Downtown Decatur could get a combination retail-residential development on Second Avenue Southeast that would replace a small city-owned parking area just north of Grant Street.
The Decatur City Council is considering an agreement for Franklin, Tennessee, developer Richard M. Winstead to purchase an option to buy lots 3 and 4, a combined 0.15 of an acre, south of Casa Grande Garden park in the 200 block of Second Avenue Southeast, for $81,000.
The lots are on the east side of Second Avenue and just across the street from Shops on Second Avenue and Attorney Allen Stoner's office.
Winstead was not available for comment on his plans for the property, but some details came out in the council’s discussion of his proposal at its Dec. 27 work session and during its meeting last week.
City Planner Lee Terry told the council at the work session that Winstead wants to purchase the two lots that are being used as parking lots.
Terry said Winstead plans to use the property “for the typical downtown development. The first floor would be commercial and the second floor residential.”
Council President Jacob Ladner said he believes Winstead is planning “Class A apartments” to go along with the retail development.
“They’re expected to be nice, high-end apartments,” Ladner said.
City Director of Development Dane Shaw negotiated an option and they agreed to the appraised value of the property, Terry said.
According to the proposed agreement, Winstead has to make a down payment of 10% of the purchase price on an option that’s good for a year.
The closing date will be within 90 days from when he exercises his option to buy. As the earnest money, the option fee will be credited to the purchase price when the sale is completed.
Ladner asked City Attorney Herman Marks if the council could include stipulations in the sale that the purchaser has to use the property for his planned mixed-use development and do it on a set timetable.
Marks said the council could, and he reported last week that Winstead agreed to these stipulations:
• Winstead has to use the property for multi-family and retail development, and it “must be used exclusively for these purposes for 20 years.”
• He has to begin construction within 24 months from the option exercise date, and the property must be ready for a certificate of occupancy issued by the city’s Building Department within 60 months.
• If Winstead doesn’t meet the terms of the agreement, “all right, title and interested conveyed, including any improvements, shall revert” to the city.
• The buyer may terminate the contract if in good faith he finds the site unsuitable for construction and the option fee will be refunded.
The council considers the proposed purchase of city property as an ordinance change so the proposal sale has to be introduced at a meeting for a first reading, as was done last week, and then the council will vote on it in a second meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 18.
The Winstead development would be the first project entirely initiated by Shaw, who started working for the city in May. Shaw went out and found that Winstead was interested in pursuing a development, showed him around Decatur and he chose the Second Avenue Southeast site, Mayor Tab Bowling said.
“Dane has been successful in helping with the hotel and parking deck project, but this is first time he’s gone hunting and found a developer,” Bowling said.
Ladner said Shaw did a good job of finding Winstead and developing the relationship.
“It’s exciting because this is why we hired a director of development,” Ladner said. “And it sounds like he (Winstead) plans to move pretty quickly.”