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  #81  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2007, 1:18 AM
nimsjus nimsjus is offline
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I emailed my( actually my parents since I am in college in Auburn) coucilman, Connie Hudson, over the summer about it. She said the work would begin very soon and they were finishing up fund raising, exhibit design, etc. Soon after our congressmen pretty much brought the project to a hault when they begin to try to have somesort of national hurricane center included in the museum. Now it is stuck until they decide if they will include that center, which is tied up in congress.
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  #82  
Old Posted Mar 6, 2007, 1:53 PM
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This sheds some light on the Cancer center mentioned earlier... Not M.D. Anderson but still a positive none the less.
New cancer center coming to Daphne
Tuesday, March 06, 2007By PENELOPE McCLENNYStaff Reporter
A new cancer center planned for the Daphne area will include doctors linked with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center but will not be managed directly by the center, according to real estate agents handling the land sale and an M.D. Anderson spokesman.

David Morris and Joe Courtney of Courtney & Morris Appraisals Inc. originally said Atlanta developer Easlan Capital had purchased 20 acres just above Baldwin County 13 and U.S. 90 for $1.6 million with plans to build an M.D. Anderson cancer center.

The center is actually being planned by a group of oncologists linked to Providence Hospital, which is part of Anderson's Physicians Network, Courtney said.

"I've seen the plans. The plans are very, very impressive," Courtney said.

Last year, Providence announced a partnership with the Houston-based M.D. Anderson center, one of the nation's original three Comprehensive Cancer Centers designated by the National Cancer Act of 1971.

As part of that partnership, some physicians associated with the hospital are evaluated by M.D. Anderson and submitted to a credentialing process. Those who are approved become part of the Physicians Network, meaning their treatments are in line with the center's, and it gives them access to M.D. Anderson resources.

Among those doctors are several physicians with Sacred Heart Medical Oncology, which has locations at Providence Hospital Cancer Center and near the Timber Creek residential area in Daphne. Five of the physicians within the practice are listed as part of M.D. Anderson's Physicians Network at Providence on the center's Web site.

Dr. Michael Meshad, who is also part of the practice but is not listed on the Web site as part of the Physicians Network, also has ties to the developer that made the land purchase, Easlan Capital.

His son, Matt Meshad, works with Easlan Capital. Contacted by phone, Matt Meshad referred questions about the project to the administrator for the Daphne oncology office, who referred calls to Providence Hospital.

Contacted by the Press-Register, however, Providence officials denied any plans for a hospital-affiliated center in Daphne.

We do not have any definite plans at this time to construct a new cancer center in Baldwin County," said hospital spokesman Michael King.

King did say that through its partnership with M.D. Anderson, several of the hospital's physicians are now linked to the center.

"Medical Oncology group over there (in Daphne) has been long associated with Providence," King said of the group's Eastern Shore office. "Their relationship with M.D. Anderson's Physicians Network is part of our relationship with M.D. Anderson."

When asked about the property purchase, King said the hospital had no comment.

A spokesman for M.D. Anderson in Houston said the center had no information about a location in Baldwin County.

The potential Baldwin cancer center project is just one of several announced over the last couple of years that have increased the cancer treatment options in the Mobile area.

In addition to Providence's partnership with M.D. Anderson, in 2004 the University of South Alabama began accepting patient inquiries for a planned cancer center.

Doctors affiliated with that center began seeing patients later that year, and the facility's permanent home is expected to be completed by early 2008 with a total of 175 staff members.
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  #83  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2007, 1:11 PM
nimsjus nimsjus is offline
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ThyssenKrupp realeased a website about the project that Mobile may land.
www.thyssenkruppnewusplant.com
The article about the new site and the website for the project is here:
http://www.al.com/news/press-registe...630.xml&coll=3
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  #84  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2007, 1:12 PM
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Also a little more on the cancer center
Cancer center details revealed
Doctors tied in with M.D. Anderson oncology organization to open comprehensive care facility Friday, March 09, 2007By PENELOPE McCLENNYStaff Reporter
A group of cancer doctors who broke away from a Pensacola-based health system to form their own practice have released more details about a cancer facility planned for Baldwin County.

