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Flea market opening delay irks vendors

South Georgia Flea Market, located at 1601 S. Slappey Blvd., is facing obstacles in its attempts to open for business. The hold-ups are frustrating vendors eager to conduct business there.

South Georgia Flea Market, located at 1601 S. Slappey Blvd., is facing obstacles in its attempts to open for business. The hold-ups are frustrating vendors eager to conduct business there.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Despite outward appearances, the latest inhabitant of the Albany MacGregor golf plant is still far from opening, and vendors who have signed up to to sell their wares inside the sprawling building aren’t happy about it.

The 234,000-square-foot facility that is set to become the South Georgia Flea Market and Yard Sale has apparently hit a regulatory snag.

According to city officials and documents, the store’s owner, Billy Lee Pollard, filed the necessary paperwork to get an occupational tax certificate, or business license. As per city policy, the city treasurer’s office notified the Albany Fire Department which, under state law, must inspect new businesses to make sure they meet applicable state and local fire codes.

Assistant Fire Chief Ron Rowe said that some of his inspection staff completed what he says was a “courtesy walk-through” with the owner shortly after his OTC application was filed to point out things that would need to be brought up to code before the owner could pass a formal inspection.

“We went and went through some things with the property owner so that he would know what needed to be done to bring the property up to code before we had a formal inspection,” Rowe said.

Pollard was then scheduled for a formal inspection on March 5, a date Rowe says Pollard called to cancel because he said he needed more time to respond to the code violations. So Pollard was put on the fire department’s “will call” list, meaning that Pollard could call for an inspection whenever he felt that the property has been properly brought up to code.

Meanwhile, vendors, some of which were granted business licenses by the city, are reportedly irked because they can’t sell their items until Pollard gets his license.

A person who claimed to be a vendor but who didn’t leave a name or contact information, called The Albany Herald Tuesday and said he was frustrated that opening the business was taking so long.

Pollard has yet to return phone calls seeking comment.

Ava O’Neal, the head of the city treasurer’s office, said that businesses aren’t granted an OTC until her office receives a certificate of occupancy from the fire department, something that can’t happen until a formal inspection is completed.

Comments

Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I hope Pollard didn't receive a multi thousand dollar "grant" for this endeavor.

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whattheheck 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Isn't this the bldg the EDC or Payroll Authority is still on the hook for lease payments on? If so, I wonder what the arrangements are for this planned use?

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chinaberry25 11 months, 2 weeks ago

They have had vendors there selling stuff for 2 months. They tell you that they are not open but you can come through and look. It has already been advertised on WALB that they are opening. It will probably be a good thing, but I do not go to buy Chinese imports.

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Nous_Defions 11 months, 2 weeks ago

What will finally come out is there was not a great deal of research by Mr. Pollard. This industrial building is at least 40 yrs. and not up to modern fire and electrical codes. And in it's current state not suited for a commercial building serving the public. My guess that it will take at least $250,000 to bring it up to code. I'll bet he didn't plan on that much money. Now the old Winn Dixie's in South or East Albany would have been a better choice for a indoor flea market. I wonder also what incentives the EDC gave Mr. Pollard.

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whattheheck 11 months, 2 weeks ago

"The PDA has been paying nearly $10,000 a month in debt obligations left behind when MacGregor dissolved in 2009. That payment has helped pay for two outstanding Section 108 loans that MacGregor got in 2000 but had largely failed to repay".

The above is from a May 2011 article when Coats & Clark was making a temporary lease of space in the building. So, what's the straight on what's being done with the building now from the PDA's perspective? Didn't this obligation start out as a $1,8 million revenue bond issued by the PDA? So, how does the now flea market fit into the whole scheme of things or does it?

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jglass 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I think Pollard put the cart before the horse. I have also heard that they have been selling on the weekends. Code enforcement needs to check them out one Saturday morning.

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Code enforcement doesn't operate on the week ends from what they tell our staff.

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VietVet1 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Keep calling Code Enforcement (be sure to jot down date/time/person taking message) and after several months someone will look into it.

BTW don't you just love the curb appeal? Very fitting for Albany.

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Amazed2 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Meeting Fire Standard Codes are serious business. The operator just may have mis-judged or not realized what all is required. That would not be unusual at all. It will be open to the public with potential of at least several hundred people in there so they need to get it right!! Don't blame the Fire Dept they are just doing their job.

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Nous_Defions 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Please don't confuse the new McGregor building in the industrial park across from the airport with the old building beside the Post office on south Slappey. This article is about the Slappey location.

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whattheheck 11 months, 2 weeks ago

That I did, regret the error. Thanks!

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agirl_25 11 months, 2 weeks ago

A new McGregor building where they make golf equipment?

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Amazed2 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Yea Code Enforcement does not work weekends. A couple of NW late night places turn a blind eye on the Smoking Ordinance on Weekends. The Code people are home sleeping at 11 pm and later so people light up and the management pretends not to see it.

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agirl_25 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Whatever happened to the old Flea Market from years ago that was in the old K-Mart? This was back in the mid-80's. I recall seeing the sign as I went to the MCLB, but cannot recall the name of the street.

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agirl_25 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Oh...OK, thanks whattheheck. When my sister-in-law came to visit me in the late 80's I recall it was there. I had no idea the flood was in that area.

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Amazed2 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Indoor Flea Markets usually quickly become junk and trash

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Cartman 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Click for Link to One of my favorite YouTubes Maybe we can do a local version of this commercial for the MacGregor Flea Market. Cause....its just like...its just like....a....mini....mall.

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stc1993 11 months, 2 weeks ago

If he has to deal with the Albany fire dept. he is in for a real treat. When my wife opened her business each inspector would tell her something different. We ended up installing a fire sprinkler system that was around $16,000 & it wasn't even required for her business. They told us we had to install an electrical smoke detector system with battery backup. We did that for around $3,000. A different inspector came to look at it and he said it was not correct it had to have a phone line connected to a service like the burglar systems are. It was the biggest run around I've ever dealt with in my life. The fire dept. inspectors were no help at all. It seemed each one had their own interpretation of "The Life Safety Code" book. I wouldn't never open another business in Albany.

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FryarTuk 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Am I sorry to hear that. My experience was just the opposite. The inspector from the AFD was Sam Harris. He pretty well stuck to one of my new multipurpose buildings of 14000 square feet from the beginning. The code enforcement had required certain safety systems and an additional egress which were not required though were in the original architectural plans which were approved. In a very professional manner Sam went to bat for me and proved to them they were in error and the cost was just unwarranted. He also helped alarm company redesign the emergency lighting to be more effective and cost less. Since 2005 each year's inspection has always been a pleasure. They go through things very thoroughly and teach along with what they do. I have nothing but respect for the Fire Department. I would call the Chief and get some folks face to face with what you are reporting. Good luck.

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