Old Pritchett Ford property to be demolished (Updated with new information, quote)

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- A former Ford dealership on one of the city's busiest thoroughfares will be reduced to rubble in the coming weeks, city officials said Monday.

Oxford Construction will finalize the demolition contract on the former Pritchett Ford property on the 400 block of North Slappey Boulevard, City Attorney Nathan Davis told commissioners at their annual retreat Monday.

Bringing the building to the ground has been the city's second-highest priority in terms of blight mitigation, behind only the former Heritage House Hotel on Oglethorpe Boulevard.

The demolition project, as outlined by Davis Monday, is being financed entirely by the bank that has acquired the property without any assistance from the taxpayers of the city.

The property had been subject to a rarely-used taxing mechanism known as the "blight tax," which tripled the property tax on the city's portion of the bill.

"The bank that owns that property believes it has a better chance for economic development if it's demolished and made into just a clean slate," Assistant City Manager James Taylor said.

The building is in a part of the city touted as prone for "high growth" -- a designation that is slowly coming to fruition with the expansion of the Warehouse Package store on Pine Avenue, Short and Paulk Hardware Store nearby and the construction of a Zaxby's restaurant across the street on Slappey.

Davis told the commission that the building will likely be razed in the coming weeks with demolition and cleanup likely to be completed around June.