New 75-acre shopping center coming to Alabaster

 

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A more-than-350,000-square-foot shopping center fronting Interstate 65 is shooting to open in Alabaster in 2019, the developers announced after the Alabaster City Council approved an incentives package for the development during a Sept. 11 meeting.

The new “District 31” shopping center will be on 75 acres across I-65 from the Propst Promenade shopping center, and will be near the intersection of I-65 and U.S. 31.

“I live in Alabaster, and the Alabaster market is definitely where retailers want to be right now,” said developer Keith Owens, the President and CEO of Alumni Properties Inc. “This shopping center will be a totally different feel from what you see in the market today.”

Owens, who attended the Sept. 11 meeting with Alumni Properties managing partner Roy Price, said the center will feature regional and national retailers and restaurants new to the Alabaster market, and will also include office space. He said Alumni Properties has been working with possible tenants for the development, but is not yet announcing which tenants will be coming to the new shopping center.

District 31 will include a main street-styled “shopping center within the shopping center” in the middle of the development featuring ample green space and focused on pedestrian walkability, Owens said.

“It will be very classy and well-done,” Owens said, noting construction crews likely will begin moving dirt on the development within six months. “We wanted to create something where you don’t have to just shop, but hang out.”

During the Sept. 11 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to approve an incentives package with Alumni Properties, through which the city will refund to the developer 1 percent of the city’s sales tax for either 30 years or up to $25 million, whichever comes first. The penny sales tax tied to the city’s education fund will not be included in the incentives package.

The shopping center is expected to generate more than $100 million in sales annually, according to the resolution passed by the council.

The city will also rebate the developer’s property taxes and lodging taxes for the next 30 years, and will commit up to $3 million to help fund roadway improvements for the project.

Through its agreement with the city, the developer agreed to provide a “tract of cleared and graded land” fronting U.S. 31 near the shopping center for a new Alabaster police station by 2019.

Once I-65 is widened between exit 242 in Pelham and 238 in Alabaster, upgrades will be made at exit 238 to allow traffic to travel directly from the interstate into the shopping center, according to Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon.

Handlon said the city has been working with the developer to finalize an agreement since November 2016.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Ward 1 Councilwoman Sophie Martin, whose ward will contain the new shopping center. “This is really a monumental benchmark that will change the face of our city.”