What’s the future of the Alabaster Exchange?

The future of a proposed shopping center between Fulton Springs Road and U.S. 31 is uncertain. (File)

The future of a proposed shopping center between Fulton Springs Road and U.S. 31 is uncertain. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

A Montgomery-based development company is no longer working to bring a new shopping center to U.S. 31 in Alabaster, but other developers have expressed interest in the project, according to Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon.

During a March 21 meeting with city business owners, Handlon said the Aronov development company’s contracts had expired on the proposed development, and said the company was unable to attract a large anchor store for the proposed Alabaster Exchange shopping center.

“They have walked away from that. They were able to secure small stores, but they couldn’t get the larger stores without a large anchor store,” Handlon said during the meeting. “Our main contact with (Aronov) has moved to North Carolina.”

In October 2011, Aronov development company announced plans to build the new 300,000-square-foot Alabaster Exchange shopping center adjacent to Alabaster’s Colonial Promenade south shopping center on U.S 31.

Construction plans called for the new shopping center to be about the same size as the south wing of the Colonial Promenade shopping center.

If constructed, the shopping center would be sandwiched between U.S. 31 and Old Highway 31 south of the current JC Penny department store and the Steak ‘n Shake restaurant.

In interviews after the March 21 business meeting, Handlon and Alabaster City Manager George Henry said multiple other development companies have expressed interest in pursuing the shopping center.

“We do have other developers that would like to take a shot at it,” Handlon said. “We are hopeful.”

In February, the council voted to enter into a temporary $2.5 million line of credit with Central State Bank for “economic development purposes” on a portion of the proposed Alabaster Exchange land. The city is using a portion of the money to purchase a few tracts of land on the property, which is plans to use to extend Fulton Springs Road through to U.S. 31.

On March 21, Handlon said the city had meetings scheduled with the CSX railroad company and the Alabama Department of Transportation to discuss the possible road extension.