Decatur retail project would dwarf Bridge Street; early speculation on Bass Pro Shops


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An unidentified developer is proposing to build a $1.3 billion retail project in the southwest corner of the Interstate 65/565 junction. (Huntsville Times file photo)

DECATUR, Alabama – A proposed retail development at the Interstate 65/565 junction in Decatur would be more than twice the size of Huntsville’s Bridge Street Town Centre.

The Decatur City Council voted Monday night to let Mayor Don Kyle continue negotiations with a developer who, according to a resolution, wants to build 1.35 million square feet of retail space on the sprawling property near the Tennessee River.

For comparison, Bridge Street and Madison Square Mall have about 550,000 and 1 million square feet of retail space, respectively. Riverchase Galleria in Hoover is about 1.5 million square feet.

Decatur officials have declined to identify the developer or name specific stores that might become part of the project. But because of the history of the property, early speculation has centered on Bass Pro Shops.

The Missouri-based retailer of hunting, fishing and other outdoor gear is familiar with the Decatur site, having announced plans in early 2008 to build a large Bass Pro Outdoor World store there. It was to anchor a 540-acre mixed-use development called Sweetwater featuring multiple shops and restaurants, offices, medical space, residences and a hotel.

But the Nashville-based developer, Genesis USA, put Sweetwater on hold when the recession hit, and nothing was ever built.

Bass Pro Shops has three Alabama stores – in Prattville, Spanish Fort and the Birmingham suburb of Leeds.

Company spokeswoman Katie A. Mitchell said she’s not heard any recent discussion about Bass Pro Shops building in Decatur.

“We’re looking at places across the U.S. all the time, so anything is possible,” Mitchell said Tuesday. “But it’s not come across my desk. I’ve not heard it mentioned, not heard it talked about.”

Scott McLain, a commercial developer from Huntsville, expressed skepticism about the projected $1.3 billion cost for the Decatur retail project. At 1.35 million square feet, that works out to $962 a square foot.

“I can’t think of any structure based in Alabama that’s cost that much,” McLain said Tuesday. “It would have to be gold plated. If you do the math, the numbers just don’t work.”

Projections of 4,000 jobs also seem high for even a large retail project, said McLain, and the lack of homes near the I-65/565 junction “will create some challenges for the types of retailers that would be interested.”

Although the site is in Decatur, most of the city’s population lives at least 4 miles away on the other side of the Tennessee River. It’s about 8 miles from the west side of the city of Madison and 18 miles from downtown Huntsville.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/02/decatur_retail_project_would_d.html

Walmart, Hershey’s sued by Huntsville woman who ate moldy candy bar


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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A Huntsville woman sued Walmart and the Hershey Co. Tuesday alleging she became seriously ill after eating a Mr. Goodbar that was nine months beyond its expiration date and moldy.

The lawsuit says the plaintiff, Terrica Brown, was working at the 2900 South Memorial Parkway Walmart on Feb. 28, 2011. She clocked out, went on break and ate a Mr. Goodbar candy bar purchased at that store.

The lawsuit says, Brown did not know “the candy bar had an expiration or sell by date of May 10, 2010 and was at least 9 months out of date at the time it was sold to plaintiff. Said candy bar was contaminated with mold. The Plaintiff, Terrica T. Brown became violently sick to her stomach and had to leave work and seek medical treatment.”

The lawsuit was filed yesterday in Madison County Circuit Court. Brown is represented by Huntsville attorney Michael Auffenorde.

Messages sent to Walmart and the Hershey Co. seeking comment today were not immediately returned.

The lawsuit notes that Brown was not “acting in the line and scope of her employment at the time” she at the candy bar, so, “her medical expenses and time off work have been denied as covered under any applicable worker’s compensation laws.”

Brown suffered injuries to her stomach and intestinal tract; had doctor, hospital and drug expenses; lost time and wages from missed work and suffered pain and mental anguish, according to the lawsuit.

Brown alleges negligence, wantonness and breach of contract, among other claims for allowing the product to remain on the shelf and creating an unsafe condition and offering it for sale.