The oncologists' group, formerly operating as Sacred Heart Medical Oncology, struck out on its own last weekend and changed its name to Southern Cancer Center P.C., said Theresa Brown McLaughlin, executive vice president of the new entity.

The group operates three clinics, one at Providence Hospital, one on Dauphin Street in midtown Mobile and in the Timber Creek neighborhood of Daphne. It also will begin providing services in Monroeville next month, McLaughlin said.

On Thursday, McLaughlin expanded on previously reported plans for the largest of the group's projects, a joint venture with Atlanta-based developers Easlan Capital to build a comprehensive cancer-care center on property purchased in Malbis near Baldwin County 13 and U.S. 90. That center is set to open in early 2008.

"It's going to be a state-of-the-art facility," McLaughlin said.

Word of the recent Malbis purchase spurred talk locally about the future opening of a Baldwin facility with ties to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

While the new facility is not a project of the renowned center in Houston, seven of the Southern Cancer doctors are part of the M.D. Anderson Physicians Network.

Doctors undergo a months-long credentials process to become included in the network and receive access to M.D. Anderson's research and treatment procedures for patients.

They can consult M.D. Anderson specialists, for instance, on difficult cases, and the network link creates an easier pathway for patients to travel to the Houston center if necessary, McLaughlin said. "We think that is a huge benefit," she said. "There are some surgeries that we just don't have the volume or the expertise locally to get the best outcome, so they are sent to Anderson."

In July, Providence Hospital in Mobile announced a partnership with M.D. Anderson, and the Physicians Network is a component of that agreement.

The Southern Cancer physicians broke away from the Sacred Heart system to have more autonomy in making decisions for their practice, McLaughlin said.

The newly formed practice will include several features that weren't available under the previous structure, she said, including on-site laboratory testing, on-site pharmacy services, an electronic medical records system and a centralized call center in which patients will always be able to speak to someone.

The plans for the new Malbis facility mark the latest in a string of cancer-treatment endeavors in the Mobile area over the past couple of years.

In addition to Providence's partnership with M.D. Anderson, the University of South Alabama opened a cancer center several years ago with the goal of becoming a federally designated center.
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  #85  
Old Posted Mar 10, 2007, 1:22 PM
nimsjus nimsjus is offline
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More good news for Mobile. Does anyone think this affects the ThyssonKrupp(sp?) positively or negatively?
Pipe company picks Mobile for $75 million plant
Saturday, March 10, 2007By KAIJA WILKINSONBusiness Reporter
Berg Steel Pipe Corp. has chosen Mobile as the site for a new $75 million steel pipe manufacturing facility that will employ about 100 people, Berg and Alabama officials announced Friday.

The plant, which will fabricate large-diameter pipe used in oil and gas exploration, will be built on 86 acres at the former International Paper site in north Mobile, which is currently owned by the Alabama State Port Authority.

Berg expects to close on the land by late April and break ground in May or June, said Dave Delie, Berg's president and chief executive officer.

He expects the plant to be operational in the second half of 2008.

The Port Authority laid the groundwork to sell the site to Panama City, Fla.-based Berg at its Feb. 27 board meeting when the board accepted Director Jimmy Lyons' proposal to sell the property for $34,000 an acre, or $2.9 million.

"I've known Berg for nearly 25 years and I've worked with Berg for the past five years to bring this ... to reality in our community," Lyons said, calling Berg "a fine company led by fine people."

Part of the German Europipe family of pipe mills, Berg Pipe opened in 1980 and employs more than 230 people at its Florida facility, where pipe is fabricated and coated.

The Mobile facility will include an approximately 180,000-square-foot pipe fabrication building and a pipe coating building that will be between 60,000 square feet and 70,000 square feet, Delie said.

