Parcel set for redevelopment

On Monday, the Cullman Planning Commission will review preliminary site plans for an 8,020-square-foot, two-unit retail structure to go up on the corner of U.S. 31 and Loring Street, the former site of a gas station shown Wednesday.

The final piece of the $20 million expanded and renovated Cullman Shopping Center could finally be coming to fruition with the last parcel set for redevelopment.

On Monday, the Cullman Planning Commission will review preliminary site plans for an 8,020-square-foot, two-unit retail structure to go up on the corner of U.S. 31 and Loring Street, the former site of a gas station in front of Premier Bank.

What will occupy the new building has not been publicly disclosed, but the city’s $6 million tax revenue sharing contract with the shopping center’s developer, Merchants Retail Partners (MRP), stipulates a restaurant must open as part of the expansion.

A number of chain restaurants have been sought for the site but have fallen through due to national economic trends, officials said.

The lot has been vacant, surrounded by fencing, in recent years while Publix’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ulta have taken off, raking in sales and tax revenue, in the newly expanding retail center alongside Ross Dress for Less, PetSmart and the newly opened Five Below.

Under the city’s agreement, businesses at the shopping center will still pay sales tax, though the city will pay back some of those funds for a set period of time. The deal only affects city sales tax (1.75 percent) and does not include education taxes.

Preliminary estimates showed that approximately $276,000 would be paid back via a portion of existing sales tax the first three years, with as much as $800,000 produced (and split) in the subsequent seven years from new development. The city also approved $1.8 million in infrastructure upgrades for the project in 2014 in addition to the $6 million agreement.

On Monday, the planning commission will also take up a preliminary site plan for the redevelopment of two other properties along U.S. 31.

The former Chrysler Dodge dealership and Trader Bob’s Flea Mall and Antique Center that sits across from it are both set to be remodeled for new retailers, building department records show, but officials have not said publicly what will open there.

Tiffeny Owens can be reached at towens@cullmantimes.com or at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.

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