North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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June 25, 2014

Busted deal for old IGA building in Kimberly leads to lawsuit

GARDENDALE — The April 28 tornado that struck Kimberly has become an obstacle for a company that was hoping to put a manufacturing facility inside an old supermarket.

Grabow Properties LLC was hoping to set up shop in the former IGA building on Decatur Highway, with plans to manufacture topical creams. 

The company had been working with city officials to make the small factory a reality, and had a letter of intent ready to sign with Peoples Bank, which owns the foreclosed grocery store. That letter was to be signed on April 29.

But the tornado changed things. The building was heavily damaged, and Peoples Bank pulled out of the deal.

That change caused Grabow officials to file a lawsuit against the bank, and that has the city in limbo, Mayor Bob Ellerbrock said in Monday night’s city council meeting.

“They [the bank] decided they would rather take the insurance,” Ellerbrock said. “The bank’s being the bank — the same bank that they were before.”

Peoples Bank and the city clashed over a previous deal the bank had with Church 29:11, which wanted to move into the IGA building. The council turned down the proposal because it wanted to keep the property open for business use, which would generate much-needed tax revenue for the city.

Meanwhile, little has been done to clean up the building since the tornado, and Ellerbrock wants the bank to remedy the situation.

“I’m sending them a letter tomorrow [Tuesday] telling them to secure the property,” he said.

The council approved a request from Kimberly Church of God to use the Kimberly Senior Center for Sunday School classes and Wednesday night activities, while the church rebuilds from the tornado.

The council also discussed at length a replacement for the city’s telephone system, after a proposal received was deemed too expensive. The council tabled action on the matter, to allow time to investigate alternatives.

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