Her lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and related costs.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/02/walmart_hershey_sued_by_huntsv.html

Chief of Naval Operations: Sequestration will not affect Austal’s existing LCS and JHSV contracts


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Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle (L) and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert, discuss sequestration and how it will affect Austal’s Mobile shipyard, Feb. 22, 2013 in Mobile, Ala. (al.com/ Ellen Mitchell)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — Sequestration cuts will not affect Austal USA’s 10-ship, $1.6 billion joint high-speed vessel contract with the U.S. Navy, nor will it affect its contract to build five 127-meter littoral combat ships, according to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan Greenert.

During a tour of the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile today, Greenert said sequestration cuts will not affect projects that are already under contract, including Austal’s JHSV and LCS Navy deals.

“Sequestration will impact every single program; it requires a cut in every budget line,” Greenert said. “However, all those ships here that are under contract will not be affected, but we’ll have to move some money within the program line.”

Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said Austal is optimistic that it’s providing a low cost
solution to the Navy, and does not expect any job cuts from
sequestration in regards to Austal’s existing Navy contracts.

“All
of our focus right now is delivering a great quality product to our
customer and that’s what we can control,” he said. “We’re confident,
based on the feedback that we’re getting from our customer, that we’re
stable on the contracts we have going forward.”

Standing alongside Perciavalle, Greenert addressed sequestration concerns, recent LCS criticisms and the future of the Navy’s partnership with Austal.

In a Bloomberg article released this week, critics inside the Navy referred to the LCS as the “Little Crappy Ship.” The article also discussed the debate over how vulnerable the LCS may be to attack, and cited numerous problems with the newly built vessels, including a six-inch crack in the hull of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s USS Freedom that had to be repaired, and “aggressive” corrosion in the propulsion area of Austal’s USS Independence.

Greenert said despite the LCS coming under fire recently for its design and cost, he’s looking forward to the Navy’s use of the ship.

“The Freedom and the Independence have proven their worth for the design of the ship,” he said. “Some folks felt that the ship should be used for missions or for capabilities which it frankly will not do. Some folks will put it in a situation and say ‘it’s not made for this, it won’t do well in this.’ I would acknowledge that.”

Greenert went on to say that the Navy has intentions to operate the ship in conjunction with other, larger ships, so he’s very optimistic that the ship will do well.

Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Maryland and Austal Ltd., based in Henderson, Australia, build two separate versions of the LCS. The dual sets of ships were meant to get them built faster, at a rate of four a year rather than two a year.

Lockheed makes a steel-bodied version in partnership with Marinette Marine Corp., at Marinette’s yard in Marinette, Wis., while Austal makes an aluminum version in partnership with Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp. under a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract. The estimated price to build each LCS is $440 million.

The LCS is intended to perform missions such as destroying mines, hunting submarines, interdicting drugs and providing humanitarian relief.

“As a customer, I’m here to check out the wares that we buy,” Greenert said of his shipyard tour. “I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen. Perhaps more importantly, they’ve got a lot of capacity for future building.”

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/chief_of_naval_operations_sequ.html

Alabama State Port Authority: Shipping report for Feb 24


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The MSC LAURA docks at APM Terminals Mobile, June 4, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. (Photo courtesy of the Alabama State Port Authority)


 

MOBILE, Alabama — The Alabama State Port Authority provides its weekly port activity report, including ship departures and arrivals for the next week.

Departure and arrival dates, vessel name, berth, destination and cargo are provided below. Look for the report here on al.com each Sunday.

Arrivals:

Feb. 23: OSTENDE MAX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 23: INTERLINK ACUITY; ASD PIER SOUTH D 1; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 24: STAR EAGLE; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; PANAMA CITY; GENERAL CARGO

Feb 24: AM CONTRECOEUR; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; SWINOUJSCIE, PL; BULK CARGO

Feb 24: MSC JORDAN; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: MSC BARCELONA; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; ANTWERP, BE; CONTAINER

Feb. 24: LIJUN C; ASD SOUTH B 2; KINGSTON, JM; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: BBC ROMANIA; ASD PIER 5; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 25: LETO; ASD MCDUFFIE; IMMINGHAM, GB; BULK CARGO

Feb. 25: SPIEGELGRACHT; ASD RIVER END C; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: BANDA SEA; ASD RAIL FERRY RAMP; COATZACOALCOS, MX; RAIL

