Greensboro City Council discusses grocery store on east side

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GREENSBORO, NC -- The Greensboro City Council has two proposals before it to develop land in East Greensboro into a grocery store.

The Renaissance Center of Greensboro plan, proposed by businessman and former Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Skip Allston, asks for $2 million of city taxpayer money to put an independent grocer at the Bessemer Center at Phillips Avenue and Woodbriar Avenue.

The building once contained a Winn Dixie, but that store closed in the late 1990s.

Allston said the $2 million in public investment would bring in $4 million in private funding and that the project would create 50 jobs.

A limited liability corporation would own the building, and Allston says the grocery store, laundromat, barber shop, and urgent care facility that would go in the newly refurbished center would bring in more than $35,000 annually for the City through taxes.

The New Bessemer Center plan would keep the land and building in City hands. It would require $3 million in investment with no private investment expected. The City would have the right to sell the land and buildings after the store is built.

The City of Greensboro would have to manage and maintain the property, as well as get tenants for the area. A barber shop is not in the works in this plan and the grocery store would be 5,000 square feet smaller, but the other businesses would be the same.

At a work session, District 2 Councilman Jim Kee said he wanted to get something done, as his constituents have been asking for something in that area since the Winn Dixie closed 15 years ago.

Mayor Robbie Perkins suggested it might be cheaper to tear down the building and redevelop the land.

The council directed City staff to get more information on the cost of demolition and report back on a later date.

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