Mobile emerged as the best fit among sites in six states, including Louisiana, primarily because of its transportation features including access to five railroads, a large dock facility and close proximity to interstates, he said.

"If you look at our pipe, it's 24 to 48 inches, so when we ship, we take up a lot of space. Transportation is a huge factor in our business," Delie said. "That is probably the key that led us to Mobile."

The Mobile Industrial Development Board in December 2006 approved a $5 million package of tax incentives for the project.

Delie said hiring will begin at the end of this year or early in 2008, and for most positions, the company will be looking for hard workers rather than specific experience. Berg will train people for jobs that will pay $12 to $18 an hour. Incentives could mean a couple dollars more an hour, he said.

The Mobile facility will be a minor source of emissions, Delie said. "We'll take steel such as IPSCO makes in coil form and weld it," he said.

Delie said the Alabama State Port Authority was instrumental in landing the project, and that the state, county and city provided "critical assistance" throughout the decision-making process.

"We were impressed with the enthusiastic support demonstrated by all the parties and the Mobile community for our selection of the former IP site for our spiral pipe operation."

The port authority in 2004 completed the purchase of a 182-acres tract once used by International Paper. It paid $1.6 million for 96 acres and reclaimed the rest after IP canceled its long-term lease. Berg would buy a little less than half the property.

"Berg is a great company, very community-oriented and enthusiastic about coming to Mobile," said Bill Sisson, vice president of economic development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. "It's a significant project for us even though it's been sort of overshadowed by some of the other projects we've been working on. But they're making a big investment and creating a large number of good-paying jobs, so we're thrilled to have them."
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  #86  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2007, 2:34 PM
nimsjus nimsjus is offline
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Lots of news from Sunday's Press Register. These first two stories are really long so I will just post links.
The first is a study on the negative impact of an inevitable I-10 bridge by ALDOT. I thought the article was pretty thorough, and very informative about what impact each location will have and what parts of certain buisness's(sp) will be affected.
http://www.al.com/news/press-registe...430.xml&coll=3

The second link is looking into the ThyssonKrupp deal and the possibilities that it works out for Mobile(It is about 10 pages long).
http://www.al.com/news/press-registe...430.xml&coll=3

Lastly an article about the finishing touches on the RSA Tower. There is a seperate article on staffing the place also but since it wasn't really development news I didn't bother posting it.
RSA Tower project nearing completion
Sunday, March 11, 2007By KATHY JUMPERReal Estate Editor
In 20 days, Margo Gilbert and her staff will begin unpacking 17 truckloads of furniture and equipment for the newly renovated 238-room Battle House Hotel on Royal Street.

"It takes us 30 to 45 days to unpack the furnishings, move in and train," said the hotel manager for Point Clear Hotels & Resorts, which operates the hotel for the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

On May 11, the hotel will turn on its reservation system, and guests can begin staying in the rooms the next day, she said.

"Our vision for the hotel, when we open, is to have the service start up as if it had never been closed for 35 years," she said.

After 4½ years, the $200 million RSA Battle House Tower project is almost complete, according to Ron Blount, project director for the Retirement Systems of Alabama, the state's $28 billion pension funds.

Construction costs were

$162 million on the office tower and hotel complex, but the overall cost of the project will be $200 million, he said.

The circa 1909 hotel building will open as a four-star Marriott Renaissance Hotel. A grand opening to benefit the arts will be held May 11 in the hotel, but the ticket prices and details are still being planned by community leaders, according to RSA and its affiliate, PCH.

"This has been brick and mortar for me for four years and about three months ago it hit me," Blount said as he walked through the Battle House Hotel last week. "We're about to hand Mobile back its living room, and it's almost 100 years old."

The 35-story Battle House office tower will also open in mid-May, and at least 60 percent of the office space has been leased, according to Joe Toole, leasing agent for RSA.

Page 2 of 2
Interior work is under way on International Shipholding Corp.'s offices on the 17th and 18th floors and the company plans to move in by the end of the month, Toole said.

