(Source: Eric Fleischauer The Decatur Daily, Ala. (MCT) — Wal-Mart purchased 4.39 acres of land on Sixth Avenue on Tuesday — the future home of a Walmart Neighborhood Market — for $3.34 million, according to deeds filed with the Morgan County Probate Court.
The market, according to plans filed with the city, will include a grocery store and fuel center. It will be at the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street Southeast, next to Walgreen’s Pharmacy and across Sixth Avenue from McDonald’s.
Decatur Community and Economic Development Director Wally Terry said the development will benefit the city.
“This neighborhood market will add to this part of the community, which hasn’t really had a market like that for some time,” Terry said.
While most of the land purchased by Wal-Mart was vacant, it was prepared for development by John Cook Sr. after he purchased it in 2007. The former owner of Cook’s Pest Control, who died in 2009, tore down two houses and cleared the land.
Compared to the time before Cook bought the property, Terry said the market will improve the appearance of Sixth Avenue.
“It was an attractive site,” Terry said of the vacant lot. “It just didn’t have anything on it.”
Wal-Mart bought the land from Development Co. LLC — which aggregated land from several owners — and John Robin Thomas of Madison, according to the deeds.
Terry said other changes would benefit Sixth Avenue.
“I wish we could get something changed with underground power lines, but that’s a bigger question that will require Decatur Utilities and the state of Alabama and a lot of others,” Terry said.
Terry said John Abernathy, director of development for Birmingham-based Blackwater Resources, had the idea for the development. He began working with landowners while the Kohl’s development — which also started with Blackwater — was in progress.
“The city moved quicker than the developers could,” Terry said.
The Wal-Mart parcel is next to property owned by Ninth Street United Methodist Church. Because the market will sell beer and wine, the City Council approved a landscaping barrier to separate the properties.
The market will be about 41,000 square feet, according to documents filed with the Decatur Planning Commission, with an attached fuel center. Terry said Wal-Mart has not obtained permits for the fuel center, but he expects it will do so.
Ninth Street United Methodist Church Pastor Gary Heathcock said his congregation is comfortable with its new neighbor.
“I think it will be just fine,” Heathcock said. “We just want to see our community grow.”
©2012 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.)
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