City loses bid for Albertson’s

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 1999

Despite efforts to attract a major supermarket to the Tracetown Shopping Center, Natchez officials found out this week that Albertson’s will not be building a store in the city.

Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said he was disappointed by the company’s decision, which was made after a second consideration of the site on Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

&uot;We really felt like it was going to go through,&uot; Brown said. &uot;It’s a disappointment … We had hoped to put $10 million more in ad valorem taxes into the city with that facility.&uot;

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In letters to Brown and to Jimmy Grodnick, president of Mobile, Ala.-based JW Properties, which owns Tracetown, Albertson’s Robert Rissing said the site &uot;does not meet our criteria at this time.&uot;

Rissing is senior real estate manager for Albertson’s in Northeast Louisiana, Northern Louisiana and Mississippi.

&uot;I wanted to express my thanks to you for your close support and active participation as relates to enhancing the vehicle access into and out of the center, without which we would not have had a site to present for review,&uot; Rissing wrote the mayor. &uot;You put your support and your heart behind this project as we all did.&uot;

Albertson’s, based in Boise, Idaho, has more than 990 stores in 25 states.

The 35-year-old Tracetown center suffered when a bingo group, a Winn-Dixie grocery store (in the 1980s) and a Sears store (in the early 1990s) moved out.

Had Albertson’s put a store in Natchez, the retailer would have spent up to $5 million and the developer would spend more than $5.5 million to renovate Tracetown.

And the Mississippi Department of Transportation was prepared to design one central entrance to Tracetown if the shopping center had been fully developed.

Brown said he has not given up on developing the Tracetown site, and wants to help the owners attract other retailers to the shopping center.