"Leasing started out a bit slow," Toole said. "But once they saw the building, the interest really picked up. When the folks go on a tour, the building sells itself."

Most of the tenants are local firms, though RSA is talking with some regional firms about relocating to Mobile, he said.

Lease rates average $20 per square foot on the lower floors and $22 to $24 per square foot on the upper floors, he said. The top floor has not yet been leased.

That's a jump from the average $15 to $16 per square foot charged for newer, updated Class A office space in Mobile.

Announced Battle House tenants include the law firm of Hand Arendall; CitiGroup/Smith Barney; Regions Bank; and RSA's management office and PCH's office, both on the 8th floor.

Other tenants include a state agency, a telecommunications firm, an architectural firm, a corporate design group and several law firms, Toole said. Wachovia Bank will have a drive-through location on the main floor of the nine-deck RSA parking garage.

The last two weeks before the hotel opens are "crunch time," said Gilbert, who will have 26 managers and several hundred workers on board by opening day.

"I feel very confident that I'm going to hit the May 11 opening," she said. "As soon as (Blount) turns the hotel over to us, we're ready to go."

More than 400 workers are still on the job site, down from the 600 during peak construction, according to Blount. Crews are cleaning the buildings and finishing up interior and exterior details such as flooring, paint and landscaping.

Work will continue after May 11. The parking deck off Water Street will be open, but the spa and fitness center on the top-floor deck will not be ready, according to RSA. The Trellis restaurant in the Battle House Hotel will be open, but PCH is finalizing the concept for the hotel's second restaurant, which is next to the Royal Street hotel entrance.

RSA's total investment in downtown Mobile over the last 4½ years will top $300 million, according to Blount. In addition to the Battle House project, that includes the purchase and

$60 million renovation of the 375-room Riverview Plaza Hotel at 64 S. Water St. and the construction and management of the Alabama Cruise Terminal at Mobile.
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  #87  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2007, 5:13 PM
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This is good news for Mobile, but whats the future hold? Are we going to boom and the city grow or stay the same? Any thoughts?
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  #88  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2007, 11:40 PM
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This is good news for Mobile, but whats the future hold? Are we going to boom and the city grow or stay the same? Any thoughts?
Things are really coming together and it will all depend on how the smaller projects evolve. RSA has set the stage for others to follow suit. We really need a major attraction to keep folks coming downtown in order to build on what's already taking place. Something like a southern market that could feature artisans, vendors, and street performers similar to Seattle's Pike Place, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, etc. It doesn't have to start at that large a scale but serve as a place of central focus.

I'd like to see if the waterfront condos do happen. I see the asbestos remediation folks are doing some work inside and the last article about this project stated that things will pick up again. So, we'll have to see about this one.

While walking down Broad Street the other day, I discussed with a friend about the possibility of some of the chain restaurants establishing locations on that street between Congress and Canal Streets. I know they have a project underway for Broad Street but there are not any businesses other than Checkers and CVS that would draw anyone to a newly developed pedestrian-friendly street. Perhaps something like Chick-FilA, O'Charleys, Steak & Shake, Landrys, Cock of the Walk, Houston's, California Pizza Kitchen, PJ Changs, or others. While some of these might not be the best fit, they represent the type of establishment that could help boost that corridor. While I'm very supportive of independent restaurants that are common only to Mobile, I think these places would pull in the type of customer who would normally not venture downtown. Broad Street could be the "restaurant row" for these type of places (similar to Gregory Street -US 98) in Pensacola.

Just some thoughts.
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  #89  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2007, 1:25 PM
nimsjus nimsjus is offline
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Really cool article from the Press-Register about some possible projects and some real estate that people are interested in, but can't get away from owners. Helps explain what is going on with some properties in downtown that most of us have probably said,"If I could get that property I could turn it around." or "That spot could change the whole complexion of an area.". One part is about the surface lot that replaced the Cawthon Hotel. Just imagine two very historic hotels on opposite sides of Bienville Square. That might be the biggest loss Mobile had to the 70's purge of historic downtown. Sorry the article is so long, but hopefully it will spur a little discussion.

