Developing company wants road expansion

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

While work continues on the access road to Wal-Mart, the city is reviewing options on extending the road after being contacted by real estate developers who are interested in developing a shopping complex in the area.

Jeff Harrison, senior project manager for Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, the engineering firm that is handling the road project for the city, said developers from Charlie Williamson & Associates, a Montgomery development company, has asked the city to extend the road to accommodate a shopping complex they plan to create.

In hopes of getting the city to extend the road to where it enters Hwy. 185 between Taco Bell and Comfort Inn, Williamson & Associates commissioned a traffic study to see what the impact on vehicle traffic would be if their planned project is created.

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&uot;We had a traffic study commissioned based on the proposed retail development we’re putting in and have made that available to the city and DOT,&uot; said Williamson & Associates executive vice president Bill Brock. &uot;All we’re saying is for the safety of the road and ease of retail shoppers they need to look at it and restudy the traffic patterns.&uot;

Brock said, based on their traffic study, their complex would generate 11,000 vehicle &uot;visits&uot; in the Cahaba Road, Hwy. 185 area during a 24-hour period on the weekend. This is in addition to the 30,000 vehicle visits the city’s traffic study shows will come about due to the new Wal-Mart.

&uot;We just want all of us to sit down and choose the best route that is easy for shoppers and more importantly the safest,&uot; Brock said.

The city is continuing with their plans to build the road as it was originally planned, but Harrison and Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said the city is open to listening to options, as long as it doesn’t cost the city anything.

&uot;I have not spoken to (Williamson & Associates) directly but DOT said that they had offered to pay for the road extension,&uot; Harrison said. &uot;We want to promote growth in Greenville as much as possible but we have a commitment to Wal-Mart and they’re coming in at the 11th hour trying to get this done.&uot;

McLendon agreed.

&uot;The city is open to extending the road, if it’s possible, directly across Cahaba Road if the people who own that land are willing to pay for it,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re going to look at it strictly based on what’s best for all the citizens and what’s the safest. If DOT says it’s possible, then we’re going to try to make it happen, but we’ve got a signed permit to have the access road come out on Cahaba.&uot;

McLendon said the city’s engineers will be meeting with DOT and reviewing all the information within the next week to make a decision on where the road will end.

In the meantime Brock said his company is continuing to market Greenville to interested retailers with plans to develop a 55,000 square foot retail center that would be made up of &uot;nationally known&uot; tenants with out-parcels containing restaurants, gift shops and office buildings.

&uot;There are several brand names of home improvement centers and we’re looking at all of them,&uot; he said. &uot;Our leasing agency in Birmingham is communicating with all of them and we’re having some very positive feedback from several.&uot;

Brock would not say who their leasing agent was speaking with but did say that if the road issue can be worked out, the final development plans can be presented to possible tenants so they can make their decision.

&uot;Can that be done in 30 days? 60 days? Right now that is in the hands of the city,&uot; he said.