Lanett mayor says new development may spur more interest

Published 4:56 pm Friday, August 16, 2019

LANETT — At a press conference on Friday, Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy announced a big economic development win for the city.

Tractor Supply Company will be the first tenant on the newly acquired — and cleared — Lanett Mill site.

Tractor Supply Company is the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the U.S., operating more than 1,700 stores in 49 states.

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The company has been a long-time retail target for the local area. Tractor Supply currently has stores in LaGrange, Opelika and Roanoke. The Lanett store will be built on the recently cleared south end of the Lanett Mill site.

Tractor Supply purchased about 3.6 acres from the city for $360,000. Company officials liked the traffic count along Highway 29, and its proximity to I-85 and the junction of Highway 29 and Highway 50.

“They looked at a number of sites in Chambers County,” McCoy said. “The company president, Ray Hix, was here several weeks ago. We had dinner with him at El Rio Mexican Restaurant, and he liked what he saw with the mill cleanup. He told us he liked being part of a community that was redefining itself. We drove past the site, and he pointed to the south end telling us, ‘That’s what I want.’”

The three-acre site has Highway 29 on one site, South 10th Street on the other and the CSX main line on the back side.

The signed agreement has the city, the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA), Tractor Supply and Daphne-based Hix Snedeker Companies as partners. Hix Snedeker will develop the site for Tractor Supply.

McCoy said he was pleased the agreement was pulled together so quickly.

“Only a few months ago, we made the announcement the city was purchasing the mill site,” he said. “We were then thinking it would take at least 10 to 12 months to have some marketable property, but here we are four months later announcing a new business in the City of Lanett.”

The proposed store layout includes a 19,097-square-foot physical structure with 15,000 square feet of fenced outdoor display and over 6,000 square feet of sidewalk display area. Site work will begin almost immediately with the new store opening taking place by mid 2020.

“We are excited about developing this site in Lanett for our tenant Tractor Supply store,” said Ray Hix HSC principal. “In our decision-making process, we were impressed with the city’s downtown revitalization efforts and what was getting done on the mill site. It’s significant for us, and our tenant Tractor Supply store to be part of the mill revitalization and the growth coming to Lanett.”

McCoy thanked council members for their support and singled out the work being done by city crews in the mill cleanup.

“This announcement would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of so many people,” he said. “I want to thank city council members for their continued support and focus on keeping the promises we made to clean up the mill site. Much appreciation goes to Chris Busby of the CCDA and our planning and development director, Tony Chandler, who have been in daily contact with the developers to get this deal done. We thank them for their professionalism in getting this to come about. We especially want to thank Jason Abernathy and his entire crew with the Cemetery & Grounds Department. They have done a remarkable job in a short period of time. They’ve turned what had been an eyesore in our city into one of the most desirable locations in the county.”

In April of this year, the 23-acre mill site was purchased by the city in partnership with the CCDA and the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority. Almost immediately, city crews began an earnest clean up of the long-neglected site.

“The CCDA and the city have been working together on planning for the development of the site,” McCoy said. “The Tractor Supply project is an important first step in this development going forward. This new store will be an anchor for future development. It will be a draw in bringing people to Lanett and will encourage the development of more businesses. We are moving in the right direction of getting new retail businesses in the city. “