BIG BUILDINGS: BIG CHALLENGES
Monday, March 12, 2007By JEFF AMYStaff Reporter
A new office building on Bienville Square. Condominiums in the former Gayfers. A block full of townhouses, offices and apartments on land now dominated by parking lots.

Big plans. Now all someone has to do is overcome the challenges.

Downtown Mobile is full of quiet successes, people who have put small buildings and houses to new use or built new dwellings and offices on vacant sites.

But though the spire of the RSA Tower seems to say otherwise, it's the big project that's hard to pull off.

Evidence of that lies in the ghostly hulks of large, vacant buildings and a moonscape of parking lots.

For the buildings, the challenge is finding a user who can pay enough and occupy enough space to finance often extensive renovations.

For sites now empty, developers are often interested in building new, but they have to pay enough to make it worthwhile for current owners to part with both a steady income from parking and the desire to hold onto the land until it becomes even more valuable.
Similarly, now-empty sites can be acquired for new buildings. Besides the land bought for RSA, developers have assembled whole blocks for a new FBI building and a new Social Security building in the last decade.

None of that is as easy as building in a turf field in Foley or a pine forest in Dawes. And worries lurk about what will happen to the AmSouth Bank building when several of its large tenants move to the RSA Tower in coming months.

But with several large projects moving forward, there's a surprising amount of optimism among people trying to sell or acquire big sites.

"I would say it's healthier than it's ever been," Burton Clark, a real estate agent with Cummings & Associates said of the downtown market. Clark is trying to sell the Kress building on behalf of Jay Altmayer Jr., who also owned the Neisner building.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to large-scale development downtown is assembling sites.

Laid out in the 18th and 19th centuries, downtown lots were meant for relatively small buildings. Today, it's not uncommon to have one block cut into 10 or more small parcels. But most developers today need at least half a block to create a large development.

"The economics of building buildings today are such that you need to build on a bigger footprint and get more uses in the building to make it economically feasible," said Elizabeth Sanders, executive director of the Downtown Mobile Alliance, an agency that promotes downtown.

The acres of surface parking lots downtown are one target for such development. Consultants who have studied Mobile say that the parking lots are bad for efforts to create a lively downtown. Parking lots, though they help support nearby activities, don't generate much activity themselves.

"You want active uses along your major corridors," Sanders said.

The parking lot that faces the west side of Bienville Square, running west to Joachim Street, is frequently flagged as a problem in efforts to improve the square and as a prime target for redevelopment. The lot was the site of the landmark Cawthon Hotel until it was demolished in 1973.

Big empty buildings can be saved. Among the examples in Mobile that long sat vacant but are now in productive use are GM&O Building and the former Convent of Mercy, now the St. Francis Place condominium complex.

The Battle House Hotel will soon join that list, as will the Mattress Factory condominium on Dauphin Street and the St. Louis Lofts in the former Mobile Fixture building.

Most recently, Hargrove and Associates, a Mobile engineering firm, bought and announced plans to remodel a 30,000-square-foot Royal Street building that once housed Neisner's, a legendary and long-gone five-and-dime.
"Instead of a parking lot, a new mixed-use building, combining retail space on the ground floor and residential units on the upper floors, is critical to the long-term success of the square," Zimmerman/Volk Associates wrote in a housing study for the Downtown Mobile Alliance last year. "A mixed-use redevelopment of this parcel would be a catalytic project that would tap the market for newly constructed housing."

Before any development can happen though, the current owner has to agree.

And the leaders of the Cawthon Real Estate Corp., a charitable entity that sends money to the Wilmer Hall children's home, don't exactly have a for-sale sign out.

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"I guess we're not opposed to selling, but we're not out trying to sell," said James Newman, a lawyer appointed by the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast to the corporation's board.

