Last August, the City of Greenville announced a development deal with Westmore Development to bring a new Dollar General Store to the downtown area across the street from City Hall. City Manager Dave Willey says that Dollar General has walked away from that agreement over environmental concerns.
Willey told the council Tuesday night that a phase one environmental study was completed and the results of that study caused Dollar General and Westmore Development to decide not to build on that site. A phase one study does not actually show if environmental problems exist, but does review the history for a piece of land and ascertain if problems are possible. To find out if environmental problems do in fact exist, a phase two study would be needed, but that’s expensive; around $21,000, according to the city.
At this point Willey says that neither Westmore Development nor the property owner, Dust and Sons, has plans to do the phase two study. Mayor Alan Gaffner said he felt the city should pay the $21,000 for the study to be completed out of the downtown TIF District. Councilmen Mike Heath and John Gillard disagreed, saying it was the property owners’ or developers’ expense, and if the study showed problems the city would be out the $21,000 since it could not compel the land owner to clean up any possible problems. Gaffner said that if there are no environmental problems found and the phase two study isn’t done, the property could sit empty for a long time.
It’s not known what Dollar General may do now that the development deal for a new store is done. They could build elsewhere, they could stay in their current dilapidated building, or they could come back to the table and revisit the past agreement. For now there is no agreement in place to build a new Dollar General store in Greenville.