Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Dave Collier, left, and Joe Cothrum drill to test soil on the property across from Abercrombie Chevrolet in Hartselle. Contractors have been surveying the property.
Lowe’s may be eyeing Hartselle site
City leaders, company mute on U.S. 31 development
By Deangelo McDaniel
HARTSELLE — Is Lowe’s locating in Hartselle?
City officials will neither confirm nor deny that the home improvement store is coming.
In a written statement, Maureen Rich of Lowe’s Home Improvement’s public relations department said: “It’s our policy not to comment about specific sites Lowe’s may be considering for new stores unless we have closed on all real estate matters.”
Rich said the company has not closed on any real estate in Hartselle. But she did not deny that Lowe’s is looking at expanding into Morgan County’s second-largest municipality.
She said Lowe’s plans to open between 150 and 160 stores this year.
Lowe’s is reportedly buying property west of Abercrombie Chevrolet on U.S. 31.
“I know there is a large retail development looking at the site that is in the preliminary approval stages,” said Mayor Dwight Tankersley. “We expect a formal announcement sometime in November.”
Tankersley said he has been working with developers on the project for about six months.
“They have cleared several hurdles within the company,” the mayor said about the developers.
He said company representatives have made two visits to Hartselle.
“I can’t say,” the mayor answered when asked if the developers worked for Lowe’s.
“I’ve heard rumors about Lowe’s coming over there, and there have been workers on the site for about two weeks,” Ronnie Abercrombie of the Chevrolet dealership said.
The land the workers are surveying and drilling on is 28 acres the city annexed in 2002 when Daryl Slate was preparing to construct a 150,000-square-foot plant.
Slate’s project did not materialize, and the property has been vacant since.
“Something is going on,” said Abercrombie, who has tried unsuccessfully to get city leaders to install a traffic light in the area.
If the development comes to fruition, Tankersley said, it would require infrastructure improvements on U.S. 31.
According to Lowe’s Web site, the company started in 1946 as a hardware store in North Carolina and has grown to the seventh largest retailer in the U.S.
Lowe’s went public in 1961 and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979.
In 1982, Lowe’s had its first billion-dollar sales year, earning a record profit of $25 million.
The company has locations in Decatur and Athens.
Although Alabama 36 and Interstate 65 may be the area where Hartselle wants commercial growth, U.S. 31 is apparently the choice for developers.
Excluding the rumored Lowe’s development, by year’s end, Hartselle will see more than $4 million in development on U.S. 31.
This growth comes less than two years after a shopping center, Mexican restaurant and Blockbuster invested almost $1.5 million on U.S. 31.
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