BRITT — City Council members accepted an offer Wednesday from a Birmingham, Alabama, commercial property development company for a 1.7-acre city lot to be leased to retailers.
The Overland Group will purchase the land from the city for $142,500 and construct a building on the property, formerly owned by Luke and Britney May.
The city purchased the frontage land from Connie Burgardt of Britt earlier this year for $136,000. It is between Highway 18 and Diagonal Street, near Pritchard’s Auto and Sidetrack Lanes on Britt’s northeast end.
Mayor Ryan Arndorfer said he hopes negotiations can be completed in January during a public hearing on project bonding, and ground can be broken for development next spring.
“I think it’s going to be really great for the city,” he said. “We’ve had businesses interested in doing some projects here, and we really haven’t had space for them to go. So I think this gives us an opportunity to really build up a light commercial or industrial area.
"BIDCO (Britt Industrial Development Corp.) will then have a place to direct businesses, and we’ll have some spots available to get some new businesses and some new interest in Britt,” Arndorfer said.
Councilors met in closed session for about an hour Wednesday with city attorney Earl Hill and BIDCO board member Eric Newton, who is negotiating terms for the city.
Arndorfer said the city accepted the Overland Group’s offer and suggested changes to legal paperwork describing what can be built on the site.
“There are timelines with the offers,” he said, “so we felt it was important to get together tonight to make sure that we met the deadline.”
The city has given project engineers Veenstra & Kimm Inc., approval to move forward on platting the land and laying out utilities.
The city plans to erect a sign advertising the commercial park and begin marketing nine additional lots.
The Overland Group will level a storage shed and former motel on the property.
The project is the start of the city’s planned 8.5-acre commercial park.
“We’re trying to move forward on getting something started there. We’ll have to see how it progresses,” councilman Dwight Leerar said. “We’re just hoping we can get a domino effect going here.”