IM offered $175K for future site of Dollar Store

IRON MOUNTAIN — City officials have reached an agreement with a developer to sell a slice of the former Khoury Inc. manufacturing site for $175,000 for a new Dollar General store.

The amount is less than the $190,000 the city had hoped to get for the roughly 1.5-acre section of frontage at U.S. 2 and Blaine Street, City Manager Jordan Stanchina told the Iron Mountain City Council on Monday.

But the proposed purchase agreement with Overland Group LLC of Birmingham, Ala., also requires some extra aesthetic touches on the building, beyond the usual Dollar General store, “to give it that more historic look,” Stanchina said.

That should help preserve the value on the rest of the property, he said, adding the area likely has space for two more businesses.

The council set a public hearing on the proposed sale for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7.

Mayor Dale Alessandrini acknowledged some members of the public have criticized the move, saying the community doesn’t need another dollar-type store and should pursue a higher-end retailer.

But he noted that since the 10.724 acres at 1010 N. Stephenson Ave. became city property — first sold by Khoury to the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority for $875,000 in 2007, then retained by the city in 2012 after TIFA dissolved — this is the first serious interest.

“We’ve had that property 10 years and we haven’t had one bite on it,” Alessandrini said.

Retailers look for what fits the demographics, Stanchina said, and Iron Mountain lacks the population to sustain some of the stores people have suggested they’d like to see here.

In other business, the council also will consider whether it should add a franchise fee for Charter Communications cable customers.

The city’s 10-year franchise agreement with Charter for use of right-of-way has expired and needs to be renewed, Stanchina said. The municipality can charge a franchise fee of up to 5 percent of Charter’s gross revenues, a cost that normally is passed directly on to consumers.

That made the fee very unpopular when tried with a previous 10-year Charter contract, Alessandrini said, and it was dropped after only a couple years.

But that money went into the general fund. This time, Stanchina has suggested a 2 percent fee that would raise about $18,000 be dedicated to alley improvements.

He plans to have more details on how that might work at the next council meeting.

The city will seek bids for garbage collection services, as the current three-year contract with Great American Disposal is set to expire Sept. 15. While GAD “has provided excellent garbage collection services with minimal complaints” since 2004, the city is required to open the contract to competitive bid, Stanchina said.

The city paid $231,627.80 for 2,773 tons of trash collected in 2016, Stanchina said. Bids will be due Aug. 7.

Other companies have shown interest in Iron Mountain but wanted to take residential garbage out of Dickinson County, which is prohibited under the county’s Solid Waste Plan that mandates using the county transfer station.

Betsy Bloom can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 40, or