Shopping center saved from foreclosure

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Plaza under new ownership

By Nathan L. McBroom

A local investor recently saved a Simpsonville shopping center from the foreclosure chopping block.

When Dan Ison was notified that the Town Center Plaza on Buck Creek Road had fallen into foreclosure, he knew he had to act and act fast.

"I just couldn't stand the thought of this place going under," he said. "Our community would be hurt by having a vacant, boarded-up storefront on the main road into the heart of the city."

Ison said the plaza is vital to the life of the community because "it provides all of the basic needs of local families."

General Land Development previously owned the plaza, which is home to JT’s Pizza and Subs, Smith-McKenney Drug Co., Shelby Bingo Plus, Meyers Cleaners and a medical office.

Despite the plaza's being fully occupied, its owners fell behind in their payments to the bank. The factors that led to the property going into foreclosure are not presently known.

If Ison hadn’t bought the property, the businesses there would have had to relocate or close.

That would have not only been a hardship of the businesses and their owners, but it would have also put an added strain on the city of Simpsonville, which receives property and occupational taxes from the businesses.

The plaza’s financial troubles have become increasingly common locally.

This year in Shelby County close to 200 properties have been foreclosed as national economy continues to sour. And local experts don’t expect to see that trend slowing down until late next year.

And though much of the economy is currently volatile, Lee Webb of Alton Webb Associates said Ison’s investment was a sound decision.

“Shelby County remains a great place to invest – in the short-term and the long-term,” he said. “The pieces for growth are all right here.”

Webb, whose company helped Ison secure funds for the investment, said Shelby County has been sheltered from much of the national financial turmoil because of its location between Louisville and Lexington and strong industry.

He said the investment is beneficial to Ison and to the community.

Ron McClish, a pharmacist with Smith-McKenney, said he is to have Ison as a landlord.

"We're just glad that he is a local resident," he said. "He seems to be positive about the future.”