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Local developer buys lots at industrial park to make shovel-ready for businesses

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West Carthage developer Michael E. Lundy has bought Lots 10 and 11 at the county industrial park off outer Coffeen Street from the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, a total of 8.8 acres.

Mr. Lundy has agreed to complete extensive site work to make the two lots shovel-ready as a part of the deal, which enabled him to purchase the agency-owned land at a reduced price of about $12,500 per acre. He purchased Lot 10 (4.2 acres) and Lot 11 (4.6 acres) for $110,000, according to property sales recorded June 27 at the Jefferson County clerk’s office.

Mr. Lundy originally had planned also to buy the 11.5-acre Lot 12 to build the 64,000-square-foot FedEx facility planned there. But that plan changed when the North Carolina developer for that project, SunCap Property Group, decided to hire a construction firm from Florida to do the work instead. To accommodate SunCap’s plan, Mr. Lundy bought Lot 12 from JCIDA for $124,000 before selling it to SunCap for $559,000.

Mr. Lundy plans to start developing the two lots this fall, finishing in 2014 the improvements needed to make the land shovel-ready. Work will include the relocation of about 2 acres of federal wetlands that now encroach on lots 10 and 11.

A consultant for Lunco Corp., Carthage, is developing a plan to relocate the wetlands that will require approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Lundy said. The wetlands likely will be relocated in accordance with a Ducks Unlimited conservation program that requires newly established sites to be double or triple the size of the original wetlands. Though a site has not yet been selected for that purpose, he said, the wetlands might be established on land that he owns in the town of Champion.

Additional work to be completed at the industrial park will include the installation of a drainage system and utilities, Mr. Lundy said.

“When clients come along, we’ll have two parcels they’ll be able to move into,” he said. “The risk (for businesses) of buying the property and then developing it is gone. That was one of the benefits for the lot acquired by FedEx, because all of the site work was completed.”

The land sale also was beneficial to JCIDA, Mr. Lundy said, because its staff no longer will have to devote time and resources to preparing the two parcels for development.

“They have much better things to do with their time and money than wetland issues,” he said.

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