Kum & Go offers city $900,000 for portion of former Tyson Mexican Original plant

This map shows the location of the former Tyson Mexican Original plant at Huntsville and Happy Hollow roads in southeast Fayetteville.

Aerial photo: Google

A vacant, dilapidated factory in southeast Fayetteville may soon be torn down to make room for a Kum & Go gasoline station.

The West Des Moines, Iowa-based convenience store chain has offered $900,000 for a portion of the city-owned property once home to a Tyson Mexican Original plant at Huntsville and Happy Hollow roads.

A sign notifying residents of the possible property sale stands in front of the former Tyson Mexican Original plant Monday afternoon.

Todd Gill

The 11.2 acre property was purchased by the city for $1.1 million in 2004. Part of the land was used to build a new fire station and for right-of-way dedications to realign and widen Huntsville Road.

City officials have discussed using the remaining property and factory building for fire, police or other city services. Former Mayor Dan Coody proposed repurposing the plant to become a community arts center, but wasn’t able to gain support for the concept while in office.

To date, the building has only been used for storage and for warehousing of Hurricane Katrina donations.

In a memo sent to City Council members, City Attorney Kit Williams said the building has been vandalized and stripped of its valuable metals by thieves. Williams said police are frequently called to the site for ongoing problems and safety issues.

Demolishing the building, he said, is something the mayor and several aldermen have recently suggested in an effort to rid the intersection of an eyesore and to ensure the property is eventually attractively developed.

If the sale is approved, Kum & Go will take 1.87 acres on the east side of the remaining 10-acre property and will split the cost of any required street improvements with the city. The company has also agreed to pay up to $100,000 of the estimated $475,000 it will cost to demolish the building.

Williams said the city would then be able to sell a “very commercially viable” street-facing, two-acre lot and keep the remaining 4.7 acres for city use.

Kum & Go currently operates 15 stores in Northwest Arkansas and 37 across the state, according to the company’s website. The Huntsville Road store would join locations on North College Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to become the third Kum & Go store in Fayetteville.

Aldermen are set to consider selling the property at the next regular City Council meeting on Jan. 15.