Eyesore or Opportunity: Vacant Albany store may get demolished
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An old convenience store off of Liberty Expressway and Holly Drive in Dougherty County may only have a few more weeks standing.
This comes as Commissioners are debating demolishing what they call an eyesore, but new owners say they want to refurbish it.
The building was one that was impacted by the 2017 storms and since then nothing has changed except ownership.
Now at the property is a vacant building, skeletons of old gas pumps, litter and overgrown grass. District 6 Commissioner, Anthony Jones said it’s looked this way for the past five years.
“I’ve heard from angry residents, I’ve heard from good residents, I’ve heard from people who don’t even live in Dougherty County they’re just passing through and they call me and say ‘what are you going to do with the store,’” said Jones.
Five years ago, the store was under different ownership. Jones said those owners promised to clean up the property after the storm but didn’t. They later filed for bankruptcy.
“We stayed in Bankruptcy for about three years or so then a new owner emerged,” said Jones.
That new owner is JNKR incorporated. They bought the property last July. A representative from the company argued although this project has been in the works for 5 years, they’ve only been part of it for one year.
“We understand there’s frustration from the property. There is a thriving community, that’s one of the reasons we purchased. That is for that community and revitalization. The last thing we want to do is build another truck stop. We want to have a local community convenience center,” The representative said.
The representative added the biggest hurdles that have kept the project from moving forward have been the engineering process, meaning getting plans for the project and securing funding.
Now the commission is giving the new owners 25 days to present their plans and until the end of this week to get the property presentable.
“Finally, the county has gotten the upper hand. We’re going to see that this business is either going to go forward or we’re going to demolish the building,” said Jones.
The representative for the new owners JNKR incorporated said this time is essential.
“This is a very important 25 days if we could get it that would be crucial to us rebuilding the property,” he said.
He also mentioned one of their hold-ups was the design process, arguing their engineer was out of the country but is back and drawing up plans. He said their goal is to build the new convenience store by July.
Jones said whatever happens it’s time to move forward and clean up, something everyone in that area had to do after the 2017 storms.
“The citizens who live in that community said it’s blighted (and) its an eyesore to them and they’ve been complaining and they’ve had a right. They went through the same storm that building went through and all of them have built back,” said Jones
It was a goal of the commission to keep the owners honest and put pressure on them to move forward.
Commissioner Russel Gray said they will still file for demolition on May 13th.
“We will still file, but you continue to do what you do if everything is satisfactory by your deadline, we will drop our suit,” said Gray.
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