The city of Fort Oglethorpe is the other party agreeing to fund the proposed intersection and site development. The city approved the agreement at the February 25 meeting.
County commissioners support the agreement, but are not a party in the development and therefore are not voting, Catoosa County commission attorney Chad Young said during the development authority board meeting.
“The county and the development authority and the city of Fort Oglethorpe have been approached by developer Larry Armour (with Armour Commercial Real Estate), who we worked with on the Costco project,” Young said. “Mr. Armour has several acres, close to 40, on Battlefield Parkway just west from Wal-Mart and across the street from some out-parcels known as the Crye Leike center. Mr. Armour and his partners have proposed to develop a commercial shopping center and out-parcels on that property.”
The proposed conservative taxable value of the development is $18 million. A conservative annual retail sales projection is $32 million, according to Young.
The development is still in the initial phases. Young reported that a substantial amount of site work has to be done, including some filling and engineering in order to lessen flood plain issues.
Armour has requested the assistance of the development authority and the city of Fort Oglethorpe in making intersection improvements that would consist of installing a traffic signal and a median cut on Battlefield Parkway. The intersection would be west of the median cut and traffic signal that now serves Wal-Mart.
The projected cost for the intersection improvements and traffic signal is $500,000. The cost would be split between the development authority and the city of Fort Oglethorpe. Armour has agreed to take responsibility for the cost if a development is not completed within seven years.
“We would begin measuring the tax revenue generated from this project, which would be the property taxes and the sales taxes. We can measure the sales tax from the gross receipts reported to the city of Fort Oglethorpe on the business license,” Young said. “If the project has not generated enough property and sales taxes to pay for the intersection improvements within seven years, Mr. Armour is signing a letter of credit that is going to be issued through Capital Mark Bank, and also a promissory note that he would essentially pay back any difference. If for some reason the intersection improvements were made and the project was not completed, then the county and city could call on the letter of credit to be repaid for the money expended on the intersection.”
Bids will be solicited by the county development authority for the intersection improvement. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) also has to approve the specifications of the intersection. Construction will proceed for the median cut and traffic light as soon as GDOT and the development authority have approved bids for the project.
Site work on a retail development will start in about 60 days. Armour plans to construct 120,000 square feet of shopping center.
“The key is the traffic light,” Armour said. “We could not develop this land without the traffic light. These guys (the city and development authority) are making all this possible.”
With the installation of a traffic light, Armour said, there will be four new corners to entice nice restaurants to locate into the city. Armour said the availability of Sunday alcohol sales does have a bearing on bringing in nice restaurants.
“My understanding is they will have it (Sunday alcohol sales) on the ballot,” Armour said. “If it is passed, you can expect really nice restaurants to come in.”