07/26/05 — Major retailer looking at land in Mount Olive

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Major retailer looking at land in Mount Olive

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 26, 2005 1:49 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A major retailer is considering locating on the northwest side of the town of Mount Olive and Town Manager Ray McDonald said he thinks it could be Wal-Mart.

McDonald said he was called Saturday by a real estate broker who said he is representing a large retail company that wants the town to annex about 25 acres of land behind the Southern Belle restaurant.

The broker said the company will contact the town about the proposal and that it would involve heavy commercial use of the land. McDonald said the property is owned by Borden Howell.

"The request is coming in the next seven or eight days," McDonald said. "They want to accomplish this as soon as they can so the land can be purchased and an announcement made as to what is going there."

McDonald said he has alerted the property owners, who have told him they are not opposed to the company buying the land and developing it.

McDonald said the property's proximity to the intersection of U.S. 117 and N.C. 55 makes it ideal for development.

Several other businesses have contacted the town recently about the possibility of locating there, McDonald added.

"In the next two weeks," he said, "you'll be hearing about a lot of things happening."

Meanwhile, development of a shopping center near the town advanced Monday when the Town Board approved plans for a 40-lot commercial subdivision on the north side of N.C. 55 between Martin and Jones Grove Church roads.

McDonald said the developer, E.J. Bundy, will put in two streets, Berry Lane and Bundy Lane. The subdivision will be called Produce Park and will have two entrances.

The front lots have been sold. He said eventually, as the back lots are developed, a turn lane will be needed for the entrances.

The front part of the subdivision is in the city limits, and as the back lots are developed, McDonald said Bundy will request voluntary annexation.

He said Bundy will eventually invest $500,000, and the town will apply for a grant from the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center.

"There's no guarantee we'll get a dime," McDonald said. "But if it's available, I'm going after it to ease the blow."

Bundy has several small businesses ready to start any time, McDonald said. One is a hardware store.

The state has approved an erosion control plan that will include a valley beside the subdivision for storm water run-off, project surveyor Bobby Rex Kornegay said. He told the board five contractors have bid on the work, and Bundy is ready to get started on the project.