Right now, the parking lot is under a long-term lease to Central Parking Corp. After the manager's cut and taxes, the lot generates about $80,000 a year for Wilmer Hall. So in addition to reaching an agreement with the corporation, any purchaser would also have to buy out the parking company's lease.

Developers, though, continue to approach the church with offers. Proposed projects in recent years have included office buildings, condominiums and a hotel, Newman said. Last year, one developer went so far as to enlist Mayor Sam Jones to meet with Episcopal Bishop Philip M. Duncan II in an effort to help persuade the church to sell.

The Cawthon property is valued for tax purposes at $587,2000. But if developers paid as much per square foot as the property at Royal and Conti streets for the new Hampton Inn, the Cawthon property would be worth more than $2 million.

Newman said that growth in the property's value could be a good reason to hang onto it.

"The property has appreciated, while at the same time, it has provided a pretty good income," he said. "It's a growth stock and a dividend stock at the same time. I'm looking for more value down the road than where it's at right now."

In some cases, parking income may be the most lucrative use of the land. Clark said that a client of his wanted to lease the parking lot at the corner of Government and Joachim owned by the Catholic Archdiocese but was turned down because the lease payments to the church would be less than the church's parking income.

Downtown leaders have tried to crack the parking lot nut in other places, too. Ronnie Taylor of The Architects Group drew a conceptual rendering of a redeveloped block surrounded by St. Michael, St. Louis, Jackson and Joachim streets. At the time, Taylor owned the only two buildings on the block, both in the northeast corner.

The remaining eight parcels are all parking lots. The Press-Register owns one lot facing Jackson Street, which Publisher Howard Bronson said the company is no longer using and trying to sell.

Five parcels are owned by John and Winifred McMillan. The family owns more than 15 parcels downtown, most of them parking lots marked with distinctive yellow signs and chains.

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McMillan said she and her husband got into the parking business in search of extra income when one of their children was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. She said her husband, who now has Alzheimer's disease, was able work at the post office in the morning and attend to the parking lots in the evening.

"People, I feel like, always looked down on parking lots," said McMillan. "We laughed all the way to the bank."

Though she helped run the business for years, the lots are now being leased by Central Parking. That company, based in Nashville, Tenn., operates 35 parking lots and garages downtown, according to its Web site.

The idea behind Taylor's drawing, which included townhouses, larger buildings, common spaces and a parking garage, was to show property owners what was possible if they got together. The block, if redeveloped, could serve as a bridge between the DeTonti Square neighborhood and Dauphin Street.

"You've got some fairly nice areas to the north, and you've got Dauphin Street to the south, and you'd think these areas would infill," Taylor said.

McMillan, though, wasn't impressed, saying the notion was too speculative. "To me, that was not a real plan," she said.

Taylor threw in the towel and sold his buildings, which still await redevelopment. "I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do immediately, and it was taking more of my time than I had to give," he said.

Almost every week, McMillan said, she gets a letter or a phone call from someone who wants to buy part of her property. She's not inclined to sell.

"I'm 77 years old, and I'm just not interested in getting into a whole lot of problems," she said.

One entity that did force the McMillans to part with a parking lot is the federal government, which took some of their property in the two blocks it acquired for a new federal courthouse. But local government may not have the same leverage.

After a case where the U.S. Supreme Court said the Connecticut city of New London could take property to spur private development, the Alabama Legislature passed a law sharply curtailing the eminent domain powers of Alabama cities and counties.

A proposed state constitutional amendment could further tie Mobile's hands, if it passes the Legislature and gets ratified by voters.

But there may be progress on the obviously difficult task of bringing new life to large vacant buildings.

The 82,000-square-foot Gayfers complex, vacant for more than 20 years, is under contract to a condominium developer. John Vallas, who is selling the building for the Mobile County Public School System, said the prospective buyer is considering office space facing Bienville Square, and either residential or office condominiums in the larger wings facing St. Emanuel and Conti streets.

