Council sale will net new retailer

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A multi-layered real estate deal approved by the Andalusia City Council last night should net a “major new retailer” in the city.

After meeting in closed session for about 40 minutes Tuesday, the council voted 3-1 to sell its interest in the property currently occupied by Barrow’s Furniture for $350,000 cash. Barrow’s, in turn, will sell a portion of the  property to a new retailer. Barrow’s will not close its retail location, but will sell the property on which currently unused warehouses sit.

“This will mean 30 to 35 new jobs and tens of thousands of dollars in sales taxes and business licenses,” Mayor Earl Johnson said.

Barrow’s entered a purchase agreement with the city on the property in late 2004 or early 2005. In the agreement, Barrow’s was to pay the city $400,000 against a purchase price of $1.2 million. City sales taxes paid by Barrow’s were to go against the balance of $820,000. Once that obligation was met, the company would have gotten the deed and title to the property. To date, the company had accumulated approximately $200,000 in sales tax credits, a figure that represents $10 million in local retail sales.

The council’s vote authorized Mayor Earl Johnson to negotiate the deal for the city, including legal issues which might arise.

Kennith Mount voted against the sale, with Terry Powell, Hazel Griffin and Will Sconiers voting in favor of it. Jason Jewell was absent. Mount declined comment.

The council also:

• authorized the purchase of 11 vehicles, including three new police cars; new cameras for 20 police cars; one new and one used vehicle for the planning and development department; two new vehicles for public works; and four used vehicles for leisure services. The used vehicles will be purchased from state surplus.

• agreed to contribute $2,500 to the Andalusia Kiwanis Club, who will host the state convention here this summer.

• announced three openings on the city’s recreation board.