PELL CITY - The City Council approved an incentive package during a special called meeting Thursday night that paves the road for purchasing the Bill Stanford dealership in Talladega and bringing a new car dealership to Pell City and St. Clair County.
“The city of Pell City is pleased to welcome another new business to the I-20 corridor in Pell City,” Mayor Bill Pruitt said. “This automotive dealership will help create a hub for automotive shopping in Pell City that should yield benefits, not only for McSweeney Holdings, but also for neighboring businesses.”
The council unanimously approved an incentive package for the McSweeney family, which could move the opening date of the new automobile dealership to sometime next fall.
The new dealership will offer Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles initially, with future plans of adding additional brands.
“On behalf of our family, we want to say thank you to the mayor and council,” said Michael McSweeney of McSweeney Holdings. “We truly believe it could be a great investment for us and a great investment for the city. It’s a win-win.”
He told the council that when McSweeney Holdings began its quest to acquire a new car dealership, the Bill Stanford dealership in Talladega became available for purchase.
“That opened the door to relocate to Pell City,” McSweeney said. “We feel like Pell City is a good market today and will be even better in the future.”
According to the agreement approved by the council, the new dealership(s) would make a $7.2 million-$10.8 million capital investment, which would include new vehicle showrooms, used vehicle showrooms, sales offices, parts storage and sales facilities, motor vehicle repair facilities, general office facilitates and a separate car wash facility.
The new car dealership(s) is expected to employ 45 people.
In accordance with the proposed agreement, the city would share half of the taxes generated from sales of more than $5 million annually with the owners of the new automobile dealership(s) site.
City Manager Brian Muenger said if the sales generate less than $5 million, the city will not share any tax revenues with the owners.
He said the agreement excludes educational taxes collected by the city and county.
The agreement would remain in place for the next 10 years or until the property owners receive $5 million from sales taxes collected by the city, whichever is first.
The property where the new car dealership will be located is 10.3 acres along Interstate 20 between Hardee’s restaurant and the old St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital on Dr. John Haynes Drive.
Following the approval of the council, the St. Clair County Commission met at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Pell City and also approved the incentive package to bring the second new car dealership to St. Clair County.
Town and Country Ford in Pell City is the only new car dealership in St. Clair County and is only a stone’s throw away from the new dealership property.
“The St. Clair County Commission is excited to partner with our municipalities and to see another quality business coming into the county. We look forward to their success,” St. Clair County Commission Chairman Paul Manning said. “It is always our goal for businesses to recognize St. Clair County as a growing, healthy environment where they can make an investment, and this is one example of a business making their choice of location for that reason.”
McSweeney told the council the plan of McSweeney Holdings is to close on the property and the dealership at the end of January. He said construction of the new automobile dealership will begin immediately following the closing.
McSweeney said construction of the new dealership will take about eight months, and the company expects to open sometime during the 2017 fourth quarter.
He said the company is working to bring the Cadillac and GMC dealership from Talladega to Pell City, but the move has not received approval from the manufacturer.
McSweeney said if the company is unsuccessful with bringing those car brands to Pell City, it will seek other brands.
Bill Stanford, owner of the car dealerships in Talladega, was out of town and not available for comment Friday, but General Manager Cheryl Cate confirmed negotiations for the sale of the dealership would not be finalized until after the end of January.