A representative of the owners of Mount Berry Mall is slated to present plans for a multi-million dollar makeover Tuesday to the Floyd County Commission.
The proposal has been in the works for several years, but Hull Property Group is ramping up its push for a local buy-in of $1.5 million in Tax Allocation District financing. Their project manager, Hamp Manning, is scheduled to discuss the request at the board’s caucus session.
With TAD financing, tax revenue generated from improvements to the site would be plowed back into the redevelopment instead of into the city and county general funds. If approved, HPG has said it would start work in early 2019.
Plans call for demolishing the vacant Sears end of the mall and refurbishing the rest of the structure. HPG would market the rest of the property to new businesses such as a hotel and restaurants.
The 156-acre Mount Berry TAD created last year encompasses nine parcels, including the mall and the vacant land by the tennis center that is currently accessed only from the Armuchee Connector.
Manning told the Rome Redevelopment Agency last month that HPG would spend $5.3 million on the demolition and improvements to the interior and facade as Phase I. The company could spend another $6 million to $8 million on commercial projects on the outparcels in Phase II.
City members of the redevelopment agency backed the proposal in a voice vote but the county’s representatives, Commissioner Larry Maxey and County Manager Jamie McCord, did not weigh in.
County Commissioners have previously expressed concern that some of the property could be sold for residential development. A majority agreed with Maxey, a builder, who said the tax break would give an unfair advantage to homebuilders without sparking the economic activity expected in exchange for TAD financing.
HPG has seen the tax valuation of the mall continue to drop, going to $4.88 million this year from $6.4 million three years ago. The increase in online sales, which pulls from brick-and-mortar sales, is part of the problem. However, the company is trying to revitalize its malls and launched an upgrade of its Dalton property last month.
Commissioners caucus at 4 p.m. and start their regular meeting at 6 p.m. in the County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave. Both sessions are public.