The City of Albertville closed the real estate deal on the Kmart property Thursday afternoon.
The closing brought nine-months of negotiations to an end for the building and land located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Alabama Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 431. Albertville Mayor Tracy Honea said developers had shown a high level of interest in the property and the city council felt it was important to purchase the property so the city could control how the property was developed.
“We’re absolutely glad we closed,” Honea said. “It’s been a nine-month wrestling match to get it done. We’re thankful to get it done. City Planner Mike Price has worked hard on this and the council has been excellent to work with on this. We were patient and we got it done.”
The Albertville Kmart had been a major retail center in the city for 35 years. It was the last Kmart in Alabama before the store officially closed in February 2018.
The Albertville City Council authorized Honea to begin negotiations to purchase the property in January. However, the real estate deal was a little more complicated than a normal commercial transaction.
Kmart owned the building, but had a ground-lease on the property. The property owners — Jane Lumpkin Newman, John E. Newman and Sue Lumpkin Stephenson — had to work out a deal with Kmart and then sell the property to the city.
The Kmart property is 6.09 acres and includes the building. The city’s orignal proposed purchase price was $4.4 million.
Honea said the city had selected Chattanooga, Tennessee-based, Hutton to develop the site. He said the next step in the process was to let Hutton develop a plan for the property and recruit tenants. Hutton builds single and multi-tenant grocery stores and shopping centers across the nation.
Currently, Hutton has completed 1,048 developments nationwide and 27 in Alabama. Honea said a timeline for development hadn’t been established yet.