Retail developers want to open shop in Cullman

By Alan Collins

CULLLMAN, AL (WBRC) -  A multi-million dollar retail center may be coming to Cullman.

Montgomery-based company, Jim Wilson and Associates, wants to build the center. Stores could include Target, Best Buy, and Kohl's. Haley Buckelew shops in downtown Cullman. But if she wants to really shop, she has to it the road.

"I usually go to Birmingham, Decatur or Huntsville," Buckelew said.

Talks have been going on for some time. "We like Cullman. We think it's a great town. It's got a lot of things going for it. Really intrigued us." said Will Wilson, who is the president of Wilson and Associates.

The prospects of a major stores in Cullman excites city officials.

"The potential impact of sales, tax dollars and quality of life  continues to make this a better community,"  said Councilor Garland Gudger.

The project would be bigger if Cullman ever legalizes liquor sales. This would allow Wilson to attract restaurants and grocery stores. The Coalition for a Better Cullman is gathering signatures for a  November referendum.

"It's jobs. We need jobs and we need the tax base. And we are sending a tremendous amount of money out of the city and out of the county."  said Rob Werner of the Coalition for a Better Cullman.

Cullman has rejected past referendums.

"I would prefer Cullman stay dry. It's a special place to raise children. You don't have all the things that go with alcohol sales in a town," Wendy Burks said.  But Wilson says a vote "No" will not kill the project. "We will pursue the development, but it wouldn't be as large.  I know we wouldn't get several restaurants and several of the retailers,"   Wilson said.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.