Originally Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2012, 5:38 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 30, 2012, 5:45 pm
Vote planned Monday on Watch Tower/Walmart deal in Rock Island
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By Eric Timmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rock Island City Council on Monday will consider an agreement to sell Watch Tower Plaza for $4.5 million to a development company acting on behalf of Walmart.
Mayor Dennis Pauley announced in November that Walmart was interested in building a new retail center at Watch Tower. The city is buying Watch Tower and nearby properties in order to clear them and sell them to Walmart but still has to complete the purchases .
Once that happens, the city will pay to tear down the buildings and prepare the site before selling it to Price Properties LLC for thedevelopment of the new Walmart Supercenter.
The cost to the city is expected to be $10 million to $12 million, according to city officials. If the $4.5 million sale is finalized, the city could take a loss of up to $7.5 million on the agreement with Walmart.
However, aldermen say that's a price worth paying to bring to town a large retailer that's expected to generate $1.3 million in sales tax revenue annually.
"I think the return on our investment is going to be significant as far as the future growth of the city is concerned," said Ald. Terry Brooks, 1st Ward.
The city council will vote Monday on the $4.5 million agreement with Price Properties for the sale of 20 acres at Watch Tower. Price Properties is linked to Walmart, said Mayor Pauley.
Aldermen approved $4.8 million in purchase agreements for a number of properties at Watch Tower and are still waiting on agreements for a number of other parcels.
Mayor Pauley said construction on the new Walmart could start next spring and the store could be open by next Christmas or in early 2014. He hopes the store will encourage further development and help Rock Island compete with neighboring cities that have stronger retail sectors.
The city council meets at 6:45 p.m. Monday at Rock Island City Hall,1528 3rd Ave.