Alabaster sets zoning hearing for new shopping center
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – The Alabaster City Council will hold a public hearing in mid-February to gather input on a request to rezone about 75 acres off U.S. 31 to allow a developer to construct the new District 31 shopping center, council members announced during a Dec. 28 meeting.
Council members voted unanimously during the meeting to set the public hearing for their Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. at Alabaster City Hall. After the public hearing, the council likely will vote on the rezoning the same night.
During the hearing, the council will take public comment for a request from the Alumni Properties company to rezone about 75 acres across I-65 from the Propst Promenade shopping center from a residential zoning to a mixed-use zoning to allow for the more-than-350,000-square-foot District 31 shopping center.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted in November to recommend the rezoning to the City Council. According to Planning and Zoning documents, the developer is shooting to begin construction on phase one of the shopping center in spring or summer 2018.
Alumni Properties President and CEO Keith Owens previously 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.
During a September 2017 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.
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