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DruidCity

AL-MS plans

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This is an incomplete list, so hopefully others can fill it out.

Obviously, these twin states are not among the region's wealthiest, most populous, fastest-growing, or most urban, but like our friends all around the South, we have some things going on.

One bright spot in the AL-MS economic landscape is the auto industry. Within the next two years, the Honda expansion between Birmingham and Anniston, the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, the Toyota engine plant expansion in Huntsville, the Nissan factory in Jackson, and the Mercedes expansion near Tuscaloosa will all be operating at full capacity.

Mobile - Battle House Tower, u/c, $165-M project, hotel portion expected to open in fall 2005, office tower (which will be tallest by far in AL-MS region) to open in 2006. A new $350-M I-10 bridge is in the discussion phase. The city also planned to open a $36-M "Mobile Landing" downtown bayfront project in 2005, which would include a maritime museum, a cruise port, and bay-wide ferry terminal. To my knowledge, work has yet to commence. $300-M state docks expansion is slowly moving forward, one piece at a time. There is also a planned $75-M Federal building downtown, but it's not a high-rise.

Baldwin Co, AL coastal condo projects - too many to keep track of.

The 26-story Island Tower in Gulf Shores will be the tallest in Baldwin Co. The following link gives details about it & a 14-story project in Orange Beach :

http://www.rw-shallow.com/pre-sales.htm

I think there's also an 18-story-or-thereabouts condo u/c in Gulf Shores.

There have been plans to build a total of 6 20-story condos at the Beach Club development on the Ft. Morgan peninsula, but there has been strong environmental opposition. I don't now the current status.

There is also a 21-story proposal called "Marquis," which would be the tallest in Orange Beach. The state's plan to build a $90-M convention center and hotel at the state park in Gulf Shores is still mired in red tape. Originally, the talk was that they'd begin work this fall to open in 2005, but my guess is that that timetable will be pushed back. $45-M renovation of the Grand Hotel Resort in Point Clear is ongoing. $50-M Wolf Bay Bridge project in Orange Beach has yet to be approved.

The status of a proposed 144-acre entertainment-related development in Orange Beach is unknown. I haven't heard anything about it in a long while, so it might have fallen through. Plans were to build an IMAX, water park, etc.

Birmingham - The city usually receives good marks as a place to live and work, to shop and to receive medical care. I refer everyone to Randy Sandford's awesome photo threads for the latest updates on Birmingham's great array of medical-related building projects (University Hospital, Children's Hospital, St. Vincent's Hospital, Healthsouth Tower, and UAB Shelby Tower). One area where Birmingham is behind its peer group is tourism. The city has a large-scale proposal to try to remedy that.

The proposed dome could start construction next year, to open in 2007, if the funding can be found. Therein lies the problem. Birmingham wants the state to chip in $5M a year to make it happen. There is minimal-at-best support elsewhere in the state to pull money from already-overextended budgets for a dome.

If it's going to happen, I think Birmingham will have to find the $$$ itself.

Anyway, if it happens, then the project will likely include :

* The dome itself, connected to the existing civic complex, which would be completed remodeled

* 300-k-sq-ft entertainment district adjacent to the dome

* Additional hotel space, very possibly in the form of a high-rise hotel tower

Of course, Birmingham would need more than just those facilities to become a competitive destination for conventions. Also on the table, but unfortunately not yet funded, is a transit plan, a possible component of which is light rail.

Other tourist-related projects include zoo expansion ($35-M, 20-year plan, fundraising has had some setbacks, but it's a fantastic location), Vulcan Park renovation ($13-M project - great place to observe the skyline !), nightlife ("The Furnace" is a planned $3-M "gentleman's club" which some Birmingham backers hope will help Birmingham's convention industry like the "Gold Club" did in Atlanta, only legal), and Sloss Furnaces renovation (unique downtown-area park, $24M, 15-year plan). There is also talk of a 2-mile linear park along the railroad.

Near the planned dome are federal buildings to be constructed over the next few years, including a 5-story Social Security building that will cost $150-175M and a $50-M FBI building.

Downtown Birmingham also has a solid lot of upcoming residential conversions of old buildings, like the 20-story Brown-Marx. Here's a link detailing the renovation of the historic John Hand tower : http://www.al.com/business/birminghamnews/...57660292800.xml

Birmingham's largest suburb, Hoover, which is expected to become the state's 5th largest municipality within the next 10 or so years, is mainly a retail and residential center. Hoover is home to the state's largest shopping center, the Riverchase Galleria, and its 17-story office tower is now looking for an anchor tenant, since the defection of Caremark Rx. Another 700-k-sq-ft retail project is being constructed next to the Galleria. There is also a huge, mostly residential, mixed-use project in western Hoover called Ross Bridge, which will have 2,300 residences, a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail championship course, and a $55-M hotel/conference center, currently u/c.

