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    City of Montgomery
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Downtown Grocer Incentive Program

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Downtown Grocer Program

The City of Montgomery’s Downtown Grocer Program is intended to provide an incentive for grocery stores to locate in the core of downtown, becoming part of, and a partner in, its revitalization. 

While consumer interest in a downtown grocer has been high for a decade, the demand for one, and downtown’s ability to sustain one, has been growing steadily over the last five years in particular.  There has long been a substantial worker and visitor presence downtown; in addition, now the quantity of residential units existing and planned as part of private investment in the downtown core has increased such that the City seeks a private-public partnership to make it happen.

The Downtown Grocer Program offers a rebate of up to 1.75 percent (or 1.75 cents per dollar spent) of sales tax to the first grocer to be eligible, to open up, and to maintain its eligibility for a full year.  


Program eligibility:

The Program is for a Grocery/Market making at least 75% of revenue from packaged groceries. The store must be a minimum of 5,000 square feet in size. The store must be part of a multi-user/use project and not in a single, standalone building. The store/project must comply with all SmartCode zoning. Single-story projects are eligible for three years of rebate. Multi-story projects are eligible for six years of rebate.  Additional information: The sales tax rebate will be remitted only after a qualified business has been open for a 12-month consecutive period.  At that time, the first twelve month rebate will be remitted and thereafter will be remitted annually. The sales tax rebate is available only to the first grocery/market to open and able to maintain eligibility for a full year. The sales tax rebate is applicable within the City’s jurisdiction and does not extend to purchases outside of its jurisdiction. The scope and quality of development proposals will be considered. Other terms and conditions may apply. Specific information will be requested from developer and/or grocer. The City reserves the right to accept or reject any/all proposals.  

The program will be open for applicants from October 1, 2014, until November 1, 2016.  

For information, contact Mac McLeod, Director, at 334-625-2737 or email at  


Council Approves Sale of Downtown Properties

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For Immediate Release                     Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For Additional Information Contact: 

Melanie Golson, Development Outreach Coordinator


City Council Approves Sale of Downtown Properties 

Montgomery, AL –The City Council authorized the Mayor to enter into purchase/sale agreements for several parcels of land and buildings at its July 1, 2014 meeting.  Once executed, the clock will start ticking for the prospective purchasers to conduct necessary due diligence and inspections of the properties. 

“We are excited about the increased interest of developers in downtown Montgomery,” said Mac McLeod, Director of the Department of Development, “but continue to remain cautiously optimistic of the reality of these deals making it to the closing table,” McLeod went on to say. 

On Dexter Avenue, 58 and 62 Dexter are proposed for purchase by Dexter Place, LLC, an Alabama limited liability company whose principals are with Foshee Design and Construction Company.  The buyers will have 30 days after the agreement is signed by the Mayor to perform their due diligence inspection of the properties before proceeding to close.

The second agreement is for the buildings at One Court Square, 150 Lee Street, 128 Lee Street, and several parcels adjacent to the former Western Rail Yard.  That agreement is with ELSAJA Court Square, LLC, associated with the same principal company that recently purchased several other properties along Dexter Avenue and at the Western Rail Yard for MarJam Supply Company. Principals for the company have not disclosed plans for the One Court Square and Lee Street properties.  As with the other agreement the purchaser has forty-five days to complete their due diligence review before a series of closings will be set in motion. 

Once sold, the Department of Development has negotiated a rehabilitation agreement with the prospective purchasers of 58 and 62 Dexter to ensure that the facades are presentable by March 2015. The Department has 18 months to complete negotiations for rehabilitation and development agreements with ELSAJA Court Square, LLC, to detail more exact plans and timing for redevelopment of those properties.

It is the mission of the Department of Development to work as a catalyst to drive economic growth and revitalization throughout the City of Montgomery with strategic public and private partnerships. For more information about the city’s development efforts visit or


Due Diligence Begins on Several Dexter Ave Properties

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For Immediate Release                     

March 5, 2014   

Due Diligence Period Begins for Dexter Avenue Properties   

Montgomery, AL –The City Council authorized the Mayor to enter into purchase/sale agreements for several buildings on Dexter Avenue at its March 4, 2014 meeting.  Once executed, the clock will start ticking for the prospective purchaser to conduct necessary due diligence and inspections of the properties to determine if the historic buildings on Dexter Avenue are suitable for rehabilitation.  “This is an important milestone in the long process to revitalize lower Dexter Avenue.  However, it is just one milestone.  The properties are in a state of deterioration and the prospective purchaser has the right to back out before the end of the inspection period,” said Mac McLeod, Director of the Department of Development.

The buyer, ELSAJA Dexter, is an Alabama LLC with principals based in New York City.  The principals have related business operations locally and across the nation.  Local representatives brought the principals to Dexter Avenue to meet with Mr. McLeod this past summer.  Mr. McLeod stated, “I conveyed to them just how important the renovation of these properties is for the City of Montgomery.” 

