Officials in Northport voted Monday to enter into a relatively small public-private partnership to draw a "new-to-market National Coffee Tenant" to Lurleen Wallace Boulevard.

In agendas provided ahead of Monday night's regular twice-monthly council meeting, the city set Monday as a public hearing to consider authorizing a Project Development Agreement between the City and a new company called RJ Lurleen, LLC.

The agreement is to incentivize the development of the new coffee shop at 1120 Lurleen Wallace Boulevard, currently undeveloped property near where Park Street takes motorists from the highway to the just-reopened Northport Community Center.

It's the same site where former Northport council president Jeff Hogg said a Seven Brew would be built, only to later claim without evidence that the deal fell through because some residents opposed demolishing the aforementioned community center to make way for an entirely unrelated development.

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According to the draft resolution, the coffee shop is a nearly $2 million development expected to "generate significant annual taxable sales and the creation of full and part-time jobs, many of which may be filled by residents of the city."

The proposed partnership does not provide any up-front cash for the development, but would rebate 50 percent of the city sales tax collected by the new coffee shop for seven years or until they rebated $350,000 - whichever milestone comes first.

Such incentives are authorized by Alabama law commonly referred to as "Amendment 772," although that verbiage technically became outdated when Alabama ratified an updated state constitution in 2022.

These tax rebate agreements are particularly popular with local politicians because they do not require municipalities to spend any cash to attract development - they only give back some of the future taxes generated on a site that typically is not creating any revenue at all when the deals are inked.

The resolution does not name which coffee shop the city is aiming to draw, but city council president Christy Bobo, who also represents District 1 where the development is proposed, said the plan has been in the works for some time. 

"We are excited for the potential development of a new-to-market National Coffee tenant for District 1 in Northport. Former President [Jeff] Hogg and I worked diligently on terms to attract the right tenant to Northport through the retail development committee for quite some time," Bobo told the Thread. "It is always encouraging to work together to put an idea in place for submission to the council for consideration when it carries such significant importance for potential economic development, increasing the city's tax and revenue base. I am thankful for the support of our staff, Mayor, and Council in the term negotiations and look forward to the promise of a bright future of the growth that our city has asked for, for such a long time."

UPDATE: The council unanimously approved the incentive Monday night.

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