Oxford-owned commercial building up for sale
by Eddie Burkhalter
May 29, 2013 | 6686 views |  0 comments | 236 236 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — The former Center Star building on Hamric Drive is on the market once again.

The city bought the 53,000 square-foot building in 2001 for $312,000. At the time, Mayor Leon Smith said he hoped to lease it to individuals or factories for storage.

That same year the city came close to selling the property for a profit to the Civilian Marksmanship Program, which had outgrown the government-chartered program’s location at the Anniston Army Depot. The program looked, but never bought.

The council agreed Tuesday to allow Mayor Leon Smith to begin marketing the commercial property.

Speaking of businesses interested in the property, council president Steven Waits said, “We’ve got two or three.”

The T-shirt company Center Star bought the building at 207 Hamric Drive in 1987, and opened another plant in Gadsden three years later.

At one time the company employed as many as 140 people in both plants, but in 1997 Center Star filed for bankruptcy and liquidated both plants that same year.

In 2002, the city agreed to lease the building to Walmart for a short period so the company could store goods while completing a renovation of a nearby store.

In 2003 the city leased the building to Ohio-based shipping supply company Buckeye Diamond Logistics. That company closed the Oxford location in 2009.

Tax records show the building and property’s estimated worth is $681,000.

In an effort to make sports more accessible to special-needs children, the city is applying for a grant through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to build a handicapped-accessible baseball field.

Preliminary plans call for the field to be located at the existing Oxford Sports Complex, west of the parking lots near the baseball fields.

The project is expected to cost around $391,000. The federal grant, if awarded, would be for $50,000 with a required $50,000 match. The city will have to pay the remainder of the cost of the project.

Gayle Macolly, manager of Eastman, formerly Solutia, told the council during the work session the company is committed to helping build the field and expects it to be built before next season.

Plans call for a field, concession stand, restrooms and handicapped parking next to the field.

In another matter, health insurance costs for city employees are on the rise, said city Finance Director Alton Craft, but the council decided to keep those increases from reaching city workers.

Blue Cross Blue Shield will begin increasing premiums June 1, Craft said.

“While we can afford it, I’d like to see us as a city not pass that on to employees right now,” Waits said.

The mayor and council agreed, and the city will pay $26,520 to cover those costs this year.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a resolution setting aside three acres of city-owned land for a dog park as part of the Bark for Your Park contest. If declared a winner, the contest will help pay for a dog park. The exact location of the land was not finalized during Tuesday’s meeting.

• Rezoned land located at 48371 Alabama 21 from R-1 (residential) to AG (Agriculture). The land is owned by Fred Denney and Geoff and Michelle Williams.

• Agreed to buy nine automated external defibrillators for the Oxford Fire Department, to be located in city buildings, at a cost of $14,706.

• Approved contracts with Jerry Doss Construction for $31,692 to repair culverts on Brookside Lane and Pecanwood Drive.

Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.
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