The buildings include 35 Dexter, 39 Dexter, 61-67 Dexter, and 71 Dexter Avenue.  In an effort to spur development along Dexter Avenue, the city purchased the buildings in 2010 and issued a request for redevelopment proposals to solicit prospective buyers.

“These buildings have been in disrepair for many years.  We still have a lot of work to do in order to determine if it is even possible to rehabilitate them for future use,” said Mr. McLeod.  The agreements allow ELSAJA Dexter three to six months to inspect the properties, depending on the respective purchase/sale agreement, to determine if it is structurally or financially feasible to begin rehabilitation on the buildings and then close on the purchase.

“A lot of progress has already been made [downtown] and we are encouraged by the growing interest in downtown Montgomery.  We are cautiously optimistic about the opportunity to preserve the historic significance of these Dexter Avenue properties, but it may be that the damage from decades of neglect cannot be reversed”, Mr. McLeod went on to say.  “It is very possible for the buyers to not exercise their option to close,” McLeod continued.

In addition to conducting inspections during the due diligence period, the City and ELSAJA Dexter also have to negotiate individual Rehabilitation Agreements to identify the timelines for renovation prior to closing the sale.  They have agreed to use the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation as their guidelines and that is part of the Purchase and Sale Agreements. 

The Department of Development works to promote economic growth throughout the City of Montgomery using success oriented and innovative programs, partnerships, and opportunities to attract, retain and grow businesses, increase jobs, and serve as a catalyst to make Montgomery a vibrant and safe place citizens are proud to call home.  For more information about the city’s development efforts visit or  

Dexter Avenue Properties Sold

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For Immediate Release                    June 3, 2014

For Additional Information Contact: Melanie Golson, Development Outreach Coordinator                                                                                     334-625-3737

 Dexter Avenue Properties Sold 

Montgomery, AL – Dexter revitalization took a major step forward today with the sale of three city-owned properties.  The City closed the sale of buildings located at 35 Dexter Avenue, 39 Dexter Avenue and 61/67 Dexter  to ELSAJA Dexter LLC.  

Due diligence continues for 25 Dexter and 71 Dexter.  All parties are optimistic that the sale of these properties will successfully close later this month.

The new owners, principals of MarJam Lumber, will now begin the rehabilitation phase of the development projects.  The City will continue to work closely with MarJam during the rehabilitation phase to ensure that all contractual deadlines and improvements are completed. 

“It will be exciting to watch these buildings come back to life,” said Mac McLeod, Director of Business and Commercial Development for the City of Montgomery.  “Everyone in the Department of Development has worked very hard these last 60 days to make sure that we were able to successfully make it to the closing table.  The next few months will be a game changer for downtown Montgomery with additional retail and residential units becoming available in the block of Lower Dexter.  This is a big win for the City of Montgomery,” said McLeod.

The Department of Development works as a catalyst to drive economic growth and revitalization throughout the City of Montgomery with strategic public and private partnerships. The Dexter properties project is just one example of how city officials can work with the private sector to encourage redevelopment and bring vibrancy back to key areas of the city. 


Study: Montgomery 23rd best business startup site

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Study: Montgomery 23rd best business startup site

Written by Brad Harper

Mar. 13, 2014 |


Going into business in Montgomery is a capital idea, according to a new national study.

Financial site ranked the nation’s 150 biggest cities according to how fertile they are for entrepreneurs, based on a wide range of factors. After all the data was added up, Alabama’s capital city landed at No. 23 among the best places to start a new business.

The rankings took into account factors ranging from the cost of office space to the five-year survival rate for local startups.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said entrepreneurs are willing to risk a lot to pursue their business dreams, citing a nationwide 10-year business failure rate of 90 percent. That’s why programs such as the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s business incubator are so important, he said.

“We obviously don’t have enough entrepreneurs, and we still need access to capital,” he said. “But the incubator is a perfect example of what you can do, with some of the great successes they’ve had.”

Southern cities dominated the WalletHub list, and Alabama had a strong showing overall. Montgomery ranked one spot behind Mobile and two ahead of Huntsville.

Jacksonville, Fla., landed at No. 1.

Other factors in the rankings included access to financing, corporate taxes, cost of living, real estate affordability and workforce education level.

While business owners are sure to like them, some of the other factors that helped send Montgomery up the list may not be great news for employees.

Cities scored points for low average salaries, long workdays and the number of people looking for jobs.

The data for the study came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, the Kauffman Foundation, the Tax Foundation, LoopNet and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Montgomery didn’t rank in the top 5 in any individual category but scored strongly across the board.

Strange said he hoped the ranking would bring Montgomery to the attention of more entrepreneurs as they start doing research on potential locations.

He pointed to Dexter Avenue, where the city is finishing up a streetscaping project. Developers are purchasing four buildings on one side of the historic street and Foshee Management Company is creating a market district on the opposite side, with loft apartments, retail stores and restaurants.

“You might have somebody who’s looking at lower Dexter as a place to start a boutique bowling place,” Strange said. “Maybe they think, ‘Everybody else is doing it, why not me?’”