Huntsville land development upsets tenants

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:34 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Several small business owners in Huntsville are frustrated about their rent going up dramatically, and eviction notices being sent, all to make a deal with the city of Huntsville.

We’re talking about the area known as Builders Square, on North Memorial Parkway.

It’s the area the City of Huntsville is purchasing, and a portion will be used for the Huntsville City School District. Some of the tenants feel like they’re being bullied, and they’re also getting left in the dark, while the prices they have to pay for rent continue to go up.

Sherri Parker Chapman is the owner of Sanford and Sisters Salvage, its liquidations center with more than 5 million items for you to buy.

She had a handshake agreement with the landlord and owner of this property Keith Sharp.

Less than two weeks ago she says she received an email from him that still has her confused.

“We agreed to $5,000 a month and then on July 1st of this year, I received an email saying that my rent has gone from $5,000 to $35,000 a month. I am just shocked,” said Chapman.

It’s a price she says she can’t pay and she thinks she’s being bullied.

“It would put me out of business totally, it’s just ludicrous,” said Chapman.

Her next-door neighbor in the Strip mall has also received news from the owner that he’s not happy with.

“He’s trying to evict us. We’ve got three more years here we don’t really know where we’re going to go but with the landlord is doing we don’t feel is right,” said Donald Coleman.

Coleman is the owner of Big Bob’s Flooring. He says he has never missed a payment and there are no justifiable reasons for him to be evicted.

“With this eviction process, we are going to fight it. We don’t feel like he has a good cause to evict us. We feel like this is just a ploy to get us out of the building and not compensate us. We have hired a lawyer and we are moving forward,” said Coleman.

At the center of this controversy, is the fact the City of Huntsville has a purchase agreement to buy the strip mall and the large plot of land it’s on, and use some of the property for the Huntsville City School District’s new office.

The landlord Mr. Sharp returned my call and says he can’t discuss specific rental rates, but he did say the rates are competitive for our growing market.

He says he is ready to close with the city on the property, but he is still waiting to hear from the city about an actual closing date.

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