At a special meeting held last Friday, the Macon County Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) board voted in favor of keeping its ABC store at its current location in Franklin.
The vote stemmed from the fact that that the town’s $1.25 million loan application to purchase a new ABC store was denied. As a result, the town decided to stop pursuing the purchase of the property, leaving the ABC board to decide on whether the current store would remain at Macon Plaza, or be leased at another location.
The 7:30 a.m. meeting was brief and members Russell Bowling, Pat Pattillo and Wayne Swank quickly got down to business with store manager Todd Mason.
Mason explained that the current lease, set to expire at the end of November, has been in place for five years. The store itself has been located at its current location for approximately 18 years.
The new lease, set for a three-year term, will see a rate increase of 10 percent to the store’s base rent—an increase which initially led ABC members and some town officials to seek the purchase of a new property in the name of long term fiscal savings last December.
According to Mason, since the board began looking at relocating, he was assured by a member of the plaza’s management firm, Brixmor Properties, that the group would consider avoiding the rate increase. However on July 25, Mason said he received a telephone call by the group indicating that they would remain firm on the increase.
“It’s going to throw everything in the neighborhood of $6,800 [monthly],” said Mason, accounting for store maintenance, insurance fees and other expenses. Prior to the increase, the store was paying approximately $6,200 a month.
Bowling remarked that “it would be nice” if the shopping plaza management firm, Bricksmore, would continue its current lease rate due to the many years the store had been there.
The board quickly came to a consensus that the current location would suffice, due largely to the small amount of time left on the lease, and despite the increase in base rent.
“Being that the financing didn’t go through with the town, I would like to make this motion that we stay where we are for the next three years,” said Pattillo, consenting to the increase. “This will give us time to explore other options. It will give us time so that we won’t be pressed like we are right now.”
“We need, obviously, to get something going,” said board newcomer Wayne Swank, who seconded the motion. “The sooner the better.”
Given the amount of time the board had to examine other store locations, Bowling concurred, citing the current location as “the most cost effective.”
The motion passed unanimously.