ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Augustine businessman wants to buy the former M & M Market.
The empty building is for sale and sits on the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Bridge Street in the Lincolnville neighborhood of St. Augustine.
Amy Hendrickson has lived in Lincolnville for 10 years and has found memories of the store.
"I bought my first beer there when I was 21," she smiled and said.
She used to live right next door to the market, and remembers there were some bad things that took place there too.
She recalls when the police shut the market down in 2010.
"I watched from the front porch. It was a big deal for this little community," Hendrickson noted.
Charles Williams runs the Casa Yallaha next door. It's a budget inn and hostile. He said, "I was definitely glad to see it shut down."
He remembers when the store owners were arrested for fraud and drug charges.
"We knew there was a drug thing going on over there," Williams said.
For the last two and a half years, the build has been locked up.
"It's an eyesore and a blight to the community. It could be used for a lot better purposes," Williams noted.
Hendrickson said, "We definitely need a store downtown, specifically a mini market that had fresh produce."
That's because there really isn't a grocery store Lincolnville.
Now a St. Augustine businessman, Kaushik Patel is offering the city $345,000 for the property.
In a written statement to the city, he said "Our mission is to renovate the property and its awful reputation it has given this community of Lincolnville." It goes on to say that the plan is to create a "small neighborhood super market," selling produce, dairy products, frozen food, etc, and alcoholic beverages as well, but the beer won't be sold in single cans or bottles.
Williams said "We don't want someone coming in and selling alcohol to the people back here and causing some problems that it did before, hanging out of the corner, loud noises, scaring off of the customers and clients."
Still, Williams said the community needs something positive - such as a market -- to fill this corner.
As for Hendrickson, she thinks a market could be something good for the often overlooked Lincolnville neighborhood.
"It could be awesome! It could be awesome!"
The city of St. Augustine and Patel are working on a deal now.
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First Coast News