A lone worker prepares to remove the last of the contents of the former dollar discount store.

The Fred’s store here finally closed  this past week as part of a company-wide effort to rid the chain of what they called underperforming stores.

Within a few days the building was essentially an empty shell.

Although city officials say the loss will leave a hole in the type of retail businesses in the downtown area, they are hoping some good may come from it.

The city has submitted a bid on the building based on  the possibility of using it as offices for the city light, gas and water department, the police department and a municipal courtroom. 

These departments have been overcrowded for some time and aldermen and department heads have been looking for property to build  on.

The realtor representing the building quoted a price of about $700,000 for the building and large parking lot.

The city submitted a bid of $450,000 but Mayor Tim Kent said the company has frozen action of any real estate transactions because of the large amount of store liquidations.

While the Fred’s building would need extensive renovation, officials say it is in a good location and already has plenty of parking and a drive-up window.

Mayor Kent said constructing two new buildings for the two department would cost two to three million dollars each, plus the cost of the land.

Because the building is in the large area designated flood plain on federal maps, a condition of the purchase would be an engineering study to certify it is not a flood risk.

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