Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, along with the Birmingham City Council, has approved an incentive agreement that would make way for a new grocery store on the west side of Birmingham. Food Giant is returning to Birmingham and will be located at 2220 Bessemer Road.
The project is expected to be complete by early 2023.
“This is exciting news,” said Woodfin. “One of the No. 1 issues I have wanted to address across the entire municipality is solving for food deserts; and the West side has been a priority.”
The new store will be 25,000 square feet; half of the old Winn Dixie because “today’s market size is different from yesterday,” said Cornell Wesley, director of the Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity. The large size was impeding the city’s ability to recruit new tenants. “You cannot control loss in a 50,000 square foot building, which affects turnover and the margin of profitability.”
The incentive package includes $640,000 strictly for tenant improvements and modernization, which includes cutting the location from 50,000 to 25,000 square feet. The agreement also includes a 10-year revenue share that will be capped at $1 million.
“We are excited about having Mitchell Retail properties in the state of Alabama,” Wesley said of the Food Giant parent company. “They are a very experienced provider with an excellent reputation for operating amazing, clean stores. We are excited about welcoming them back into our city.”
The incentive agreement is being financed from a $2 million spending plan earmarked for grocery store recruitment. The city refinanced its bond debt with the Commercial Development Authority (CDA), which yielded about $12.9 million in recovered funds. The monies are to be strictly used to stimulate economic development in the city and will fund several projects.
“The community has cried for amenities such as fresh fruit and vegetables, a hot table, floral, bakery as well as a vibrant meat department with options. We are delighted to say that we have accomplished and been able to answer all those expectations,” he said. “This is round one. Happy to say that Ensley, Pratt, Titusville, you are all up next.”
The grocery store is part of the city’s efforts to help reduce food deserts and improve residents’ access to healthy foods in the city.
Previously, the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity noted that there are approximately 146,000 Birmingham residents living in food deserts and submitted an amendment to change the city’s existing zoning ordinance to make it easier to recruit new grocery stores in areas where they currently are not; reduce the number of dollar stores opening in food deserts, which will allow more grocery stores to enter the market; and operate a mobile grocery stores in residential districts where residents live, among other steps.