Renovations would include removing some asbestos and could include turning the bottom floor of the Conti Street wing into a parking garage, said Vallas of Saad and Vallas Realty Group. But, he said, he's confident that redevelopment is on its way, in part because the out-of-town developers are increasingly interested in working in downtown Mobile.

"Obviously, it's harder to do the larger projects," Vallas said. "But I think they're going to start happening because you have a lot of outside money looking at Mobile now."

The upswing could benefit another of downtown's hard-to-develop sites, the Kress building.

The former store has one of the oddest configurations of any downtown property. Shaped like a plus sign, the building runs through the middle of the block to doors on Dauphin, Royal, Conti and St. Emanuel streets.

Altmayer, the owner, has dropped his price to $1.25 million. Parts of the first floor had been improved for the Social Security Administration in the late 1990s, but hurricane-driven water damage forced the owner to rip out the wallboard, leaving just the framework.

Upstairs, wooden racks show where a law firm used to rent space to store old files. The long, narrow wings mean that the center of the building is far from street-facing windows, so dark that Clark brings flashlights when showing the building.

But people, including condo and hotel developers, are coming. "I show the Kress building a lot," Clark said.
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  #90  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2007, 7:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Verve View Post
Things are really coming together and it will all depend on how the smaller projects evolve. RSA has set the stage for others to follow suit. We really need a major attraction to keep folks coming downtown in order to build on what's already taking place. Something like a southern market that could feature artisans, vendors, and street performers similar to Seattle's Pike Place, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, etc. It doesn't have to start at that large a scale but serve as a place of central focus.

I'd like to see if the waterfront condos do happen. I see the asbestos remediation folks are doing some work inside and the last article about this project stated that things will pick up again. So, we'll have to see about this one.

While walking down Broad Street the other day, I discussed with a friend about the possibility of some of the chain restaurants establishing locations on that street between Congress and Canal Streets. I know they have a project underway for Broad Street but there are not any businesses other than Checkers and CVS that would draw anyone to a newly developed pedestrian-friendly street. Perhaps something like Chick-FilA, O'Charleys, Steak & Shake, Landrys, Cock of the Walk, Houston's, California Pizza Kitchen, PJ Changs, or others. While some of these might not be the best fit, they represent the type of establishment that could help boost that corridor. While I'm very supportive of independent restaurants that are common only to Mobile, I think these places would pull in the type of customer who would normally not venture downtown. Broad Street could be the "restaurant row" for these type of places (similar to Gregory Street -US 98) in Pensacola.

Just some thoughts.

I will have to disagree on the chain resturaunt thing. Partly because the fact that they are chains, but also because of the way they build their buildings. Mobile has not been very succesful in making chains build to a certain code like New Orleans and other cities have. Any chains that build in that area will certainly be set upon a large swath of asphalt. It will be basically be like Schillinger Road. Look at every drug store from midtown to downtown. You would think they would have been forced to build close to the street, with very little parking and have to locate in buildings that blend into the area. However, the look just like any other CVS, Walgreen's etc... Starbucks in midtown is the same. I live just off Broad Street. If I wanted to live around that garbage, I'd live off Dawes Rd. The solution is not gentrification of the our city core. We basically need more residential, more commercial, more retail (of all sorts and levels) and some light industrial to make the area East of Sage Avenue to the Mobile River an exciting, and more desirable place to live. This can be accomplished by promoting a view that the area is safe (it actually is pretty safe) doing something about the schools, and working on good public transporation (non-bus).
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  #91  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2007, 2:59 AM
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This isn't really Downtown, but here's a page made by Thyssen-Krupp about their proposed site in Mobile County: Here

And just to put in perspective how huge this is, from the site:

Over a 20-year period, the facility is expected to yield 38,000 – 52,000 indirect jobs.
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  #92  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2007, 4:12 PM
ExpatBaman ExpatBaman is offline
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The Downtown Mobile Alliance, Mobile's Business Improvement District, has a downloadable report on their website listing projects underway, proposed, or recently completed. Photos or renderings of 32 projects are included.

