Calera development site receives SEEDS Act grant

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

CALERA – 58 INC, Shelby County’s economic development corporation, was named a recipient in the first round of Alabama’s Site Evaluation and Economic Development Strategy, SEEDS, Act Grant for a 133-acre site off of Alabama 25 west of downtown Calera.

“We are excited about the opportunity SEEDS funding will give us,” Calera Mayor Jon Graham said. “This grant will help us continue to develop high-quality industrial sites and recruit skilled, high-paying jobs to the city of Calera.”

This industrial site development program is part of Gov. Kay Ivey’s “game plan” to assist communities to develop more industry-ready sites and compete on a global level.

“We are grateful for the State’s SEEDS program that guides and enables us to collaborate on reserving and preparing properties for future industry—part of tomorrow’s job growth,” said Amy Sturdivant, president and CEO of 58 INC.

Awarded funding, along with a local dollar-to-dollar match, will be used to do civil engineering studies on the Calera Davis Site in Calera owned in part by city and its Industrial Development Board (IDB).

“The Industrial Development Board is grateful for the opportunity and partnership of the city, 58 INC, and the state as we all look to develop the employment centers of Calera’s future,” said Calera Industrial Development Board Chair Mitt Schroeder.

These studies are necessary for 58 INC to market the site and recruit new manufacturing jobs for the community.

“Adding sustainable economic value to Shelby County and its communities is 58 INC’s mission,” Sturdivant said.

58 INC was one of 29 grant recipients from across the state, with a total of $30.1 million in grant dollars allocated statewide.

“Taking these steps today is an investment in a strong pipeline of real estate product—called ‘sites’—that corporations and manufacturers will be interested in developing,” Sturdivant said. “Like many homebuyers, large companies seeking sites don’t have the time to start with a fixer-upper, so communities identify advantageous locations, zone property and prepare property to be development ready for corporate companies.”

According to Sturdivant, the jobs at these companies provide a bounty for the communities, including advantages such as a broader tax base for schools and services, the local spending of wages, reduction in commute times and increase in daytime population that supports restaurants and retail.

“That’s why it’s a winning and long-term economic development strategy to support, retain and attract employers who produce a product or a service they sell well beyond the boundaries of Shelby County,” Sturdivant said.