Local investors could buy Bessemer Shopping Center

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GREENSBORO, N.C.-- With a 5-4 vote Tuesday night, the Greensboro City Council approved the sale of the Bessemer Shopping Center to Shahzad Akbar and Shehzad Quamar.

The city says the plan is for the two men to pay $490,000 for the site, which includes a Family Dollar store and several abandoned storefronts.

The plan is build a new grocery store, health clinic and restaurant.

The city will give the investors a $2 million loan, which must be repaid over a 10 year period. In addition, 20,000 square feet of the shopping center will go towards a non-profit that will include a host of community members and events.

The shopping center has been an eyesore for many people in the neighborhood for several years. The retail space once had a Winn-Dixie grocery store that closed in 1998, as well as a laundry mat.

Duke Holtzman lives near the shopping center, and is hoping this deal will be the one to give his community the things it needs.

"We would like to get somebody that's going to turn things around. This community has been broken for years," Holtzman said.

Former Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, a real estate broker for the investors, said the city plans to turn over the property within the next 30 days. Construction could begin as early as the fall.

City leaders have yet to sign off on the deal, but that process is expected to take two weeks.