I-22 from Memphis to Birmingham is expected to be finished in 2006. Timetable for Birmingham's northern beltline highway is unknown.

Montgomery - Proposed 16-story hotel to go along with the convention center expansion and downtown/riverfront developments such as the new AA baseball stadium. The Poarch Creeks have wanted for years to build a $100-M Harrah's casino in the Montgomery suburb of Wetumpka, but are still mired in red tape.

Proposed I-85 extension from Montgomery to Meridian has been put on the back burner.

Meridian-Philadelphia - Renovation of downtown Meridian's tallest building (15 stories) into residential use. Construction has begun on an adjacent downtown parking deck that's 6 or 7 stories. $50-M plan for a nearby arts complex is still early in the fundraising stage.

The Pearl River Resort in Choctaw has built out about $600-M of its $750-M resort, with the largest anchor being the 31-story Golden Moon casino.

According to the Mississippi Business Journal, things are going well :

http://www.msbusiness.com/

"— The Choctaw Resort Development Enterprise (CRDE) has released revenues for its third quarter, which ended June 30, 2003.

Revenues continued to increase with net revenues at $74.3 million for the most recent third quarter, compared to $60.4 million for the same period in 2002."

Jackson - Renovation of 12-story King Edward building, which has been empty for over 35 years, is in serious discussion phase. Whatever they do, the estimated cost is northward of $40 M. New urbanist project called "Town of Lost Rabbit."

Huntsville - Approved 10-story, $40-M Embassy Suites hotel to open in 2005 downtown next to the civic center. There are also plans for a $210-M, 100-acre mixed-use "Bridge Street" project at the research park.

Huntsville might be the greatest beneficiary of the Corridor V and Atlanta-Memphis Highway plans, which would give Huntsville direct limited-access highways to Atlanta, Memphis, and Chattanooga. One early version of Corridor V even included a road to Tupelo, MS.

Decatur - Huntsville's close neighbor has plans for a $35-M arena/convention center, and several smaller projects. Construction has not begun.

A $500-M southern bypass project has yet to begin.

Gadsden - hopes to build a $11-13M civic center

Anniston - Much of the city's future development depends on the redevelopment of the enormous Ft. McClellan property.

Tuscaloosa - The city is a good reason not to judge a book by its cover.

From the outside, it looks like a small, poor town. However, once you get past that initial glance, there's some underlying strength. As of July 2003, Tuscaloosa County has an unemployment rate of 3.7%.

There are vague rumors of "Riverview" multi-level condo, unknown height & probably in the distant future if at all- would not be located downtown, but a couple miles east. Location would be just east of US 82 and just south of the river.

$42-M eastern bridge opens in a few months.

Tuscaloosa's two largest projects are the Riverwalk/riverfront development plan and the downtown revitalization district.

The latter will reshape 7 blocks in the center of downtown & will require $80 M in public funds, with hopeful completion by 2010. The riverfront plan will probably take until 2025 to fully implement, but is a much larger project.

Although the riverfront plan will involve different parts of town, it will reshape the equivalent of about 20 blocks in the downtown area.

Most of Tuscaloosa's projects are on the back burner, because we've put so much into school construction. Two new city high schools opened a couple of weeks ago, for a total cost of $60M, and a third will be built in the next two years. The state is consolidating most of its mental health facilities in Tuscaloosa, which will enhance one of the community's strong suits : http://imgsrv.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs...Ref=AR&MaxW=625

Four-laning of US82 from Tuscaloosa to Mississippi - completion 2010.

$50-M "Midtown of Tuscaloosa" shopping center might open in 2005 - rumored tenants include "big boxes" like Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. Stillman College has in its 10-year plan to try to grow into "Stillman University."

This season, Stillman moved up to Div II in football.

Like Auburn across the state, the University of Alabama always has a fair number of construction projects going on. I'll let Randy add any details about Auburn-Opelika, because I'm not as up to date on that side of the state. Over here at the UofAlabama, which has record fall enrollment of just over 20,000, some of our projects on campus include : $45-M Capstone Village retirement community - u/c, $12.5-M community health services building - u/c, $100-M athletic facilities improvement plan (will include football stadium expansion to 93,000-95,000 seats, and an $18-M renovation of the basketball arena within the next 3 years - some of the smaller projects have begun construction), long-range plans for at least 3 new parking decks and 5 student residential buildings, $11-M child development research center (should be u/c before long), $6-M student center expansion (will be completed this fall), $58-M science/engineering building (complete in a few months), and a $23-M student recreation center expansion.

