Shopping centers abound in Shelby County

Shelby County residents who for years have been dissatisfied with their shopping selection have much less to complain about since the announcement of several local shopping center

projects in recent months.

Since March, developers have announced four shopping centers in three Shelby County cities with more than 1.5 million-square-feet of shopping bliss.

Hayes Market Place

The city of Pelham seems to be leading the way in the shopping center boom.

The Pelham City Council recently approved a 750,000-square-foot retail development in June billed by some as the next Summit. The project is called Hayes Market Place, named after Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes, and will be located near the intersection of Shelby County Highway 52 and U.S. Highway 31 along Interstate 65.

The developer of the project is AIG Baker, a Birmingham Development firm. The 195-acre piece of land, bordering the railroad tracks to the north and east, was formerly known as Blueberry Estates and was owned by a local family who grazed cattle there.

AIG Baker officials said they hope to attract a movie theater, a grocery store, a hotel and several popular retail stores to the shopping center.

Stone Plaza

In May, the Pelham City Council voted to approve a $6 million project on four acres on U.S. Highway 31 in Pelham near the Shelby County YMCA.

The shopping center, to be called Stone Plaza, was expected to be open some time this summer, but an ownership change has moved back the date to 2003.

The 66,200-square-foot project will have 48 retail spaces along with outdoor seating and a waterfall, the developers, American Dream Realty, said.

The development will have outdoor access to the stores similar to the Summit.

The two-story development will feature restaurants and shops on the bottom floor and professional offices on the top floor, developers said.

The new owner of the land is Birmingham businessman Frank Schilleci, owner of Joe’s Crab Shak and Petrocelli’s Italian Restaurant on Highway 280.

Tattersall Park

The city of Hoover, which has been aggressive in pursuing commercial shopping center projects in the Birmingham metro area in recent years, approved a 1.8 million-square-foot development near Greystone in June.

Tattersall Park, developers said, will be a mixed-use development with residential, retail and office sites on the 78 acres of land that currently lays bare along U.S. Highway 280 and Alabama Highway 119.

The developer, EBSCO, wants to develop the multi-million-dollar project similar to the village-like Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

Some 200 loft-penthouses, condos and townhomes are scheduled to be a part of the development.

In addition, developers said, the project will include a grocery store, some 50 retail sites, a 200-room

hotel, three office buildings and a proposed theater.

Brad Griffin, a marketing representative for EBSCO, said the development is &uot;fairly unique to the Southeast.&uot;

&uot;You can’t really call this just a shopping center. It’s more of a mixed use development,&uot; he said.

&uot;We call this smart growth. We want an area where people are proud to live there, shop there and work there.&uot;

Griffin said Tattersall Park will feature a 1940s-style Main Street with Old English architecture &uot;that makes you want to walk downtown.&uot;

He said one end of the development will be service-oriented with businesses such as bakeries and dry cleaners. The other end will have specialty shopping.

In all, some 700,000 square feet is scheduled for retail space, he said.

&uot;It’s going to be upscale. With the surrounding communities &045; Greystone and Brook Highland &045; it’s going to be built to cater to those people,&uot; he said.

Griffin said they will break ground on Tattersall Park by the end of the year, with the completion date set for fall 2004.

White Stone Center

Alabaster approved a 70,000-square-foot community shopping center along Alabama Highway 119 between Kent Dairy Road and Fulton Springs Road during March.

The developer is Aranov Realty Management of Montgomery.

White Stone Center, developers said, will have a national grocery store and 15-20 specialty shops.

Cam Ward, director of Economic Development for Alabaster, said the developer of White Stone Center will begin announcing tenants within the next 45 days with construction to kick off in October.

He said the development will have an outdoor feel as well, with &uot;walk-along shops and a grocery-store anchor.&uot;

&uot;We’ve announced White Stone, and we are already working on the next couple of shopping projects,&uot; he said.

Ward said cities are recruiting shopping centers to fulfill the need for sales tax.

&uot;We are not the only ones. Look at what Pelham has done with their projects. It used to be if you announced one project, that was it for several years,&uot; Ward said.

&uot;The growth is unreal around here, and we have to provide services like sewer, water and roads. Cities like Calera, Helena and Pelham &045; we are all recruiting businesses that will supply sales taxes. That is our life blood.&uot;