Pelham approves Moore Handley property deal

The Pelham City Council approved a plan to redevelop the former Moore Handley property during its May 21 meeting. (File)

The Pelham City Council approved a plan to redevelop the former Moore Handley property during its May 21 meeting. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Summer Classics furniture company will work to move into the former Moore Handley building on U.S. 31 within the next year after the Pelham City Council approved a deal to develop the currently vacant property.

During its May 21 meeting, the council voted to purchase the 30-acre property from the HHH Acquisition company and sell 17 acres to Summer Classics.

Through the agreement, Pelham will loan Summer Classics $3.275 million to purchase the 17 acres. Summer Classics will make mortgage payments to the city to pay the amount back. A portion of the $3.275 million loan will be provided by Shelby County and the county’s Industrial Development Authority, according to the agreement.

Property tax abatements for Summer Classics may also be a part of the deal.

“They are in the process of checking state law to see what types of property tax abatements would apply,” Pelham Finance Director Tom Seale said after the meeting. “That part is still under negotiation.”

Pelham, Shelby County and the Industrial Development Authority now have seven days to close on the deal, said Council President Rick Hayes. Summer Classics will have 30 days to inspect the property before finalizing the deal.

The property has been vacant since the Moore Handley tool distribution company went out of business several years ago. The city has been negotiating with Summer Classics on the property for a few years, stretching back to Pelham’s previous mayor and council.

“This is really an opportunity for us to do something we’ve wanted to do for years,” Hayes said.

Plans call for Summer Classics to occupy the entire former Moore Handley building and warehouse, and construct a 10,000-square-foot showroom on the front of the building. The proposed plan also calls for a 9,000-square-foot possible retail outparcel to be constructed between U.S. 31 and the former Moore Handley building and an 18,000-square-foot strip mall-type development to be constructed slightly southeast of the former Moore Handley building.

Hayes said Summer Classics is working to move into the warehouse “within the next 12 months,” and likely will construct the new showroom within 12-18 months.

Pelham is working with the Retail Strategies consulting firm to attract developers and retailers for the outparcels, Hayes said. The council is looking to sell the outparcel properties to developers within the next 12 months, Hayes said.

“We really need a restaurant right there,” Hayes said, noting the city also is planning to add a road linking its municipal buildings with the development. “(The city is) just facilitating this deal. We want to attract new businesses, not be in business ourselves.”