Prattville shopping center sees signs of life - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Prattville shopping center sees signs of life

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Three weeks ago, Mark Tatum moved his bike shop--Chain Reaction--to High Point shopping center in Prattville.

"This place as you can see is a whole lot bigger than what we had before," says Tatum.

Despite the fact there aren't any stores near his, he believes the move is already making a difference.

"Gotten a lot of good traffic in and out than we had from the other store. A lot of new faces, a lot of new customers," says Tatum.

A handful of small stores recently opened on the other side of the complex. But it's been a long time coming. Prattville Mayor Jim Byard thought having large retailers like Belk, JCPenney, Best Buy and Publix would help. But the economic downturn was a big deterrent.

"Just before the bottom fell out we had leases on probably 7, 8, 10, 12 national retailers that just clawed in and said we're not expanding right now," says Byard.

It's a tough blow for the city's bottom line, since leaders borrowed $12.4 million dollars to build the roads and infrastructure.

"We're not realizing our full potential until it's fully leased," adds Byard.

Despite the fact many of the storefronts are still completely empty, the music is blares throughout the shopping center as if it were bustling with people.  Business owners and Prattville leaders seem to think it won't be long before it is.

"In the next year or so it should be a whole lot better," adds Tatum.

Even though some residents feel the development is a dud, Millbrook resident Frank Mileto disagrees.

"I think it was a good idea. The economy's going to recover. The location is excellent. It's right off the interstate."

"Given the information we were given in 2005, we did exactly the right thing," says Byard.

Despite slow growth at High Point, Prattville sales tax revenues are up this year compared to last year.

October figures show a 7% increase, while November numbers were up more than 1-percent.

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