Two development companies have responded to City Hall’s inquiries to develop properties up for sale by Tuscaloosa developer Stan Pate.
A limited liability company affiliated with the Buddy’s Food Mart franchise has expressed interest in the tract off Rice Mine Road, while the developers behind the Shoppes at Legacy Park have expressed interest the McFarland Mall site.
According to documents provided by City Hall, no company expressed interest in both spaces and none offered up plans to develop what’s being called the Moore property, a 27.4-acre tract just east of the McFarland Mall site’s 38.6 acres.
And neither developer indicated how much they would pay for the respective tracts, though they indicated that they are open to negotiation.
Alumni Property & Investments LLC, the Clanton-based development company that the Shoppes at Legacy Park shopping center at the corner of McFarland Boulevard and 13th Street, said it would invest $80 million to $90 million to level the site — except for the former Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen building, which isn’t for sale — to construct an open-air mall “blending a mix of anchor retail along with complimentary small shops … (and) an assortment of inline fast casual and full service restaurants.”
Secondary uses for the McFarland Mall site could be hotel and entertainment.
“The tenant and use mix will determine the overall budget for the vertical construction,” Alumni’s response said. “Any secondary uses will also affect the cost.
“Additional inspections and due diligence on current sub-surface conditions need to be performed to determine the site construction budget.”
Alumni’s response said it could begin demolition of the McFarland Mall site in late summer or early fall 2020 with completion of the project by fall 2021 or spring 2022.
Its focus for anchor tenants was not specified, but it would likely be in the area of groceries, home or home-apparel, warehouse, pet, craft, show, electronics, sporting goods or office-based stores.
The company also said it would prefer that the $2.7 million appraised value of the Moore property be removed from the overall $23.5 million asking price for the combined 64.2 acres of the McFarland Mall and Moore property sites.
Across town, ECP LLC, a subsidiary of Kuykendall & Powell Oil Co., is proposing an estimated investment of $15 million to $20 million to develop a “multi-use family entertainment venue,” a project that would require the acquisition and use of the nearby Buddy’s Food Mart at Rice Mine Road and McFarland Boulevard.
ECP’s response said it intends to buy the 7.6-acre Rice Mine Road tract that’s being offered for $4.5 million, but offered no specific price. Rather, the company is requesting an additional 150-day due diligence period.
It also isn’t naming any specific tenants for the site, but ECP’s response said the company had obtained a letter of intent from one of two potential occupants, the largest of which would need a building of at least 42,000-square-feet.
Smaller buildings for other tenants would range from 1,800 to 3,000 square feet, “depending on the needs of the tenant,” the company’s response said.
It also said that all uses would conform with the existing zoning for the both the Pate-owned Rice Mine Road tract and the nearby Buddy’s Food Mart.
The current BH and BM zonings, respectively, for these tracts do not allow multi-family residential projects.
Under the current proposal before the City Council and should these development proposals be accepted, city leaders would purchase these tracts from Pate for a combined $28 million and then sell them to the respective developers.
Alumni’s offer is in line with the motivation of District 7 Councilwoman Sonya McKinstry to seek a buyer for the McFarland Mall and Moore properties that fall within the area she represents. In the resolution that she had placed on the council’s July 30 agenda, McKinstry said the elimination of blight was the reason for committing $23.5 million to this purchase.
She later said that acquiring this property from Pate would spur economic development for her district by selling off most of the land to a private development company while retaining a portion for a joint police and fire department public service facility near one of Tuscaloosa’s busiest traffic intersections.
But the pending resolution that would direct $4.5 million to acquire the tract north of the Black Warrior River between Rice Mine Road and McFarland Boulevard said this sale would be for the further development of the city’s Riverwalk recreational trail, and ECP’s proposed development makes no mention of incorporating this use into its project.
Instead of voting these purchases up or down on July 30, the council opted to enter into a 45-day due diligence period with Pate to determine whether any private company was willing to invest in these site.
This due diligence period ends Sept. 14, but can still be extended with a majority vote of the City Council.
Reach Jason Morton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0200.