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Old Kmart plaza sold

The old Kmart plaza on Russ Avenue has suddenly become a hotbed of activity. The old Kmart plaza on Russ Avenue has suddenly become a hotbed of activity. Haywood GIS photo

Less than two weeks after a story in The Smoky Mountain News revealed that a real estate marketing flyer along with correspondence between the town of Waynesville and Aldi indicated that the German grocer was eyeing a spot in the old Kmart plaza on Russ Avenue, the plaza has found a new owner.

According to documents from the Haywood County Register of Deeds, the 17-acre plaza parcel was sold by its owner, a Delaware LLC called PCF-Waynesville, to a North Carolina company called Russ Avenue Plaza LLC on May 10.

A special warranty deed lists the excise taxes paid as $29,404. Although a sale price isn’t referenced in the documents, excise taxes currently run at $2 per $1,000, so by extrapolation that would translate to a sale price of about $14.7 million.

The new owner, Russ Avenue Plaza, is an LLC that was created on April 24, according to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s business records website. The LLC’s members aren’t listed, but the registered agent is — Daniel E. Hitchcock, of Asheville law firm Hildebran Hitchcock.

According to the firm’s website, Hitchcock’s practice focuses on commercial real estate and business transactions, including land acquisitions.

Hitchcock is also listed as the registered agent for another North Carolina company, Hazelwood Corners Inc., which since 2020 has acquired most of the parcels across the street from the Ingles location on Brown Avenue.

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Those parcels are located on a triangular piece of land bordered by Hemlock Street, South Main Street, Brown Avenue and Lea Plant Road.

Hitchcock’s name didn’t initially come up in a search for other companies he serves as a registered agent because it’s misspelled on the state’s website as “Hitchcook.”

Aldi still hasn’t made any formal announcement on a possible Waynesville location, and it’s not known if or how the recent sale of the plaza could affect any potential plans for an Aldi location in the plaza.

Calabasas, California-based Harbor Freight Tools recently opened a location at the north end of the plaza, and a flyer from a Charlotte commercial real estate firm says that the standalone Advance Auto Parts store located on the parcel will soon move out of that building and into the larger space adjacent to Harbor Freight.

When reached for comment, Hitchcock said he was simply the LLC's registered agent, and that he'd forwarded SMN's inquiry to the appropriate parties.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as they become available.

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