Report .pdf here: http://www.downtownmobile.org/images/news/...eport2_copy.pdf

Website: http://www.downtownmobile.org
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  #93  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2007, 4:35 PM
Scottybo Scottybo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpatBaman View Post
The Downtown Mobile Alliance, Mobile's Business Improvement District, has a downloadable report on their website listing projects underway, proposed, or recently completed. Photos or renderings of 32 projects are included.

Report .pdf here: http://www.downtownmobile.org/images/news/...eport2_copy.pdf

Website: http://www.downtownmobile.org
Nice post.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2007, 7:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpatBaman View Post
The Downtown Mobile Alliance, Mobile's Business Improvement District, has a downloadable report on their website listing projects underway, proposed, or recently completed. Photos or renderings of 32 projects are included.

Report .pdf here: http://www.downtownmobile.org/images/news/...eport2_copy.pdf

Website: http://www.downtownmobile.org
Damn, that report is impressive. And the website...Thank you.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2007, 7:47 PM
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Thanks for the post, Expat. That's a very informative website that is long overdue, IMO. I'm glad to see Waterstreet Landing still on the drawing board. I did drive by the CSX site last night and it is being worked on, so keep your fingers crossed!
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  #96  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2007, 9:16 PM
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Ahhh... the ever-elusive Hampton Inn plans. They're blurry, but I can make it out.

Thanks for the website!
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  #97  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2007, 11:27 PM
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After a year of following this forum, I decided to join. That website is really useful, thanks Expat.
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  #98  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 5:59 AM
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It seems like downtown is trying to grow faster than it actually is, and it is being restrained by its historic property parcel allocation. What I mean is that there are sometimes dozens of parcels on a single block and putting enough property together is a very steep challenge.


Atlanta for example, has been granted with larger parcels that have not been broken up as much as Mobile, and it has really facilitated rapid development.


Another related problem is the massive income received from parking income; I was reading that the old Cawthon Hotel site receives parking income of 80k a year. Thus understandably the owner will go to all lengths to not sell the property for development.


I dont necessarily agree with it ideologically but I concede that 10 folding the property tax on surface parking lots would force A LOT more development at a lot faster pace.

Anyone think Jones and the council would consider taxing the crap out of surface lot owners as a way to stimulate development? (not that I think it is right or anything but I wouldnt protest )
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 1:35 PM
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Quote:
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It seems like downtown is trying to grow faster than it actually is, and it is being restrained by its historic property parcel allocation. What I mean is that there are sometimes dozens of parcels on a single block and putting enough property together is a very steep challenge.


Atlanta for example, has been granted with larger parcels that have not been broken up as much as Mobile, and it has really facilitated rapid development.


Another related problem is the massive income received from parking income; I was reading that the old Cawthon Hotel site receives parking income of 80k a year. Thus understandably the owner will go to all lengths to not sell the property for development.


I dont necessarily agree with it ideologically but I concede that 10 folding the property tax on surface parking lots would force A LOT more development at a lot faster pace.

Anyone think Jones and the council would consider taxing the crap out of surface lot owners as a way to stimulate development? (not that I think it is right or anything but I wouldnt protest )
I am very ignorant when it comes to actual workings of development and things like this proposal. I am more of a pipedream person . That idea sounds fantastic and I would have never thought of that. I think the city could then take that money and turn it around for some parking decks(preferably like the new ones in Charleston that are hidden within the interior of a block with very discreet entrance/exits). Those service lots are really putting a halt to downtown development because alot of them are located right off the Dauphin corridor. They were fine when Dow started the string of pearls b/c they provided parking near the on redeveloped area. Now they are preventing the spread of development outside of that area.
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  #100  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 6:54 PM
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That is just the Hampton in Memphis - I don't like it. I hope they go for something different.
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