by Sam Hieb
Anyone paying attention has known the whole time has known that the deal involving former Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston to renovate the former Bessemer Shopping Center “is inherently flawed,” as Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins put it. Now — imagine this —as the rubber hits the road, the wheels are coming off.
What jumps out at me are Perkins’ comments:
Perkins, who works in commercial real estate, on Wednesday suggested cutting the nonprofit out of the deal. He deemed the co-op’s chance for success in the shopping center “minimal.” He said that letting developers bring in a privately run grocery makes more sense.
“We need to find a way to make it work instead of structuring something that makes everybody happy but is not going to successful,” Perkins said.
Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember Perkins being this direct during debate and discussion of the deal over the course of two council meetings. If anything, Perkins seemed uncharacteristically flustered as the council attempted in vain to has out the details of the deal.
Not that at would make any difference –had Perkins been blunt, he still would have voted to turn the project over to Alston, who now says the space for the grocery co-op in the former Winn-Dixie space is “as is,” meaning the nonprofit has to do the interior work themselves. The nonprof begs to differ. How the final vote to seal the deal will go —considering conflict of interest issues surrounding council member Jim Kee — is anyone’s guess.