North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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November 18, 2010

Buyer: No plans yet for Caufield Square

GARDENDALE — An Atlanta company that purchased the Caufield Square property in Gardendale has no plans yet for the site.

Gardendale Mayor Othell Phillips met with Michael Madden of Rialto Capital on Nov. 8 when he and councilman Alvin Currington attended an International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) conference in Atlanta.

Rialto purchased the property about five weeks ago along with a group of other properties throughout the southeast. Madden said the properties were a mix of loans and foreclosures. Caufield Square was reportedly a foreclosure property.

Madden said that Rialto is an investment company and not a developer. He said Rialto would partner with another company if it decided to develop the site.

“Our strategy isn’t really to go sell this thing to another investor for a cheap discount,” he said. “We have the ability to hold onto it for awhile” in order to determine the best strategy for the site.

He added, however, that his company could “sell it tomorrow” if it found a good deal.

Phillips said Billy Eyster, the city’s new economic developer, is working with Rialto regarding the property.

Eyster was unavailable for comment by press time Tuesday.

The property had been on the market since January 2008, when the North Jefferson News reported that developer Bob Jones of Paladium Properties LLC announced the property was for sale.

Jones’ group reportedly purchased the $30 million, 22-acre property in February 2005.

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