Feb. 26: OCEAN BEAUTY; ASD NORTH A 2; NEW ORLEANS; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: STELLA BECRUX; ASD MCDUFFIE 2; CONSTANTZA, RO; BULK CARGO

Feb. 26: THOR; ASD PINTO ISLAND; UNKNOWN, US; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 26: SEA-LAND EAGLE; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Feb. 26: MALTE B; ASD PIER 5; ORANJESTAD, AW; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: STAR EPSILON; ASD NORTH A 2; GENERAL CARGO

Feb. 27: MARITIME SUZANNE; ASD LIQUID BULK TERMINAL ; NEW ORLEANS; BULK CARGO

Feb. 27: LATMAR; ASD NORTH A 2; BROWNSVILLE-CAMERON COUNTY; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: ALBION BAY; ASD PIER 2 – CONTAINER BERTH; HOUSTON; GENERAL CARGO

March 1: CMA CGM NEW JERSEY; APM TERMINALS MOBILE; MIAMI; CONTAINER

Article source: http://blog.al.com/press-register-business/2013/02/alabama_state_port_authority_s.html

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Books-A-Million sees dollars in ducks, will sell "Duck Dynasty" merchandise


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The Duck Commander display that will be installed in Books-A-Million stores. (Special)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Things are just ducky at Birmingham-based Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore chain today announced that its stores will sell more than 40 items from Duck Commander, the line of goods associated with the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

Camo store displays will be stocked with DVDs, books, t-shirts, hats, key chains and other novelties. The displays also will include duck calls, the product that made the extended Robertson family wealthy and ultimately got them on television.

The show, which is AE’s highest-rated program, follows the antics of the unconventional Louisiana family and its business. The show’s popularity led to the extended Duck Commander product line. On the Duck Commander website duck calls range in price from $24.95 to $179.95.

Jeff Skipper, Books-A-Million vice president of marketing, said the push to sell Duck Commander merchandise is in response to explosive demand.

“We saw a tremendous amount of interest in all things “Duck” during the holiday selling season,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our team made the decision to create a custom, in-store display so that we could give our customers a one-stop-shop for all their favorite Duck Commander gear.”

The displays will be installed in all Books-A-Million stores before the television show begins its third season on Wednesday, the company said.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/books-a-million_sees_dollars_i.html

Friday recap: The week’s Alabama business news in review

Alabama business news you may have missed this week:

J.D. Power and Associates releases its 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study.

Best Buy to extend its price matching guarantee to major online competitors.

Communications experts dissect Carnival Cruise Lines’ response to the Triumph debacle.

Vulcan Materials begins blasting on Gurley Mountain.

A Montgomery auto dealer is named vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The Department of Defense considers an alternative to sequestration that would reduce civilian employees’ pay and hours by 20 percent.

HealthSouth saw a 6.7 percent increase in full-year revenue in 2012, generating $2.16 billion in business over the 12-month period.

Mobile’s Brookley Aeroplex eagerly awaits the addition of new tenant Airbus.

Work begins on the new Birmingham School of Law.

Investors with Audley Capital Advisors accuse Walter Energy’s leaders of having mismanaged the company.

International Shipholding is preparing a $25 million stock offering.

Lesley McClure, regional executive at the Atlanta Fed’s Birmingham Branch, sees strength in the state’s auto industry.

Alabama’s brewing industry has doubled in size each of the last three years, a new report shows.

AirWalk, a new extreme trampoline arena in metro Birmingham, draws thousands.

Office Depot is set to acquire OfficeMax, a move that may accelerate the closing or selling of stores. The retailers have a combined 32 stores in Alabama.

Alabama’s second annual sales tax holiday for severe weather gear kicks off Friday.

Walmart plans to hire 175 people for two of its Neighborhood Markets opening in Decatur and Florence.

How many engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Huntsville is celebrating National Engineers Week.

The Mobile Boat Show kicks off Friday as optimism is again running high in the marine manufacturing industry.

Alabama’s economy supports slightly fewer jobs than it did at the start of 2000. But non-manufacturing jobs have increased.

BAE Systems Ship Repair in Mobile will avoid layoffs.

First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based restaurant chain, is headed for Birmingham.

