Building remains vacant

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Winn Dixie building has been on the market for nearly five years. -- Nicholas Langhorne | Tidewater News

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the first in a series of stories about what’s happening with some of the vacant commercial buildings in Western Tidewater.

FRANKLIN—With competition from Walmart, Farm Fresh and Food Lion, Frank Galleher doesn’t think another grocery store will fill the vacant Winn Dixie building on College Drive in Franklin.

“I just don’t see another grocery user coming into that market down there,” said Galleher, a senior associate with Grubbs & Ellis | Harrison & Bates.

Winn Dixie’s Franklin closed in 2005, and the building has been on the market “probably five years,” Galleher said.

Winn Dixie Raleigh owns the property, according to the Franklin commissioner of the revenue’s office.

Inquiries about the 45,000-square foot building on a 9.12-acre site have been few, Galleher said. The store was built in 1998 and is listed at $1.9 million. Leasing could also be an option, “for the right price,” he said.

“It’s been a slow process just because of the economy and things going on,” Galleher said. “People are just not in the buying mode, unfortunately.”

Although he doesn’t think another grocery store will use the building, Galleher said the building would be a good fit for a sports complex, church or car dealership.

“It’s got a little bit of a drawback because it’s not on Armory Drive, so it’s kind of off the beaten path,” Galleher said.

Rolls Royce is constructing large manufacturing facilities in Prince George County, Galleher said.

“They’re going to be looking for buildings like this across the state, and we’re hoping when that gets completed and they start expanding, maybe Franklin’s going to be an area for them to look at,” he said.

Potential repurposing of the International Paper Co. mill could also make the building attractive to buyers, Galleher said.

“Hopefully, we can do something with this building,” he said.