Fate of third shopping center now in hands of county judge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Alabaster City Council has done everything in its power to bring a third shopping center to Interstate 65 and U.S. Highway 31, now officials must await approval from a Shelby County judge.

After a public hearing Monday night, the council authorized Mayor David Frings to ask the courts to validate an incentive deal with developer Robert Buchmust.

Under the plan, Buchmust&8217;s company, Alabaster Shadow LLC, will receive $10 million in sales tax rebates if they agree to set up shop.

State law requires court approval whenever a city or county uses certain incentives to entice economic developers.

Outside of building, the actual 300,000-square-foot retail center, the developer must also construct any infrastructure, including roads. For the work, Buchmust would receive 75 percent of sales tax generated each year until he was repaid.

Frings said the deal is a win-win for Alabaster.

&8220;I&8217;m 100 percent for this. It&8217;s a good move for the city of Alabaster,&8221; said Frings. &8220;This will enable us to continue work and upgrades to city parks, infrastructure and services, while providing more jobs for our citizens.&8221;

Frings said he expects the center would generate more than $2.5 million in sales taxes revenue per year. He wouldn&8217;t name possible tenants of the center, but did say there would be three &8220;sizable major retailers, numerous other stores and several outparcels.&8221;

Also, since Alabaster won&8217;t be providing any incentives upfront like it did in the previous two centers at Colonial Promenade, Frings says there is really no danger for his city.

&8220;I don&8217;t see any negatives for the city,&8221; said Frings. &8220;The developer is taking the risk. We put nothing up on the front-end.&8221;

The talk of a third shopping center at the location comes as city officials learn

that Colonial Promenade is bringing in more revenue than they expected.

Just two months into the 2007 budget year, the city&8217;s revenue department has collected $1.7 million dollars in sales tax revenue.

The figure is 12 percent more than what was collected in the first two months of 2005.

Frings hopes December will be even merrier than last year, when the city pocketed more than $1.2 million.

If approved as expected by the council, the retail center will be built adjacent to AmStar Theater and would open by the end of 2007