The university also gave a long-term lease to a Birmingham developer to build a small shopping center between campus and downtown, which will include a scaled-down Publix grocery (site clearing work has begun - should open in 2004).

Golden Triangle - Mississippi State is the largest university in MS, and is in the top 100 nationally for research dollars. Columbus recently attracted a helicopter manufacturer called Eurocopter, creating 100 jobs initially.

Hattiesburg-Laurel - USM continues to grow at a strong pace, and Howard Industries (transistor and computer manufacturer) is adding 2,000 jobs by 2010.

Mississippi Coast -

The Isle of Capri casino's $80-M expansion in Biloxi is expected to be complete in mid-2005 & includes a 396-room hotel tower : http://newsletter.casinocity.com/Issue118/

Two 13-story condos are u/c in Gulfport.

Developers are trying to put together the final financing and approval for a massive $400-M, 404.5-acre casino resort in Diamondhead, which is about halfway between Biloxi and New Orleans. Preliminary plans include two casinos and a luxury hotel tower.

Tunica - Memphis forumers could probably add a lot more info about north MS.

http://www.tunicamiss.org/coming-soon.asp

http://www.tunica-ms.com/mhoon_landing_news.htm

.

Greenville - US 82 bridge u/c, completion 2006 - will include longest cable-stayed bridge span in U.S.

Dothan - Planned interstate spur to I-10, which will accomodate the heavy traffic flow through the city to Panama City Beach, FL. US 84 four-laning is u/c.

Florence - $65-M Retirement Systems of Alabama project includes all sorts of goodies, from a riverfront park, to a Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail course, to a 5-story upscale hotel and convention center connected with the renovation of the 300-foot Renaissance Tower, the tallest building in NW Alabama.

The tower has been referred to by locals as the "Shoals Shaft," seen by many as a white elephant. However, the renovation would include features like making the top rotate.

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Wow, Mississippi sounds as if it is going to be #2 in autobuilding after Michigan.

Why do you say that? Alabama will soon have 3 automobile assembly plants (Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Hyundai) and one Toyota engine assembly plant. Mississippi has/will have only one plant (Nissan) unless DruidCity forgot to list some others that I'm not aware of.

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So far, our auto plants are smaller than some in other states, such as TN and KY.

Here are some numbers, though :

Nissan near Jackson, MS will have 5,300 employees

Honda in Lincoln, AL will have approx. 4,400

Mercedes in Tuscaloosa County, AL will have approx. 4,000 (plus it's the only one around here with a visitor center)

Hyundai in Montgomery will begin with 2,000, but should be able to ramp up to 4,000 (Hyundai has also attracted the largest number of suppliers of any of the above)

Toyota engine in Huntsville will have 500.

Some existing unionized auto suppliers might be in trouble -

Delphi plant in the Huntsville-Decatur area employed 2,400 at its peak, but is rumored to be closing within the next 3 years. Delphi's Tuscaloosa plant, which employed 500 at its peak, is also rumored to be on the way out.

Huntsville's Chrysler electronics plant, employing 2,400, is for sale & if I recall correctly, Siemens is the most likely buyer.

Huntsville's 1,250-employee Goodyear tire plant is also closing :

http://www.al.com/business/huntsvilletimes...48821335670.xml

Here is a link to Alabama's auto suppliers :

http://resadmin.uah.edu/aama/membersbycounty.asp

Mississippi is actively trying to recruit another auto manufacturer, in addition to Nissan.

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Delphi plant in the Huntsville-Decatur area employed 2,400 at its peak, but is rumored to be closing within the next 3 years.

That doesn't surprise me. I doubt it will be within 3 yrs though - Delphi was going to close a plant in Flint 14 yrs ago...& it's just now getting rid of the last of its workers (including my dad :( ). General Motors has publicly told all its suppliers to get all of its manufacturing out of the country ASAP. Other automakers will follow...and then they'll wonder why nobody's buying their products anymore. They don't seem to realize that if they lay off all their employees in the US that nobody will be able to afford their products anymore.

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What always trips me out is all of these good old boys and, well, ignorant people who say 'I won't buy Toyota or Honda, I want a good old America car, built by Americans'. LOL. The scary thing is, pretty soon, more Hondas and Toyotas will be built in the states than Chevys and Fords.

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Druid City,

"Tunica - Memphis forumers could probably add a lot more info about north MS."

I've read that the Memphis airport is opposed to the Tunica airport getting "regularly scheduled flights".

There's also a big squabble going on about the route that proposed I-69 will take. DeSoto Co. MS wants it to be part of the outer loop being built around the Memphis area. Memphis wants it to run along I-240 with upgrades through midtown Memphis.

