The City of Arab is banking on the Commercial Development Authority to bring in new retail shops and restaurants. The council voted Monday evening to transfer ownership of 21 acres designated for The Shops at Northridge.
The site may not look like much right now, but the City of Arab spent $1 million on this land three years ago.
"We bought that property and improved it a little bit and been trying to recruit new businesses there but so far we've been unsuccessful," said Arab Mayor Gary Beam.
So the city asked the Commercial Development Authority to take over. The goal is to bring in stores and restaurants.
"There is a lot of lost tax dollars that are leaving the Arab area because we don't have sufficient retail shopping here, so we have a lot of consumers that go outside the trade area," said Alan Bagwell of the Commercial Development Authority.
It's a lengthy process, and the CDA board contracted a Birmingham company to recruit retailers. The company did a market research report for the Northridge property which showed high income and spending patterns.
"It's an enticement for retailers to locate in a city that's growing, has a very good source of income, has a very good local business activity," said Bagwell.
Wal-Mart and other retailers are just down the road, and the mayor says the city is ready for more.
"All the utilities are there, we've got a four-lane highway, so 'location location location' is what we feel like that property offers," said Mayor Beam.
All profits from the property sale will go back to the city, which officials hope to use for upgrading roads.
A grant from the Marshall County Gas District paid for the retail recruitment contract.