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Conecuh Ridge to propose design plans for facility

Conecuh Ridge Distillery will now have 180 days to draft design and layout proposals for Troy officials as both sides continue work to open the business in the city.

“They informed us in writing late yesterday afternoon that they wanted to proceed,” said Mayor Jason Reeves. “In turn, we informed the property owner in writing today of our intention to proceed and put down earnest money on the property.”

Reeves said the notice to proceed from the company is the next step in a long process to bring the project through to fruition.

The council first announced their recruitment of the distillery, producer of Clyde May’s Alabama-style whiskey, in September 2017. The city offered over $3 million in incentives over the next 10 years to persuade the company to locate in Troy, in return for a commitment from the company to invest over $13.5 million into the economy and employ 50 people.

The city has already borrowed $1.7 million to purchase the property and a portion that was outside the city limits has already been annexed. Since that September a year ago, Reeves said Conecuh Ridge officials have been completing due diligence on their end to ensure the project was still feasible.

“They were doing their due diligence in regards to environmental concerns, market concerns – they were finalizing and checking the viability of the project in all of the different ways you could imagine,” Reeves said.

Now that that phase is complete, Reeves said Conecuh Ridge officials will be working to produce designs and layouts for the facility.

“They have 180 days to forward to us their plans in regards to the property so there can be approval of those plans,” Reeves said. “It would be their complete proposal to build this structure here. It might not be complete building plans and drawings yet, but they would give us their conceptual design … Conecuh Ridge’s vision for the property is what they’ll be putting together getting to us over next six months.”

The deadline for the city to close the deal on the property is April 10, 2019, although Reeves said it could be closed on earlier if the complete proposal is sent to the city earlier by Conecuh Ridge officials.

At some point, the property will still need to be rezoned to allow the use of the distillery.

Reeves said the current property owner, Conecuh Ridge officials and city officials will all be working together on that and it could be done at any stage of the preparation before construction.

“It could be rezoned before the city purchases the land, while it is under the city’s control or after it has been transferred to Conecuh Ridge,” Reeves said.

Once the rezoning has been taken care of and the property transferred, Reeves said expects construction to take somewhere between a year and 18 months to be completed.