New hotel on horizon in Alabaster

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

The Alabaster City Council took a step toward bringing a new hotel to Alabaster behind the Colonial Promenade Shopping Center and cleared the way for a planned development near the Shelby County Airport Monday night.

The council voted unanimously to empower Mayor David Frings to negotiate with Oikon Inc., a hotel development company.

Cam Ward, executive director of the Alabaster Industrial Development Board, said, &8220;We&8217;ve been trying to recruit a new hotel to Alabaster for a long time.&8221;

He said the city owns 10 acres behind the Colonial Promenade Shopping Center and Moe&8217;s Southwestern Grill.

It has been proposed, according to Ward, that the city lease seven usable acres of that property to Oikon, which will develop four acres for a four-story, 60-to-120-room hotel.

Ward said the entire 10 acres is currently worth $2.2 million.

In return for use of those seven acres, Ward said, Oikon will make the three remaining usable acres ready for anything the city wants to put there.

He said those three acres alone (after the hotel is constructed) would then be worth about $2 million.

Mayor David Frings was pleased with the announcement.

&8220;I&8217;m extremely excited for Alabaster,&8221; he said. &8220;We&8217;ve been successful recruiting more retail. A flagship hotel of this type will definitely go to help complete the package that we&8217;re building for the city.&8221;

Frings said when people are spending the night in Alabaster, they are more likely to shop at retail stores, eat in restaurants and buy fuel.

In addition, he said, the city attracts sports tournaments 34 weeks of the year, bringing in a lot of out-of-town participants.

A new hotel will keep them in Alabaster, he said.

&8220;This will be the first of many hotels we want to get.&8221;

Councilmember Jim McClain said the only expense to the city would be for sewage and drainage work on the site.

Warren Beason of Oikon expressed his excitement about working with the city.

&8220;We&8217;re excited about being able to bring the city&8217;s first (national) hotel,&8221; Beason said.

He said Ward and City Administrator Tony Rivera were excellent to work with. And he called the hotel, &8220;a deal that is going to be great for the city.&8221;

Beason said the hotel will be a limited service national flag hotel such as a Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express or Wingate Inn.

The hotel will create about 15 jobs, bringing additional revenue for other businesses in the area as well as

the city.

Beason said the hotel would be a $6.5 million project.

In other business at

the council meeting, the council approved the rezoning of more than 207 acres from Municipal Reserve to Planned Development and Town Homes.

Tommy Durrett of Harvest Ridge subdivision complained that the density of homes would be unfair to neighboring property owners with only one home per three acres.

Councilmember Tommy Ryals said however there would be large lots and large homes and assured landowners that Chestnut Drive will not be opened.

He also said the property was close to going into the city of Calera which would have given Alabaster no control.

Following another public hearing, the council voted to annex two parcels of land off Highway 119 for Basil E. and Maudrine Kennedy.

In other business,

-The council tabled action regarding recreation by-laws until legal questions could be resolved.

Of concern, according to Councilmember Bob Hicks, were fees proposed for nonresidents.

-And in another recreation related matter, the council approved Brian Kelly of Ride Skateboards Inc. to be the on-site contractor for the city&8217;s new skate park.

-Set a public hearing for Feb. 20 for the annexation of about 24-and-a-half acres for Bazemore Properties LLC on Highway 119 (Golden Meadows) and an ordinance regarding weed abatement.

-Set public hearings for March 20 on a rezoning request for 1.26 acres for Jim Jackson of the Oden Property located at Colonial Promenade Parkway from Agriculture to Community Business and a rezoning request for about a half-acre to Business Office for LAI Engineering.

-Set a work session for Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.

-Heard a report from Frings that business license revenues collected to date are $1.4 million when for all of 2005, the total was $1.6 million.

He also said sales tax collections to date are $3.5 million when sales tax collected for all of 2000 were $3 million