Old grocery store building in Dothan attracts new business
DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - For years the old Bruno's grocery store off Ross Clark Circle sat empty, but now heavy machines and welding sparks are flying as work is underway to transform the building for new tenants.
"Everyone has wanted to see something go there, so now that it's going on it's exciting for everybody to see that spot come alive," said Watson Downs, the manager for Watson and Downs Investment.
Watson and Downs Investment bought the building in February 2017 and has been working ever since to develop the space.
By the fall of 2018, Burkes Outlet, a department store, will move into a portion of the building. The store is already located in Dothan. By moving to this new location, it will double its footprint from 10,000 square feet to 20,000.
By the spring of 2019, HomeGoods, a home décor store, will move in.
There is still a 10,000 square foot space developers are looking to fill with another business, though.
"It's kind of a double-edged sword," Downs explained. "We as consumers may want a Whole Foods or Fresh Market, but sometimes they don't want Dothan. It's finding that balance of who would be a good fit for Dothan and who we would desire to have and they also want us."
There has been work to find another grocer who might move into the space. The company plans to travel to Las Vegas in May to attend a conference to recruit another tenant.
Something else developers are working on near the building is a free-standing restaurant called Metro Diner, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The company has invested roughly $6 million into the redevelopment project. There's no word yet on exact numbers for how many jobs each company will create.
Seeing storefronts pop up in the once vacant building is exactly the direction Mayor Mark Saliba says he pushing the city to progress toward.
"That's very important to us as a city, and when we lose a store or restaurant we're losing that sales tax. That's one of the biggest reasons we need to be diligent on trying to recruit at all times," Saliba said.
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