With a greater demand for more residential lots on the Alabama Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle, it stands to reason there will be more retail space needed with more rooftops in Baldwin County on Mobile’s eastern shore. Smaller grocery anchored centers will continue to locate around new neighborhoods along with smaller retail power centers.
Retail brick and mortar businesses continue to adapt to the new landscape Amazon has created in the U.S. The shipping giant has both the ability to deliver goods to the consumer and has the brick and mortar needed to serve its customer. Amazon continues to disrupt retail business plans and has the cash to do so. What seems to be working in retail is smaller developments with service-oriented tenants such as hair salons, nail shops, pet grooming, and cash advance storefronts. Restaurants are increasingly paying more rent for ideal locations, which has in turn increased the cost of land for development.
Despite the disruption to grocery retailers nationally by Amazon, Baldwin County could see up to eight more grocery stores locate in the area in the next five years. This will take shape with existing grocery providers locating a few typical-sized stores in the county as well as newer, smaller prototypes along with new grocery entrants to the market. Because the residential growth in the county shows no signs of slowing, residents will want the services and other items they need located conveniently close to where they live. Research shows that the median income of households moving into Baldwin County supports the additional community shopping centers that will emerge.
There will be demand for Class A office space along the Eastern Shore. When construction on the new bridge connecting Mobile and Baldwin County begins, more professionals will desire offices on the Eastern Shore.
INDUSTRIAL – MANUFACTURING
The Baldwin County Economic Development Association reports 11% growth in jobs in the manufacturing sector and 56% growth in Transportation & Warehousing sector.
We’re going to see a continuing development of distribution facilities on both side of Mobile Bay, particularly in close proximity to the port, rail and interstate system. Walmart is building one million square feet of warehouse space in west Mobile County and Amazon is building 400,000 square feet of warehouse space nearby just off Interstate 10. Similar projects will continue to be opportunities for commercial growth in Baldwin County.
More than 60% of the Baldwin County Economic Development Association’s 2017 projects have facility needs of more than 50,000 square feet. Over 40% of BCEDA’s 2017 projects have facility needs of over 100,000 square feet. The mega site project in Bay Minette will yield dividends in due time. If you look at where the Department of Transportation is spending its money on this end of the state, Baldwin County has received fund allocations to build new roads in the county and has money allotted for new major roads.
THE BIG PICTURE
Four of the five fastest growing Alabama cities are located in Baldwin County. The valuation of Foley’s commercial and residential building permits alone increased from $41 million in fiscal year 2016 to more than $137 million in fiscal year 2017. That’s at least a 232% increase in the value of residential and commercial projects permitted in Foley between 2016 and 2017. Baldwin County is projected to become the fourth largest county in Alabama by 2040. The growth here will be nothing short of transformational in the next five years.
A Heart for Preservation Helped Transform Church into a Thriving Medical Practice
When Dr. Kristi M. Esses embarked on a search for the perfect historic property to open a medical practice with her husband, Glenn, a vascular surgeon, she did her homework. She needed a commercial space that spoke to her.. She also needed an experienced commercial real estate agent with tenacity and vision.
She found both in White-Spunner Realty’s Sharon Wright.
After about six months of touring properties, Esses decided on a church designed by Mobile architect George B. Rogers, and built in 1921, on Dauphin Street in Midtown. “We were looking for a new clinic site to renovate for a vascular surgery practice,” Esses said. “The option of building was not feasible and we were restricted with locations.”
It was the couple’s first commercial real estate investment for a medical clinic, and they needed guidance to navigate the myriad issues involved in rezoning, among other challenges. “The conversion of an historic church to a medical clinic was a huge undertaking,” Esses said. “From offer to closing was about a six-month process.”
Wright stayed with the couple through the entire process of re-zoning and subdividing the property before closing on the site. “Sharon utilized her education, experience and trusted professional contacts to lead us through the negotiations, renovation costs, city approvals and designs,” Esses said. “She protected our interests along the way. She was a part of every step of the investment in this commercial property from beginning to end.”
The Esses family maintained many aspects of the original church, including the stained glass windows and a pipe organ. They even had someone play the musical instrument during a reception to celebrate the clinic’s opening. “We absolutely love our vascular surgery clinic,” Esses said. “The patients like it. The doctors like it. The location is perfect. “
Want to know more about this cool space? Check out the news story highlighting the new practice with dozens of additional photos.
Click Here for Cool Spaces AL.COM Article
ABOUT SHARON WRIGHT
Sharon Wright has worked in real estate since 1992 and specializes in commercial sales, leasing and development for White-Spunner Realty. Wright is a recognized leader in the real estate industry, having served as president for the Baldwin County Association of Realtors and awarded Realtor of the Year. She has served on the Executive Committee and as a State Director for the Alabama Association of Realtors.
She can be reached at 251.510.1822 or via email at Sharon@White-SpunnerRealty.com.
So, You Want to Open a Restaurant? Understand First, Why Location Can Be More Important than the Food Served
I suggest the following four key points to consider before selecting a restaurant location:
1. Know Your Target Customers & Where They Are Located
Who does your food appeal to? Are they mainly young, old, business people, families? Find out where there is a density of the group you are trying to reach. Also, know the difference between household population and daytime population. An area can have a great population and high-income levels; however that doesn’t mean the residents are home during the day. This can have a significant impact on your sales if most of your business takes place during the lunch hour.
2. Traffic & Visibility Counts
Convenience is very important. You want to be on a busy road where people are driving by your restaurant on a regular basis. No one likes going out of their way or searching back roads to find your location. Being visible from that busy road also is vital. Think of it this way, visibility is free advertising for your business and the easiest way to gain new customers.
3. The Surrounding Competition
Check out other restaurants in the area. Are they direct competition? Do they offer a similar product? Could they complement your business? How are those restaurants doing and how long have they been there? Are you offering something new or different? All these factors can provide great insight into how your restaurant might perform.
4. Know How Much Space You Need & What You Can Afford
That new building is nice, but can you afford it? Size and price can vary across a market. Do you need a large space to accommodate indoor seating or something smaller because you expect to do a lot of takeout? A dependable way to figure out what you might be able to afford is to estimate your expected gross sales and keep it below ten percent of that number. Bottom line: Rent should be eight percent or less of your average sales volume.
ABOUT CHRIS HARLE
Chris Harle of White-Spunner Realty is both an experienced real estate agent and restaurateur. He has opened and operated two popular and high-performing restaurants in Mobile, AL. You can count on Chris’s experience to help you determine the best location for your new eatery! He may be reached at 251.234.7232 or email@example.com.