Dunn Real Estate seeking renewed interest in Calera property

Published 4:27 pm Monday, September 30, 2013

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

Dunn Real Estate, the development arm of Birmingham’s Dunn Companies, specializes in the purchase of land and buildings for investment and development.

In 2005, the realty company purchased a 40-acre tract of land in Calera located on Limestone Parkway and Alabama 304 previously owned by ALDOT Third Division District 5. Real Estate President Chris Hoyt said his company has approximately 28-30 acres remaining to develop.

“We put the land together, infrastructure and developed it for selling, leases, or build to suits,” Hoyt said. “After putting in detention areas and streets, we had about 34 acres to develop. From day one we had a lot of interest, including a potential hotel, but the economic downturn that began in 2007 caused the interest to literally collapse.”

Hoyt said his company is targeting hotels, big box retailers, fast food restaurants and professional offices you would expect to see at an interchange exit. Completed developments to date include Alabama Power, Shelby Baptist Health Center, Calera Family Eyecare and Zaxby’s. Regions Bank was one of the first to buy a lot (across from Zaxby’s), but the branch bank construction is on hold for now.

Much of the acreage fronts the beautiful Rolling Hills Conference Center’s 17-acre lake. A community garden within the acreage is maintained by parishioners of a church in Alabaster. Food produced by the garden is given to the needy.

The real estate market is still in recession, especially commercial, but Calera is a community where builders can offer affordable housing. Hoyt said more rooftops and employment will attract restaurateurs.

“Fast food restaurants rely heavily on day-time traffic, the lunch crowd,” he said. “We’ve had four well-known fast food chains talk to us about this site, but they all had concerns of the daytime population. My personal opinion is, when I’m down this way there’s plenty of cars out there on 31 during the daytime hours.”

Hoyt sees the I-65 exit 231 bridge expansion as opportunity to turn the economic development of Calera in a positive direction. Interested buyers, tenants, build to suits, or charitable organizations interested in involvement with the community garden can contact Hoyt at (205) 510-0283.