Last month the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) voted to give $205,000 in tax payer funds to the owners of a Piggly Wiggly that will open on the southside of town.
See our report here.
The issue about funding was brought up at a City-County forum hosted by the Village Square on February 1, 2016.
In a back and forth between City Commissioner Scott Maddox, who voted against the incentive, Mayor Gillum indicated that the money was needed to bring the grocery store to Tallahassee.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported the following:
The discussion comes after the CRA last week allocated funds to help make improvements at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store coming to the south side of Tallahassee.
“What we have morphed into today is festivals, interior renovations to business,” he said (Scott Maddox). “You’re picking winners and losers within the business community.”
Mayor Andrew Gillum countered that the money, in the case of the Piggly Wiggly, was needed to bring a grocery store to a part of town that didn’t have one.
Is this true? Was the $205,000 needed to bring a grocery store to a part of town that didn’t have one.
TR checked with the staff of the CRA and was told that the decision to locate a Piggly Wiggly on southside of town was not conditional on the CRA incentive.
In fact, all of the contracts were signed before the issue was even taken before the CRA.
Based on CRA documents, the Southside Shopping Center owner, Talcor NAI, BI-LO, and Piggly Wiggly entered into a lease agreement to open the grocery store before the funding request was presented to staff in November, 2015.
In addition, renovations to the property were underway before the issue was voted on by the CRA.
All indications are that the Piggly Wiggly would have opened on the southside of town with or without the CRA money.
This contradicts the view put forth by Mayor Gillum that the funding was needed to bring a grocery store to a part of town that didn’t have one.