Developer: Alabaster’s District 31 ready to progress

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – A developer for a proposed large new shopping center in Alabaster is set to close on the property in October, and crews likely will begin moving dirt on the development late this year, he told members of the Alabaster City Council during an Aug. 9 work session.

Alumni Properties President and CEO Keith Owens, whose company is working to develop the new 75-acre District 31 shopping center off Interstate 65 exit 238 in Alabaster, told council members the project is nearly ready to begin construction.

“Everything is moving in the right direction, and we are getting ready to really pick up the pace,” Owens said. “We should begin moving dirt in November and have everything cleared in March (2019).”

Owens’ update came about six months after the City Council voted to rezone about 75 acres from mobile home and community business zoning to mixed-use zoning to allow for the more-than-350,000-square-foot District 31 shopping center to be constructed across I-65 from the Propst Promenade shopping center. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted in November 2017 to recommend the rezoning to the City Council.

The rezoning will not go into effect until Alumni Properties purchases all the property for the development, which Owens said will be finalized this fall.

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.

“We are pretty darn sure we are going to open up 100-percent leased on phase one,” Owens told council members.

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.