Planning officials, Best Buy discuss an Albany store

Albany could be seeing a Best Buy logo in the future

Planning and Development officials are giving minimal details about their communication with Best Buy regarding a possible Albany location.

"What I can tell you is that we have had an exchange of emails in the month of October," says Mary Teter, Interim Director of Albany and Dougherty County Planning and Development Services.

On Monday, FOX 31 confirmed through a series of emails received by an open records request that MJM Architects working with Best Buy are discussing the possibility of a new store in Albany.

Phone calls and emails about the use a particular building and its parking availability have been sent back and forth according to Development Services Senior Manager Tracy Hester.

FOX 31 called Best Buy Tuesday to see what light they could shine on the project. A public relations official with the company says she could only report that their earnings were up and new store openings were planned. No details about an Albany location are available.

In their 2010 annual report, Best Buy writes "For fiscal 2011, our new store opening plans include the opening of 50-55 net large-format stores under the Best Buy brand." The report says a large number of these stores will be in the United States.

Officials with Planning and Development say the city hasn't had a big electronics store since Circuit City left but that could change if Best Buy comes to Albany. It's possible Best Buy could use the same building as the old Circuit City located on Westover.

The new business could provide an economic advantage to the area with revenue and jobs.

"I think it could be a boost especially since Circuit City is no longer with us. It would fill that void for that type of store in our area," says Teter.

New business is warmly welcome to Albany, officials say.

"Any new business is certainly a shot in the arm and it makes Albany a better place," says Hester.

Hester says it does seem as though Best Buy is interested in opening a location in Albany and adds that Planning and Development is encouraging the business to set up shop.

Although officials working closely with the project cannot confirm a definite date for when a Best Buy could open in the city, a Valdosta Best Buy employee FOX 31 spoke with during a phone interview on Monday says they have an Albany location slated to open March 1, 2011.