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Eyeing
Hartselle land

Development company will sign
option for property near I-65

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — A real estate firm with completed and ongoing projects in North Alabama has agreed to a $2.2 million option for city-owned property near Alabama 36 and Interstate 65.

Aronov Realty, a Montgomery-based real estate development and management company established in 1952, has not decided what it will put on the property, but Publix has anchored most of its developments. The contract is for 330 days.

Mayor Dwight Tankersley discussed details of the contract with the City Council at Monday's work session. The council majority agreed with the contract and will ratify it Tuesday night.

"This is a typical sale and purchase contract for a developer looking for commercial property," Tankersley said. "This is a reputable company and what we have been looking for."

Aronov will make a $10,000 refundable deposit to the city. If the company does not find a business to locate on the property within 330 days, it is not obligated to buy the land, Tankersley said.

After that time expires, Aronov may extend its option for two 90-day periods. During each 90-day period, however, the company would have to make non-refundable $10,000 deposits.

"We're extremely excited about this because Aronov has a good track record in Alabama," the mayor said. "They are excited about being in Hartselle."

According to the company's Web site, Aronov is currently constructing a mixed-use development in Madison near Jeff Road and Alabama 53. The 100-acre development includes a shopping center with a 45,500-square-foot Publix as its anchor.

"This project also includes some residential development," Tankersley said.

Aronov also constructed the first Publix in Hampton Cove, the mayor said.

Just about all of Aronov's developments, including projects in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida, include a Publix.

In east Montgomery, the company has a development that includes Publix, Stein Mart, Hibbett Sports, Joe's Hallmark, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Doc Green's Marquirete's, Quiznos, Nail Studio, Jim Massey Formal Wear, Hair Masters, America's Mattress, Starbucks, Compass Bank and Zaxby's.

The 18.8 acres Aronov wants to develop in Hartselle is property the city purchased about two years ago from NBC Inc., a family-owned corporation. The city paid NBC $550,000 down in 2006 and must pay the corporation $27,669 monthly for the next four years.

Aaron Aronov, the person for whom the company is named, was a founding member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Tankersley said his first conversations with the company about Hartselle were at the ICSC convention in Las Vegas this year.

"They have made several trips to Hartselle since we first talked in Vegas," he said.

City leaders here had tried unsuccessfully during the past decade to increase Hartselle's tax base by attracting commercial development to I-65.

Lack of sewer has been one of the reasons developers have shied away. This problem should be rectified early next year because the council has agreed to spend more than $600,000 to get sewer to the land.

"This is a great opportunity for Hartselle," Tankersley said. "We have a good company with a good reputation involved and we expect good things to happen."

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