The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider recommending a new stoplight on North Illinois Avenue for a new Kroger shopping center.
Council will also decide whether to give developers a 90 percent, 10-year tax break to convert the historic but rundown Alexander Inn into an assisted living center.
The new stoplight for the $30 million Kroger Marketplace shopping center would be at North Illinois Avenue and Ivanhoe Road. The project will also need new entrances on Oak Ridge Turnpike and North Illinois Avenue.
Those roads are state routes, so the stoplight and entrances will have to be approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
As part of the project, City Council has been asked to give up two neighborhood roads—Iris Circle and Robin Lane—to make way for the 25-acre shopping center. Sewer, water, and electric easements will also have to abandoned. The shopping center will replace a neighborhood of about 55 homes, two hotels, a restaurant, day care center, and church northeast of the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue.
Council approved rezonings for the project in the first of two readings, or votes, earlier this month, and endorsed what is known as a planned unit development preliminary master plan.
The tax break for the Alexander Inn, officially known as a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, or PILOT, was endorsed in a 6-0 vote by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development board on Oct. 11. It would be used to help with public improvements that include a new road for cars that now drive through the three-acre site, relocation of a storm sewer under the two-story building, environmental remediation, building stabilization, and code compliance.
Even with the temporary tax break, Oak Ridge and Anderson County will continue to receive at least as much in property taxes as they do now, said Ray Evans, an economic development consultant for the city.
The project has been proposed by Family Pride Corp. of Loudon and InSite Development Corp. of Knoxville. Family Pride has said the project is not economically feasible without the tax break.
Construction of the $4.5 million, 60-unit assisted living center could take roughly a year.
A Kroger representative said home demolition at the shopping center site could begin in February. The Alexander Inn developers have said they are ready to immediately start remediation and rehabilitation work if Council approves the PILOT.
Monday’s meeting is unusual in that it’s the second regular City Council meeting this month. Council added the meeting to consider the Kroger and Alexander Inn project, as well as new city codes.
Council also changed the date of the regular November meeting. It was moved from Nov. 12 to Nov. 5. That means it will be held before the Nov. 6 election, ensuring there are seven Council members available for the meeting.
City officials weren’t sure if the results of the election would be certified by the Nov. 12 meeting, so it was possible that only four of the seven Council members would have been available for that meeting.
The Oct. 22 and Nov. 5 meetings both start at 7 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.
For more information, contact the Oak Ridge City Clerk’s Office at (865) 425-3411.
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