Council approved an $11,861 abatement for Republic Property Company of Atlanta and its 210,000 square-foot-warehouse. After sitting vacant for more than two years, the location in Jiles Commerce Park off Jiles Road recently attracted Fabric.com, a web retailer that sells fabrics, patterns sewing tools and accessories. Fabric.com, which was purchased by Amazon.com in 2008, relocated last month from a 56,000-square-foot facility off Northwest Parkway near Dave & Buster’s in Marietta.
Kennesaw Economic Development Director Bob Fox said Republic spent $2.9 million renovating the building to prepare it for Fabric.com, which has agreed to an eight-year lease.
“This particular incentive was really in support of Republic Property,” Fox said.
Fabric.com is starting with around 200 employees in Kennesaw, and is expected to grow to 250 within two years, Fox said.
Fox said Republic is not having its property taxes or business license fees lowered.
The Kennesaw Development Authority is already paying $50,000 to land Fabric.com, with one installment coming this fall, and the rest in fall 2013. Fox said development authority funds are independent of the city. Republic sought another $50,000 from the Development Authority of Cobb County, but the deal came under fire after board members expressed concerns that they weren’t being properly notified of the incentives.
Mayor Mark Mathews said he was thrilled to have a tenant in the building, which has been vacant since it was built just as the economy crashed.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “If you go by there, the parking lot is full.”
Ailing Councilman Bill Thrash didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting. Councilman Jeff Duckett asked those in attendance to pray for Thrash.
Before council voted 3-1 to award a $282,035 contract for sidewalk improvements to Baldwin Paving Company of Marietta, Mayor Mark Mathews gave the company’s vice president a tongue-lashing for the way the company handled the first phase of Jiles Road improvements last year, saying residents had a number of delays and other problems with Baldwin.
“Some as ridiculous as blocking the entrance to a church on Sunday morning,” Mathews said.
City Manager Steve Kennedy said Baldwin appeared to be focused more on larger projects that would cost a higher penalty if they weren’t finished on time.
Baldwin’s Mike Demery said he never heard of any complaints from the city until last week.
“We’re a fairly large company, we do $100 million a year and we have a lot of crews,” he said. “I wish somebody would have called me so we could talk about these issues instead of hearing about it a year later.”
Councilman Bruce Jenkins, the only council member to vote against the agreement, said past history with Baldwin should have disqualified the company. He was particularly disturbed because it blocked the entrance to Shiloh United Methodist Church.
“It was very frustrating to the congregation,” Jenkins said. “There was no notice. No one said, ‘Oh, by the way…’ ”
The project approved Tuesday will build an 800-foot-long, eight-foot-wide sidewalk along Sardis Street from the intersection with Big Shanty Road to South Main Street. Baldwin’s bid was lower than Pinnacle International Inc. of Atlanta’s bid of $286,882 and the bid of $331,276 from Tri-Scapes Inc. of Alpharetta.
Also by a 3-1 vote, council approved an amendment to the city’s code of ordinances that will allow for the sale and refilling of growlers, reusable beer bottles shaped like moonshine jugs. City finance director Gina Auld said the ordinance requires that sellers properly sanitize the bottles, and that anyone who handles or serves the growlers has a city server’s license. Growlers cannot hold more than 64 ounces of alcohol, the equivalent of a six pack.
Councilman Tim Killingsworth opposed the change, saying he still has concerns about the bottles being cleaned properly. He also felt that allowing growler stores could move the city away from its family friendly environment.
Customers fill their growler with beer from a selection of taps. They return the bottle to the store to refill it once they finish drinking it.
Jenkins said he sees the law as simply adding a new way for beer to be sold.
“There are several different types of containers, aluminum cans, bottles, mini-kegs and large kegs,” he said. “This is just another type of packaging option.”
No one spoke at a public hearing on the city’s budget for fiscal year 2012-13, which starts Oct. 1. Auld said the proposed general fund budget of $19.1 million was a 7 percent increase over the current budget of $17.8 million. The council will have another public hearing at its Sept. 17 meeting.