The city council, during its Feb. 25 meeting, discussed a proposal for an intersection improvement and site development agreement that stands to benefit existing businesses and the prospect of new ones.
The traffic light would increase the value of property owned by Larry Armour with Armour Commercial Real Estate from $18 million to $32 million, city attorney Robert Stultz said.
“Basically this agreement is intergovernmental… where by the EDA (Economic Development Authority), Catoosa County and the city of Fort Oglethorpe and Mr. (Larry) Armour will fund an intersection cut along and beside the Walmart property, on (both sides of Battlefield Parkway), which is in fact owned by Mr. Armour,” Stultz said of the agreement. “The reason for this is basically to develop the property for economic development.”
The city does not stand to loose any money for building the intersection, according to Stultz. The agreement states that if the intersection improvement does not pay for itself within seven years, then Armour will repay the city and EDA. A repayment amount is based on the difference between the $500,000 to build the intersection and the ad valorem tax and sales tax received.
“Hopefully Mr. Armour won’t have to pay the city and EDA back any money and it’s just a big boom,” Stultz said.
A promissory note is being drafted to ensure Armour will pay back the city in the chance a development is not built. The note is being collateralized with a letter of credit, which can be reduced over time as taxes come in. The letter of credit will remain in full force for seven years.
Prior to approving the agreement, council member Earl Gray asked Armour if the planned development is within the city. Armour said half of the property being developed is not in the city. Armour is planning to get all the property annexed into the city limits and move the area that is not fit for development into the county.
“All the property that is outside the floodway we want to bring into the city,” Armour said. “Everything in the floodway that can’t be developed I’m going to leave in the county. It would just be used for recreation.”
Armour is in the process of getting all the property annexed into the city by seeking a recommendation from the Catoosa County Planning Commission. Once an exact parcel number is filed, it will be de-annexed from the county in the first week of March, said Armour.
The traffic light stands to benefit a host of existing businesses, as well as potential businesses, in Crye Leike Plaza and nearby, including across Battlefield Parkway (Ga. 2A) from the plaza.
“Right off the bat it’s going to help something like 13 businesses,” Gray said about existing patrons to those establishments being able to make a left-hand turn from the parking lot. “They have been screaming for this for years and we’ve never been able to do it because we’ve never had anybody willing to develop the other side. It’s actually benefiting both sides of (Highway) 2A, and with your development probably some 20 businesses.”
Armour said there has been a lot of interest from companies that want to locate into the proposed development. In addition to creating access to business complexes on both sides of the road, an intersection will create four useful corners.
“The city of Fort Oglethorpe no longer has any good corners. All the corners have been taken away,” said Armour. “With this traffic light, we’ll have four good vacant corners for nice restaurants and the real property is where we plan to develop about 120,000 square feet of shopping center.”
All three councilmen were thrilled about the opportunity and supported the agreement unanimously.