Arnold Commons Retail Space, Metal Container Corp. Bonds Advance

City Council voted unanimously to OK both projects.

Arnold City Council on Thursday unanimously approved measures that will advance two business developments.

In a 6-0 vote, the council OK’d zoning of a 25,000-square-foot building for retail use next to PetSmart in Arnold Commons. The planning commission had previously voted 10-0 to go forward with the project. A single company will operate in the space.

Community Development Director Mary Holden and THF Realty representative Mike Neary said further details are confidential. When asked, Holden said the business will be a soft goods store.

The council also took action on a project of a much larger scale.

Members voted 6-0 to issue the bonds that will help finance the expansion of Metal Container Corporation. Mayor Ron Counts announced Tuesday that Anheuser-Busch InBev has decided to invest in an $80 million, 100,000-square-foot expansion to the Arnold facility.

Jason Terry, a representative of the law firm Gilmore Bell, explained that Thursday night’s action authorizes his firm to prepare the necessary documents. Bonds will be ready in 30 to 60 days, he said.

Metal Container Corporation plant manager Dan Brown said an air permit, submitted to the state on Tuesday, needs to come back positive before anything can be done. That could take six to nine months.

“Nothing can happen until the air permit is approved,” Brown said. “That drives our next step. We’ll have everything prepped, ready to go. When that air permit comes in approved, we’ll break ground.”

Councilman Phil Amato said he has received a lot of calls from people in the construction business who are excited about the new work.

“They’ve been unemployed for a long time,” Amato said. “They’re hoping this project will be something to put bread on the table for local people again. It’s been a tough economy for everybody.”

Amato said that when Arnold celebrated its 30th anniversary, the city arranged for Anheuser-Busch's Clydesdales to participate in its parade. He asked if that could happen again this September to celebrate the new construction.

“What a celebration that would be,” Amato said. “About the time the September parade comes in, your project would be underway. It would be a celebration for everybody, for the partnership we’ve had for such a long time.”

He said he knows it takes months to get the Clydesdales unless a World Series is involved.

“This is about as equivalent to a World Series as we’re going to get in this community,” he said.


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