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FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2007
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Morgan school board to discuss property with Target developer

By Bayne Hughes
hughes@decaturdaily.com 340-2432

School board members agreed Thursday to listen to the Target store developer about a possible sale of the Morgan County Board of Education central office property, but they may have a hard time agreeing on how much the property is worth.

On Thursday night at the board's monthly meeting, Superintendent Bob Balch said he had met with two representatives of GBT Realty, and they had asked him to set up a meeting with the school board.

GBT Realty is developing The Crossings, a retail shopping center at U.S. 31 and Alabama 67 that will include a Target store.

Balch said one of the GBT representatives told him that his company didn't think the Alabama 67 property is worth $750,000 to $1 million an acre.

School board member Mike Tarpley, a real estate agent, recently told The Daily that an appraisal put the property's worth at between $750,000 and $850,000 an acre, while a real estate company is asking about $1.7 million an acre on the neighboring 2.9 acre Ramada Limited property.

"I told him we don't have a for sale sign out on Point Mallard Parkway for this property, and that he came to us," Balch said. "And we're not going to sell for less when our neighbors are asking for much more."

School board members insist they would need to make enough off the property to find a new location and rebuild the more than a half dozen buildings that are on the 16 acres.

"If they're not willing to pay enough, maybe we shouldn't waste our time," school board member Betty Hackett said.

School board member Tom Earwood and Tarpley said it wouldn't hurt to listen to GBT's pitch, which Balch said would be about how much the school system would benefit from the additional tax revenues generated from phase 2 of The Crossings.

School board President Jimmy Dobbs said he would prefer to meet at a separate time from the regular May meeting. Balch said he would schedule the meeting.

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