So much for regional cooperation.

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Most expensive shopping center project in Mississippi history planned for Southhaven, which is just south of Memphis, just east of I-55 :

http://www.gomemphis.com/mca/desoto/articl...2194722,00.html

"...the developer's intent to build the Southaven Towne Center mall including three stipulations - the mall will be more than 800,000 square feet of retail space; at least 700 jobs will be created; and there will be a capital investment of at least $150 million."

Planned opening : summer 2005

///

T-Mobile to move into Galleria Tower in Hoover :

http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/stor...18/daily36.html

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Druid City,

"Tunica - Memphis forumers could probably add a lot more info about north MS."

I've read that the Memphis airport is opposed to the Tunica airport getting "regularly scheduled flights".

There's also a big squabble going on about the route that proposed I-69 will take.  DeSoto Co. MS wants it to be part of the outer loop being built around the Memphis area.  Memphis wants it to run along I-240 with upgrades through midtown Memphis.

So much for regional cooperation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, of course the Memphis airport is opposed to the Tunica airport expansion. Discount carriers appear to be the ones interested in Tunica, thus making it the EXTREMELY used airport...MEM is rather overpriced.

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Do states in the Northeast have this problem since they're so close together? You know, one trying to steal business away from its neighbor. Anyway, whatever happens, I hope Memphis isn't impacted negatively.

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Tunica - Memphis forumers could probably add a lot more info about north MS.

http://www.tunicamiss.org/coming-soon.asp

http://www.tunica-ms.com/mhoon_landing_news.htm

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

For all of Mississippi's legendary slow growth--DeSoto County was the 35th fastest growing county in the nation, and the highest in the South outside of Georgia and Florida.

Of course, DeSoto's gain is Memphis's loss. :lol:

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For all of Mississippi's legendary slow growth--DeSoto County was the 35th fastest growing county in the nation, and the highest in the South outside of Georgia and Florida.

Of course, DeSoto's gain is Memphis's loss.  :lol:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Without Memphis there wouldn't be such a leap for DeSoto County.

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all those corporate tax breaks and handouts sure do attract major companies. too bad it hurts the place in the process.

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I wanted to add some more growth for Alabama. You forgot the small city growth like Selma, Tuskegee, and Troy.

Selma has been granted the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail and it will bring an estimated 90,000 visitors to the Cities of Selma, White Hall, and Montgmery. They also were blessed with some automotive supplier plantes

Tuskegee is opening a new hospitial the first emergency medical facility in Macon County in over 20years. They too are getting a National Park, The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. This park is a 29 million dollar investment into the community that is planned to bring 125,000 people per year to the city of Tuskegee. Plus the new Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multi-cultural Center in Downtown Tuskegee, it was built by Fred Grey Sr. The Government in Tuskegee is lobbying Congress to make The Tuskegee VA hospital a National Park making it the 3rd National Park in the city of Tuskegee. Tuskegee University is also opening a new musem an Research Center on the Campus of Tuskegee University it is The Tuskegee Center For Bio Ethics it will house a musem that will honor the Tuskegee Syphillis victims and it will also be home to the Tuskegee Achives & History. Macon County has also recevied Automotive suppliers form the montgomery plant. :rolleyes:

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I'm sorry, this just needs to be repeated:

"Hattiesburg-Laurel - USM continues to grow at a strong pace, and Howard Industries (transistor and computer manufacturer) is adding 2,000 jobs by 2010."

2,000 jobs! Wow. I mean, any city would be thrilled to hear that, but goodness that's got to be 10% of the total jobs in Hattiesburg right now. How absolutely incredible. Hattiesburg looks like it'll the be the real non-gambling-related economic driver in the state here soon. Now I understand why Hattiesburg ranked so high in one of the recent "best cities for business" or whatever rankings that was posted here not too long ago.

Good for Hattiesburg!

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I lived in Hattiesburg for a month 2 summers ago, it wasnt as bad as I expected. They had a handfull of call center jobs, a pretty nice mall and shopping area, prettygood scenery and even a sizable new and old housing/apt. stock. It was dull as dishwater for me because I hate being in smaller spaces, I remember being there and Jackson seeming so big city haha. But anyways yeah the people there too were also really nice and unexpectadly accepting of different people. I guess the university helps that, anyways good for Ms. it is about time that they get handed something other than damn low paying gambling jobs.

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I'd like to see Hattiesburg get a real hotel again. I would think thay would be able to support a hotel/convention center of at least 300 rooms. No, a Hilton Garden Inn isn't a real hotel. When will someone build one?

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