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East Greensboro’s Bessemer Center faces redevelopment or demolition

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GREENSBORO, NC -- The City of Greensboro will commission a study to look at what to do with East Greensboro's Bessemer Center at Phillips Avenue and Woodbriar Avenue.

In mid-March, the City Council heard competing plans for renovation and redevelopment. One plan uses a mix of private and public money to put in a community-run grocery store and an urgent care center. Another proposal plans to renovate the center and add the same options, but all with public money and with the city maintaining control of the property.

At the work session, Mayor Robbie Perkins also mentioned that demolition should be part of the study, in case it's the option that makes the most business sense.

Mike Rush with CRC Disaster Response walked around the Bessemer Center Tuesday and, without access to the inside of the building, estimated the cost of demolition to be between three and four dollars per square foot.

The building is estimated at 40,000 square feet.

The plan favored by District 2 Councilman Jim Kee involves developer Skip Alston. It asks for $3 million in public financing to match $3 million in private investment, with the building going to Alston after it's renovated.

The plan proposed by the city involves a "vanilla box" renovation and keeps the building in the city's possession to either manage or sell.

Demolition would level the old Winn Dixie, leaving only the Family Dollar and the McGirt-Horton Library in the Bessemer Center.

The City Council will not make any decision until the intended study is completed.

The city has not yet hired a consultant to handle that study, so at this point the cost of the study is unknown.