By William C. Singleton III
The site of the former Vestavia Hills Public Library will be the home of a new America’s First Federal Credit Union branch.
The city and America’s First recently closed on the sale of 1.6 acres at 1112 Montgomery Highway.
“It is now their property,” said City Manager Jeff Downes.
America’s First will begin demolishing the existing building, which should be razed by the end of the year. The credit institution is expected to begin building its new branch at the start of the year, Downes said. He said there is no need to rezone the property, and the city’s design review committee has already approved designs plans submitted by America’s First.
The City Council at an Oct. 13 meeting voted to finalize an agreement with the credit institution to purchase the former library property. Though the council had approved the sale of the property in May to America’s First for $950,000, the agreement had a due-diligence clause which allowed America’s First 120 days to inspect the site to determine if it would go through with the sale.
After the inspection, America’s First discovered the site needed substantial improvements. According to a site improvement narrative, the site has topography issues and unsuitable soils and subterranean rock which must be removed and replaced with engineered fill. The Alabama Department of Transportation has also mandated road improvements to facilitate the flow of traffic entering and exiting the site. The unexpected costs total about $500,000, Downes said.
America’s First representatives asked the city to reduce its asking price for the property from $950,000 to $850,000.
“To be able to move toward closing, our friends at America’s First asked for some concessions on the sales price,” Downes said. “We have agreed that if we were able to drop the price, America’s First would close their due-diligence period and move to an immediate closing within the next 30 days.”
The transaction between America’s First and the city of Vestavia Hills settles the fate of the former library property, which has remained vacant since the library moved into its new location at 1221 Montgomery Highway in December 2010.
America’s First officials said if all goes according to plan, the branch should open in July.