ANDERSON — City leaders continued their efforts this past week to attract retailers to the former Edgewood Plaza area.
Critical to the development of the Nichol Avenue corridor at the intersection with Raible Avenue is a resolution to an environmental problem at the former Speedway station.
The city has several options, including obtaining ownership of the property and mediating any contamination.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr., David Eicks, chairman of the Anderson Board of Public Works, and Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, recently attended a national conference of retailers and developers in Las Vegas.
A study done by Buxton Co. identified 20 potential national retail companies that could consider a location in the Edgewood Plaza area.
That study found the location would be suitable for restaurants, clothing, hardware, pet supply and grocery stores.
Winkler said a site plan created by local architect Mike Montgomery is drawing some interest from developers and retailers.
“There is interest from a number of different developers, and more encouraging is interest from end users,” he said. “Some of the interest is from companies identified in the Buxton study.”
Broderick said the Anderson delegation met with 10 different retailers and three potential developers during the trip.
“I am optimistic,” he said of any potential development. “While we understand the redevelopment of this area will be likely in incremental steps, we believe that the potential for meaningful new developments exists.”
Winkler said the trip was as productive as it could be.
“The conference included all the companies that have brick-and-mortar stores, names that everyone would be familiar with," he said.
Broderick said several of the companies expressed interest and presented their own thoughts on how to proceed in the area.
“We are sending additional information to some of our contacts and our economic development department will be doing follow-up,” he said. “We had some of those interested state they would make arrangements for personal site visits.”
Winkler said the delegation met with twice as many retailers as planned for during the trip.
“There was good interest,” he said. “One retailer has already visited the site, two more are planning trips and a third was familiar with the area.
“One retailer felt the area could be a successful location for one of their stores,” Winkler added. “The key is an anchor store, and I think we have one that is interested.”
Broderick said city officials were forthright during their presentations regarding the former Speedway property.
“We explained in detail the history and our plans to expedite remediation of the former Speedway site,” he said. “They all seemed satisfied with our present and renewed efforts for the area.”
The local officials met with other companies during the trip that had not been scheduled beforehand.
“We found interest by some and both sides agreed to follow up with additional information and discussion,” he said.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.