The Gainesville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase 41 acres of property from Koch Foods in Gainesville Industrial Park West after the poultry company never developed the land according to contract.
Koch bought the land from the city in 2006, under the condition that the company would start work on the property within two years of the purchase and finish building within one year of starting. Over the next few years, the city granted Koch four extensions, giving them extra time to start developing.
The final extension, which Koch got in 2013, gave the company an extension until August 2014. The company never developed the land.
Then, in July, the city filed a lawsuit against Koch in the Hall County Superior Court, claiming a breach of the real estate contract.
The city is using $1.8 million from the economic development fund to buy the land. Most of the money in that fund comes from land sales. Gainesville sold it to Koch in 2006 for $1.6 million, but the company made some improvements to the land that slightly increased its value.
City Manager Bryan Lackey said the city will work with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce to find a new company for the site. The land should not have to stay in the city’s hands for long, he said.
“This is 41 acres, so there’s not a lot of property out there like that, especially in that good of a location,” Lackey said. “…We’re very excited about the possibilities of that site.”