Winn-Dixie is moving into a space in Inverness Corners vacated by Bruno’s market.

There was a leadership shuffle at Mobile’s White-Spunner Construction Inc.

Express Oil Change Service Center, a Birmingham-based company with operations in 12 states, acquires Tire Engineers.

Ignite Fitness, a Crossfit affiliate, is expanding in Vestavia Hills.

Cahaba Brewing and Hop City unite to make beer backing home brewing law.

Mercedes plant gets a new boss, but it’s a familiar face.

Knology buyer Wow! investing and rebranding in North Alabama.

Divided Birmingham Water Works Board approves $145 million bond deal.

Airbus plant, along with expanding training and infrastructure programs, cited as progress for Accelerate Alabama.

Regions CEO Hall to assume chairmanship in May.


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Article source: http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2013/02/friday_recap_the_weeks_alabama_1.html

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Proposed $1.3 billion retail development in Decatur could impact Huntsville, Tennessee Valley region


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A proposed $1.3 billion development at I-65 and Highway 20 in Decatur is being negotiated by Decatur city leaders. The project could create 4,000 jobs. (The Huntsville Times file photo)


 

DECATUR, Alabama – The cities along the I-65 corridor in north Alabama, including Huntsville and Madison, could all benefit from a possible $1.3 billion retail development being negotiated by Decatur city leaders with an unidentified company.

The project could bring about 4,000 jobs to the area in what would provide a major economic boost to the Tennessee Valley, said Decatur City Council President Gary Hammon.

In a special-called meeting tonight, the Decatur City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Don Kyle to continue negotiations with the tenant on the west side of I-65 where I-565 veers to the east.

The property is in the Decatur city limits.

“Absolutely,” Hammon said when asked about the potential for regional impact. “We’re really blessed right here where we’re at. Anything we do positive here should have a positive effect on Huntsville, Athens, Madison, Hartselle. I don’t know how far reaching it could be. But it’s just good news.”

Not much is known publicly about the project because Kyle and the council have signed confidentiality agreements. Hammon said after the meeting he did not even want to put a dollar amount on the project for the sake of confidentiality, even though he joined the council in approving the resolution that called for a “projected investment of $1.3 billion.”

The resolution describes a “developer who wishes to remain anonymous at this time, who has proposed a major development in the area” and “should be a catalyst for further development of a larger portion of the project area.”

Afterward, Hammon acknowledged that the project could lead to affiliated projects that could provide more economic growth.

“We will see tangential growth around it also, not just this one (project),” he said.

Kyle was out of town and not available for comment.

The proposal provides for 1.35 million square feet of retail development, according to the resolution.

Asked about a timetable for the project, Hammon said, “That’s not up to me.”

The project must come back to the council for final approval once negotiations have been completed.

“My job as president of the council and all the council, we’re not supposed to get down to the nut cracking,” Hammon said. “We’re supposed to look at the overall project. The skeleton as it stands is acceptable. If it gets a little too meaty one way or the other, we may have to back off. But there’s a structure that I can live with (right now).”

Follow me on Twitter @paul_gattis

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/02/proposed_13_billion_retail_dev.html

Developer looking at Decatur for $1 billion, 4,000-job retail development

DECATUR, Alabama — The city of Decatur may authorize its mayor to negotiate with a developer looking to build a billion dollar, 4,000 job retail development near the intersection of Interstate 65 and I-565, The TimesDaily reports.


Interstate 565/I-65 interchange

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A developer may be looking to bring a massive 1.35 million square foot retail development to the area near the Interstate 65/I-565 interchange, shown here in this aerial photo. (The Huntsville Times file photo)


 

The City Council will consider a resolution after its 5 p.m. work session tonight to authorize Mayor Don Kyle to negotiate with the developer, who has asked to remain anonymous, according to The TimesDaily.

The city’s resolution states that the project on Alabama 20 in Decatur-annexed Limestone County would be a 1.35 million-square-foot retail development with an investment of $1.3 billion, The TimesDaily reports. The resolution also states the development would employ about 4,000 people, The TimesDaily reports.

Click here to read The TimesDaily’s full report.

Article source: http://blog.al.com/breaking/2013/02/developer_looking_at_decatur_f.html