District 31 development to bring 75 new businesses to the city of Alabaster

Published 9:51 pm Monday, March 25, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster announced the District 31 project will soon begin construction and the $242 million investment will bring 600,000 square feet of new retail, restaurants and hotel space to the city.

The Alabaster City Council approved an incentive package for the mixed-use commercial development, District 31, which will bring a total of nearly 75 new businesses to the city during a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 25.

“Eight years ago, we heard about this project that was going to be deemed ‘District 31’ and it’s turned into a passion project, a labor of love and it’s taken a long time to get here,” Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield said.

The city’s $84.85 million maximum agreement covers sales, property and construction tax rebates over a maximum 30 year period based upon the project performance and only applies to a portion of new tax proceeds created by the development. The developer will also make significant roadway improvements to U.S. 31 and Interstate 65.

“We’re so excited to see the highly anticipated District 31 development coming to fruition,” Brakefield said. “This will further cement Alabaster’s status as a regional shopping destination while generating millions in additional tax revenue to support Alabaster schools, infrastructure and public services,” Brakefield said. “This development will include many retailers and restaurants our residents have been requesting for years.”

District 31 and the adjoining Shoppes at District 31 is set to bring a total of nearly 75 new businesses to the city.

“Alabaster has long been considered ‘home base’ for our team and a target area for one of our destination retail centers,” said Keith Owens, Alumni Properties managing partner and CEO. “District 31 will launch a new vision for Exit 238 and be a long-term asset to the community for years to come. We have worked diligently for over eight years to conceive and assemble the right mix for the development and look forward to taking this project to the construction phase.”

District 31 features 50-60 new businesses that will be a part of the project which will benefit the city through sales tax. The project will also bring major retailers to the local market.

The following is a projected breakdown of commercial offerings in the upcoming development:

  • Seven new-to-market national and regional anchor stores.
  • Outparcel restaurants: three projected national brand-name sit-down full-service/fast casual restaurants.
  • Small shops, including 15 to 20 service and boutique style shops.
  • Fast casual restaurants, including 10 to 12 new restaurants.
  • Potential hotel with retail spaces featuring 10 to 12 new shop spaces.
  • Office space that will contain five to 15 office suites.
  • Shoppes at District 31 at the forefront of the development on U.S. 31 will feature 14 total spaces comprised of eight  restaurants and six service oriented shop spaces.

Included in the latest design of the development are plans for a 90-120 room hotel with 35,000 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space.

In order to handle traffic on U.S. 31 and travel from I-65, multiple transportation improvements will be brought to the development area. The developer will make significant roadway improvements to U.S. 31 and Ninth Avenue Southeast, which is set to serve as one of the development’s entrances.

There will be a new traffic signal at the fire station that will lead into District 31 and there will be two additional lanes on the northbound side. The development will also feature a direct dump lane from I-65 North that will lead directly into the development.

“(Traffic flow is) always a big focus for our residents—we got to be able to move people in and out of the development safely—we’re working with ALDOT to make sure all of that is accomplished,” Brakefield said

Once fully completed, District 31 will add to the city’s high-visibility on the U.S. 31 and I-65 corridors and will create hundreds of new local jobs. District 31 will generate an estimated $2.8 million per year in new city sales taxes and an estimated $1.4 million in new school sales tax.

Brakefield highlighted Alabaster City Schools’ draw on creating new residents in the city and shared how this new development with help further the city’s “growth mindset.”

“This fits nicely in keeping our residents here and providing them everything that they need,” Brakefield said.

Site construction on District 31 is projected to begin mid to late summer 2024 once final approvals and permits are issued, with building construction starting in 2025. Additional announcements on the project relating to tenant commitments and opening dates will come in future.

“This will truly change the face of our city for years to come,” Councilmember Kerri Pate said.