Local economy looking up

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

I’ve gotten a chance to write about some pretty exciting developments in Shelby County’s economy over the past few weeks. And I’ve got to say, it’s refreshing to say the least.

On April 15, crews with the Brasfield and Gorrie construction company began working on an enormous new distribution center for the Hibbett Sports company in Alabaster’s Shelby West Corporate Park.

Once completed, the 412,000-square-foot distribution center will occupy 60 acres, will bring about 150 jobs to the city and will replace an about 180,000-square-foot facility Hibbett currently is leasing in Birmingham.

A little further north on U.S. 31, Pelham officials are working with Shelby County and the county’s Industrial Development Authority to develop the currently vacant old Moore Handley property on U.S. 31.

The city recently received architectural renderings calling for the Summer Classics furniture cmpany to occupy the entire former Moore Handley building and warehouse, and construct a 10,000-square-foot showroom on the front of the building. The proposed plan also calls for a 9,000-square-foot possible retail outparcel to be constructed between U.S. 31 and the former Moore Handley building and an 18,000-square-foot strip mall-type development to be constructed slightly southeast of the former Moore Handley building.

The Alabaster City Council also is considering an incentives package designed to attract an about 50,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods store to the South Promenade shopping center. The council likely will vote on the incentives package during its May 6 meeting.

After years of economic struggles for Shelby County, I’m glad to see these projects — and others all over the county —starting to bring a spark back into our business climate.

Hopefully, they are signs of a new wave of prosperity for Alabama’s greatest county.

Neal Wagner is the City Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 17 or by email at neal.wagner@shelbycountyreporter.com.