Downtown Oglethorpe Crossing project moving forward

Oglethorpe Crossing will feature a shopping plaza, office spaces and a gas station with convenience store

The Tax Allocation Committee and project managers say they've hit a homerun with this project.

TAC board members began working on a project proposal called Oglethorpe Crossing. The project includes a shopping plaza in the current Albany Transportation Center (soon to be relocated), a gas station and Homerun Foods convenience store in the empty lot across the street and local office spaces on Oglethorpe and Highland.

They say they are glad a local convenience store such as Homerun Foods was included in the project. The Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) has said in the past they want to keep the businesses in downtown Albany locally-run.

The project will be completed in two phases: Phase one includes local office leases in the Heritage Bank building and the Homerun Foods store; phase two includes the shopping plaza and more office spaces on Highland Avenue.

"Right now we can get phase one done. It's a shot in the arm for tax revenue and helps us build momentum for phase two," says Project Manager Patrick Plettner.

ADICA approves the Oglethorpe Crossing project at their next meeting on March 2, TAD money will go towards it with hopes that money will come back to the city.

"That's what we're really concerned about is that if we are going to partner in any type of project that the money is going to work immediately so we're seeing a return in our tax base," says Downtown Manager Aaron Blair.

Homerun Foods is slated to be located on an empty lot ADICA owns. The group hopes the property will bring in tax dollars once it is sold to private developers at Destiny.

"It will go up between $1 million and $1.4 million. Then Highland Avenue which is $168,000 will go up to $1 million. So you'll have it go up almost $2 million," says Plettner.

The project managers are asking for TAD to help with 25 percent of the funding; the rest they say they will do through Capital City Bank. TAD money used on projects is considered a loan to be paid back. The loan is seen as a kick start for the area to grow its own revenue.

Blair says tax revenue was one of the areas they wanted to work on with Destiny was tax revenue and making sure the tax payers' money was not going to waste. He says the proposal presented on Wednesday showed that improvement.

"That was really key to us: Insuring the money is actually working. It isn't just a project we're committing dollars to and it's not jumping off the ground," says Blair.

Plettner says he expect the project to jump off the ground and continue to expand after that.

"The more we do down here the better off we'll be and momentum will get momentum will get momentum. You've got phase one, phase two; I wouldn't be surprised if there was phase three and phase four," says Project Manager Patrick Plettner.

Plettner says if ADICA approves the project, they could begin building the Homerun Foods as early as March.