Businesses express interest in Alabaster redevelopment area

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

A movie theater and a home improvement store are expected to join a Super Wal-mart and Belk’s retail store as commercial tenants of the Interstate 65, Exit 238 redevelopment area of Alabaster.

According to Cam Ward, executive director of the Alabaster Industrial Development Board, last week, the Alabaster Board of Adjustments approved variances for two businesses looking to come to the city.

He said one of the businesses was Lowe’s and one of them was Amstar Movie Theaters.

Ward said Lowe’s sought a variance on the size of a sign and Amstar was seeking a variance on the number of parking spaces for the theater. He called the matters &uot;small technical issues.&uot;

While Ward sad neither Lowe’s nor Amstar have officially announced for the I-65, Exit 238 area, he said, &uot;We are excited about the opportunity to be working with two major retail tenants like this. And we look forward to having them doing business in our city.&uot;

Previously announced tenants of the redevelopment area include a Super Wal-mart and Belk’s. Ward said the variances were approved on March 22.

He also announced that on Monday, April 5 the Alabaster City Council is expected to approve bond and infrastructure money for the redevelopment area. And Alabaster Mayor David Frings said this past Monday that the city

received an A-1 financial rating from Moody’s Investment Services of New York City.

Frings called the rating significant because it tells potential lenders that you are &uot;doing things right and are fiscally responsible.&uot;

According to Ward, Colonial Properties Trust will build a new retail center on a 400-acre development in the redevelopment area. He said the development will include a more-than-800,000-square-feet outdoor shopping center.

In June 2003, the Alabaster City Council approved a resolution on a 6-0-1 vote with Councilmember Bobby Harris abstaining to adopt the I-65, 238 Urban Renewal and Urban Redevelopment Plan.

And in February of this year, the city of Alabaster took the first step to help get construction under way in the redevelopment area where municipal facilities will also be located.

In a special called meeting, the council authorized the issue and sale of 2004 city warrant anticipation notes (bonds) totaling $4.8 million. According to City Attorney Greg Morris, the city intends to use the money to purchase 23.7 acres of land from Shelby Land Partners for municipal use.

Also in July 2003, the council took a step toward commercial development of the city with the creation of a Commercial Development Authority.

The city of Alabaster also exercised its prerogative to use eminent domain to seek property in the area. However, as the matter proceeded to Shelby County Probate Court, most cases were settled with clients represented by Pelham attorney Jim Pino.

Shelby County Probate Judge Patricia Fuhrmeister has scheduled an April 20 hearing on Pino’s request for attorney’s fees in connection with eminent domain cases that have been dismissed.

Fuhrmeister has also rescheduled hearings in eminent domain cases for April 13 against Plaza Pines Mobile Home Park, Bobbie Jean Cohill and the heirs of Mary Hall and Estella Mae Hamiel.