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.
The second link is looking into the ThyssonKrupp deal and the possibilities that it works out for Mobile(It is about 10 pages long).
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.
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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.