Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

City Council Rejects Bids for Downtown Lot

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

City Council Rejects Bids for Downtown Lot

Article excerpt

Tuscaloosa city leaders on Tuesday rejected all bids for the purchase of a piece of city-owned land and are beginning anew the process of selling it.

Once the Office of the City Attorney issues the new requests for proposals, respondents will have 45 days to submit their bids.

The land, just east of Wilhagan's Grille & Tap Room at the intersection of Fourth Street and 22nd Avenue, is about a half-acre and recently was appraised at $286,000. It's now being used as a parking lot.

Two developers and Shelton State Community College submitted bids for the land when the city sought purchase proposals earlier this year.

But on Tuesday, City Attorney Glenda Webb told the City Council that Shelton State had dropped out of the process and recommended that all bids be rejected.

"We did have additional

submissions -- or

revised submissions -- and in the interest of fairness, I think we need to reject all responses and reopen (the bidding process)," she said.

Mayor Walter Maddox agreed, citing the differences in what the competing bidders offered.

"I felt there was a wide discrepancy in the proposals that were submitted," Maddox said, adding that be thought Shelton State submitted the "best proposal" for the land.

Last month, representatives of Shelton State, Allied Realty and Weaver Rentals made presentations to the council's public projects committee on what each would do with the land should their bid be accepted.

Shelton State President Andrea Mayfield told council members that the school would use the land for a planned four-story educational center to add new programs in cooperation with the University of Alabama.

Shelton State offered $286,000 -- the exact appraised value of the land -- to construct the "Center for Excellence." The proposed four-story building would contain classrooms, rest rooms and student spaces on the second, third and fourth floors with a 2,600-square- foot retail space on the first floor.

Mayfield acknowledged that full funding from the state had not yet been secured, but she said she was confident it would gain the support of the Alabama Community College System and its chancellor, Mark A. Heinrich, who is a former president of Shelton State. …

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