Posted Online: Dec. 08, 2012, 10:39 pm
RI negotiates buying parcels to make space for proposed Walmart
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By Eric Timmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
City officials have been working for months to tie-up agreements to buy parcels at Watch Tower before tearing the buildings down to make space for the proposed Walmart Supercenter.
Photo: Kermit Stevenson|
The cleaned-up 20-acre site will then be sold to a development company that acts on behalf of Walmart for $4.5 million.But some pieces of the puzzle have yet to fall into place.
Jeff Eder, the city's economic development director, won't say exactly how many properties the city has their eye on while negotiations are ongoing. He said there are a number of parcels the city would like to buy that it has yet to agree on a price for with the owners.
Hill and Valley Bakery, which owns a 60,000-square-foot portion of Watch Tower shopping center with an entrance off 9th Street, has yet to agree on a price with the city.
"We are looking at options, nothing more to say at this time," said Doug Davidson, the bakery's president.
The property has a $1.1 million fair market value, according to a 2012 assessment by the South Rock Island Township Assessor.
Already, the city has sealed some $4.8 million in purchase agreements for nine other properties at Watch Tower, with agreements for at least two other properties likely to come before the city council soon.
Hill and Valley Bakery, formerly Nancy's Pies, is the property with the highest assessed value at Watch Tower and employs more than 100 workers, according to the company's website.
Aldermen have agreed to purchase two parcels with a combined fair market value of $419,000 for $1.75 million from Kevin Wittenauer that includes the Dollar General Store, Comfort Furniture and other small businesses in the shopping center.
A purchase agreement also is pending with Black Hawk College, which owns an adult learning center at Watch Tower.
An agreement also has yet to be approved by the city council for the Pawn King store at 3940 11th St., which is shown as one of the out lots of the proposed new development on a drawing provided by the city.
On Friday, Mark Mueller, who owns At Your Service Catering, at 4000 11th St., said he had just agreed to a $105,000 purchase agreement with the city, although the deal has yet to be approved by aldermen.
The property at the southern edge of Watch Tower Plaza has a $72,837 fair market value, according to the South Rock Island Township Assessor's office. Mr. Mueller said he was happy with the agreement, which also will include relocation assistance.