Property not sold — yet

Published 10:25 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The former health department site on North Main Street may soon be sold to a developer that specializes in Walgreens stores.

Despite a delay in the process, the prospective owner of the old health department site on North Main Street says the project is going as expected.

“It’s moving along just as it should,” said Kevin Gunthert, one of the principals in The Gunthert Company. The family-owned business based in Atlanta is under contract to purchase the land at 1217 N. Main St.

The Economic Development Authority was expected to have voted Wednesday on selling the land, but instead delayed the vote for a month to straighten out unexpected wrinkles that appeared during the city’s due diligence process, said Kevin Hughes, Economic Development director.

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Gunthert wouldn’t reveal what plans the company has for the property, except to acknowledge that the plot is too small for a supermarket or shopping center.

“We have some people we’re in discussions with,” he said.

According to the company’s website, it has built dozens of Walgreens stores, mostly in Florida and Georgia, as well as a handful of shopping centers, most with the Publix supermarket chain as the anchor. They also have built a few Taco Bell and Wendy’s restaurants.

The process has taken longer than expected because the city found, while doing its investigation, that the parking lot and the building site were separated into different tracts of land. That surprise caused the process of conveying the land from the city to the Economic Development Authority to start all over again.

However, Gunthert said there have been “no hiccups” in the process from his end.

The building has sat vacant since May 2009, when the health department moved into a new building on Hall Avenue.