Feb. 7.