Purchaser of BancorpSouth property willing to consider constructing town buildings on it

The purchaser of vacant property formerly owned by BancorpSouth has expressed a willingness to consider constructing Oakland town buildings on it.
The property, which consists of 9.12 acres, is located at 7355 Highway 64 adjacent to Kroger.
At the Oct. 15 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Mayor Chris Goodman said the property was purchased during the previous week.
He noted that the new owner has “reached out” to him and is “not opposed” to talking to the board about construction possibilities.
“So, if this board is interested, I’ll be glad to get more details and pass them to you,” the mayor said. “And then, potentially, have him come to a meeting and discuss it further with you.”
Goodman has said the property was initially prepared for a development.
“Then, the economy crashed, and the developer went bankrupt,” he recalled. “So, it went back to BancorpSouth.”
Alderman Billy Ray Morris has noted that the property could be a future location for Oakland Town Hall, as well as the police and fire departments.
In response to a question by Alderman John Troncone, the mayor said placing town buildings on the property would be “configured as lease/purchase.”
“We would sign a lease/purchase agreement that, at the end of 20 years or whatever, we’d pay off the balance and accept the property,” he noted. “Of course, all those terms and conditions would have to be worked out.”
Alderman Kelly Rector said he would like to see “some sort of proposal” of what would be agreeable to the new owner. Goodman said he would communicate that to him and attempt to obtain that information.
At its Sept. 17 meeting, the board voted to pursue the possibility of purchasing the property. That action was taken by a 3-1 vote, with Alderman Karl Chambless dissenting.
The mayor said that, if the board bought the property, it would be losing tax dollars from any business that might locate there. He also expressed concern about constructing a new Town Hall on the “busiest road in the heart” of Oakland.
Goodman noted that he had been “contacted twice” about the Mullins property, which is located next-door to the existing Town Hall.
“If we’re looking at creating a Master Plan,” he said, “we really need to think about how we’re laying things out and where we’re putting them.”
Rector said it is his understanding that there are “plenty of grants” available to construct a Town Hall, police or fire department, but they are only awarded for undeveloped property.
And although he considers a vacant piece of property the “best way to go,” he has expressed uncertainty that this is the “right” property.
Chambless cited the 17 acres on Chickasaw Ridge Drive that are currently owned by the town. He also said many grants that might be suitable are “mandated” by whether the town would qualify for them based on its “income levels.”