Vegas trip apparently hits the jackpot
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
City leaders' gamble in attending a Las Vegas convention has paid off in the form of a buyer for a high-profile piece of property.
Hartselle's City Council has approved a contract with Aronov Realty Inc. of Montgomery for the sale of 19 acres of undeveloped land at the southeast corner of I-65 and Highway 36.
Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he contacted Aronov Realty on a tip provided by Municipal Consultants several months ago and was able to arrange a meeting with it owners and top executives at the ICSC Convention in Las Vegas in May.
"Susan Hines (Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce president) and I sat down with them and talked about what Hartselle has to offer the business investor in its I-65 corridor, and they listened," Tankersley said. "Some of their representatives visited here without our knowledge after that and then they let us know they were interested in Hartselle. We have been in regular contact since and worked together to draft the buy and sale contract.
"This is an important step in our efforts to enhance the city's revenue base by locating market gap businesses on the interstate," Tankersley said.
Tankersley presented the contract for consideration at a Monday night work session. Council President K. T. "Kenny" Thompson was not present and both he and Councilman Bill Smelser were absent from the regular meeting.
The purchaser, which is identified in the contract as Institutional Investments Corporation, agrees to pay the city $2.22 million for the land, less deductions for credits and prorations. A condition is that the purchase price may be reduced at the rate of $115,789 per contaminated acre due to the existence of environmental pollutants.
The purchaser will deposit in escrow $10,000 in earnest money and will have the right to terminate the contract at any time during a 150-day inspection period if they choose not to develop the property. Also, a 180-day contingency period is provided prior to the closing of the deal.
Tankersley said the purchase price covers what the city paid for the property two years ago, including interest. However, it does not include the city's cost to construct a tunnel underneath I-65 to accommodate a sewer line extension. That project is being done in a cooperative venture with Hartselle Utilities and the city's share is expected to be about $560,000.
"They want to start immediately with a topographic survey and environmental testing," Tankersley said. "They will also be trying to land tenants, especially during the 180-day contingency period.
"This is a very successful real estate development company," he said. "They are currently developing Harvest Square on Jeff Road in Huntsville, a 100-acre mixed use development. I'm very excited. This is the kind of development company we've been looking for to help us grow business on the interstate."
Founded in 1952 by Aaron Aronov, Aronov Realty is one of the oldest real estate development and management firms in the U. S. and is the largest privately-held, full-service real estate companies in the Southeast.
At its completion in 1954, Aronov's first shopping center, Normandale Mall in Montgomery, was recognized as an outstanding example of tenant mix and financial viability. This project has been followed by many other management and development successes, including multi-family properties, garden apartments, high-rise condominiums and vacation homes.
Now led by Jake and Owen Aronov, the company acquires, develops and manages a wide variety of shopping centers in the Southeast.
Aaron Aronov was a founding member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and a member of its first board of trustees.