Teramore Development LLC (for Dollar General stores) has agreed to buy the property and old motel buildingâ€”currently being used as the Campbellton Town Hall--for about $45,000. The deal on the 1.2 acres with U.S. 231 frontage is expected to close in December, Melvin Engineering's Planning Director Rick Pettis told Business News Tuesday morning. Teramore, a Georgia firm, builds stores exclusively for Dollar General, then leases or sells them to DG. The construction of an 8,000 sq.ft., $700,000 Dollar general store for Campbellton (using the recent Grand Ridge store as an example) is expected to be a terrific boost to the growth-challenged, 60 percent minority town. Its 2012 population of 240 resides on one square mile situated seven miles east of Graceville at the Hwy 2 and major U.S. 231 intersection. The establishment of such a large discount variety family store also will provide great relief to consumers.
"Dollar General will help our economy," Campbellton Town Clerk Brenda Griffin said Tuesday. "People won't have to travel to Graceville or Marianna. This is a great thing for the townâ€”we need it."
The DG store will be built with the utilization of an entrance on Hwy 231. The old "Gilbert Motel," was built in the 1950s and deeded at costs to the town in 1999 by Sara D. Gilbertâ€”who still owns the property behind the motel strip structure. Jackson County property records show its assessed value (exempt) at $81,613. "The building is very old and needs to be dropped," Griffin said. "It's going to take a lot for us to move everything we own to the doublewide trailer (nearby). When they come in, we'll have just 30 days to vacate." Griffin and Pettis estimate construction to begin in January.
For the temporary replacement town hall, the town will use a leased mobile home on leased property off Hwy 2 adjacent to the town's new community hall and fire station. A Jackson County Fire-rescue station, housed in a trailer next to the old motel structure, will continue to be used by the county, Pettis said, since it is just outside the new construction site. The town will retain a .85-acre parcel to the north of the future DG property. That parcel has the potential of being sold or otherwise utilized by the town for development, Pettis said. There could be room for a small Malone Town Hall-type structure on the city's fire station/public works property. Pettis said he is currently working with the town on a CDBG federal grant that would replace water lines and remove an abandoned water tower. The city uses a newer tower for its municipal water system. There are no sewer lines or plant. Griffin says the town is very much helped, in so many ways, by the Campbellton Farm Supply store (Ron Barber), convenience store/gas station (Mr. Patel) and Sangaree BP station, all nearby in Campbellton's well-known, cautiously approached and sprawling 5-point highway interchange.
Pettis had a fascinating and insightful story to tell about how the DG store plans originated. It was NOT from the town being contacted by DG or Teramore developers, as is often the case. "It started about two years ago," he explained. "The town was experiencing some serious growth challenges and the lack of a larger general merchandise store was a real sore point. Jackson County Commissioner Willie Spires asked Jackson County Development Council official Bill Stanton to help. Appeals to Family Dollar--since, after all, it does have a large distribution complex nearby--were fruitless, Pettis said, since the demographic "numbers didn't meet their models. But I was able to get Teramore interested and they, with Dollar General, found a way. They said okay, but it would have to be built at the motel/town hall site." (That proved to be not a problem.)
"This will definitely help Campbellton, its residents and its visitorsâ€”maybe more than we know," Pettis said. "There was, and there continues to be, a lot of selfless work done by some very dedicated folks making this possibleâ€”everyone that has been involved."