July 11, 2018 10:55 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- The Austin Port Authority voted 5-1 on Wednesday evening to approve a plan that would bring multiple new businesses to a vacant storefront formerly home to a Hy-Vee grocery store.
The port authority and Verona, Wisconsin-based Slaby and Associates entered into an agreement to sell the property at 1001 18th Avenue NW for $800,000 in July 2017, but after several amendments, the purchase price was reduced to $400,000. Slaby requested the reduced purchase price "as a result of reduced revenue from a full lease situation, a challenging appraisal and increasing construction costs."
Without the reduced price, the $5.1 million project would not have been financially feasible for the company, Slaby and Associates Vice President Victor Baeten said after the vote.
Documents filed with the port authority show the store would be split into five units. The developer said three tenants are already lined up: Marshalls, Five Below and Pet Supplies Plus. Under the agreement, if the property is sold again within the next two years, the port authority would be entitled to a $250,000 payment.
"We had somebody that wanted to develop and invest $5 million into the community so that's kind of the context on which the port authority made their decision," executive director Craig Clark said.
The sale is expected to close August 1, after which construction is scheduled to begin. If the project stays on time, the retailers could open in early 2020.
The redevelopment is a shot in the arm for Austin's retail sector, and Mayor Tom Stiehm, a vocal proponent of the project, wants to see the momentum continue.
"We still need a building supply store in town. We thought we were going to get that years ago, and eventually I'm sure we'll get one and this will help us get one," Stiehm said.
The former grocery store has sat empty since Hy-Vee opened a new, 82,000-square-foot store down the street at the site of the former Oak Park Mall.
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Updated: July 11, 2018 10:55 PM
Created: July 11, 2018 03:50 PM
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