Forest Oaks Shopping Center in Guilford County sold

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- After being vacant for about a decade, the Forest Oaks Shopping Center in southeast Guilford County has been sold.

Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson confirmed that the property was sold by owner Bill Agapion to a South Carolina-based developer, which he would not name. Branson said the deed was transferred on Friday.

Most recently, the anchor of the Forest Oaks Shopping Center was a Winn-Dixie grocery store. Residents say that closed around 2005.

David Gearhart has lived in southeast Guilford County for 37 years. He said he's relieved that the Forest Oaks Shopping Center will finally get cleaned up.

"It's been a real blemish to southeast Guilford County," he said. "Certainly this has been a blight on our community."

Marty Heim, the president of the Southeast Business Association, said this is what her group has been hoping for years.

"I think one of the reasons I'm the most excited about this particular piece is someone believed in the community," she said. "To take a risk, make a huge financial investment. To make our community safer and prosperous."

It is not yet known what the new owner will use the property for. Heim said she has been talking with nearby residents for years about it and there are many uses of it that they would be excited to see.

"They would like a bank," she said. "They would like a pet store. They would like a bakery. They would like a fresh butcher and seafood. Or a doughnut shop."

Heim said that regardless of what the property becomes, she will be excited to see it as an active property once again.

"We're just thrilled this is happening," Heim said. What a way to kick off a year."

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