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Greenville City Council hears proposals for Imperial Tobacco site

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Thursday night’s Greenville City Council meeting brought leaders back to the original vision for the old Imperial Tobacco Warehouse site.

Roger Johnson works in the city managers office and said, “There was some concern about the influx of student housing. We wanted a development that brings professional retail and service jobs into our area.”

Johnson presented council with three private companies looking to add to uptown’s growth.

The proposals ranged from a company looking to buy and build the site upfront to one just looking to partially build an office component.

Johnson said, “They are simply all great potential partners in a great public-private partnership.”

It was the discovery that part of the proposed plans looked to build over a nearly 1.3 million dollar parking lot, set to paved in March, that held council up.

The lot near Dickenson Avenue is contractually obligated to be paved by the city as a part of a previous agreement.

Council member Rick Smiley of district four said, “We have some really good options in front of us and does it require us to be confident and bold and invest in our city, of course, it does.”

Smiley said the plans could be negotiated and asked the council to focus on the big picture.

However, district five’s Will Litchfield felt there were too many uncertainties.

Litchfield said, “The potential for a large capital expenditure by the city and taxpayer and the uncertainty of the potential development.”

Many on the council agreed with Litchfield, citing a decision made back in 2016.

Mayor P.J. Connelly said, “I don’t understand why we would spend 1.3 million dollars and then eventually demo it and build a new complex there and taxpayers are out of 1.3 million dollars.”

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