City Center groundbreaking.JPG

Gardendale city officials and council members turn the first shade of dirt in the groundbreaking for the new City Center project Friday morning. The project

Less than two months from the time Gardendale offices must vacate from city hall, officials have broken ground on the future municipal building and city center.

The former Caufield Square site next to Gardendale Elementary School is the planned site of not only the new city hall, but also a movie theater, hotel, stores and restaurants, according to Gardendale Mayor Othell Phillips. The first restaurant, Buffalo Wild Wings, is scheduled to open by November.

The proposed City Center is not without controversy.

William Flippo, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Phillips in Tuesday’s election, said at a political forum earlier this month that if he was elected, his first order of business would be to stop the move of city hall to the site on Mt. Olive Road.

Instead, Flippo said he would relocate city hall to the former Food World grocery store that is being renovated to house the Public Safety Center, which includes the Gardendale Police Department and municipal court.

The jail, police department, court and magistrate offices will take up about 19,500 square feet of the 56,000-square-foot facility. Flippo said the remaining space is enough room to house the rest of the city hall offices.

The Public Safety Center is scheduled for completion in October, which is when city offices are required to vacate the current city hall building.

The city council voted in April 2011 to sell city hall to T Investments LLC for $1.85 million. A CVS Pharmacy is to be built there.

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