SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Members of Hutton Team LLC made a short, one-hour flight from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Sylacauga on Thursday morning to officially break ground on the 33-acre tract on U.S. Hwy. 280 that will be the future home of a new shopping center.

As many have noticed, work has been underway on the 150,000 sq. ft. site since the deal between Hutton and the City of Sylacauga was finalized on June 6.

Many tenant names were expected to be announced at Thursday’s ceremony, but Development Partner for Hutton’s Shopping Center Team Jamey Flegal said not all could be immediately made public. He did, however, confirm three initial stores, two of which are the shopping center’s anchor retailers.

Flegal said T.J.-Maxx and Hobby Lobby will serve as the anchor stores, and pet store Petsense will also be a part of the development. While he could not go into detail about other possible tenants, he said multiple restaurants and other popular retailers are in the mix.

While delivering a speech to the big crowd, Flegal said he fully expects to hand over building spaces to tenants starting February 2018 with stores opening in March 2018.

“I want to thank the City of Sylacauga, and everyone who has been a part of this from the beginning,” Flegal said. Flegal especially thanked the prior city council for its work in the process. “Thanks for your belief in (Hutton) and your belief in the types of tenants we plan to bring to this city.”

“This development is the grassroots of what our company believes in,” said Karen Hutton, CEO of Hutton. “We go to communities to drive more focus to these areas. We want to keep the people here and the dollars here in Sylacauga. We have one of the best teams in the country, and we have enjoyed working with everyone throughout the process.”

Mayor Jim Heigl welcomes Karen Hutton, Hutton Team LLC CEO, to Sylacauga

“This new Marble City Square development partnership is important to Sylacauga in that it puts prime property that had long been empty and vacant to work,” said current Sylacauga city council president Lee Perryman. “Rather than sitting empty and generating no property tax revenue for the city or county and no sales tax revenue, we will soon welcome a new retail shopping center that will make Sylacauga a new type of destination for our trading area, drawing shoppers from Talladega, Shelby, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Clay, St. Clair, and even Elmore Counties – people who will spend money here – and, as a magnet, also create revenue opportunities for other area businesses. It will also directly create perhaps hundreds of jobs – more money to be spent, and to also generate revenue not just on this site but for other local businesses.”

Mayor Jim Heigl is excited about the groundbreaking, and Thursday morning’s rain did not dampen his mood. He explained he signed the very last piece of paperwork Wednesday night in order to make the groundbreaking ceremony happen on time. “This is one of the best days in Sylacauga history. This has been a very long process. This is our future. This is something Sylacauga needs.”

“The biggest winners of this project are the local schools,” Flegal explained. He said the retail center will produce nearly $300,000 of tax revenue in the first year of operation. Other factors for potential revenue were not available. “Keeping the dollars in the community is great, but because so much money will be generated by taxes, the schools will be the biggest beneficiary of this development.”

Chattanooga-based Hutton Team LLC, founded in 1994, specializes in construction and leasing of single-and multi-tenant grocery stores and shopping centers nationwide and has completed more than 200 owned and managed developments encompassing more than 10 million square feet across almost 1,000 locations in 37 states.

U.S. Highway 280 through Sylacauga is a heavily-trafficked route connecting the Auburn-Opelika area to Birmingham. According to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, based on 2010 Census information, 224,220 people live within 30 miles of the Marble City.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.