NEWS & REPORTS
Graham & Company is pleased to announce our new Office Group Associate, Matt Gilchrist. Matt has several years of commercial real estate experience. In his position, Matt will be responsible for assisting with office acquisitions, dispositions and daily leasing efforts.
Plantation Patterns, manufacturer of pillows, cushions, umbrellas, outdoor décor and accessories, is moving its distribution operations to Shelby County.
The Irondale-based company will take 247,000 square feet in at Shelby Commerce Park, a Graham & Co. development in Calera.
Graham’s Ogden Deaton represented the landlord, and Sonny Culp represented Plantation Patterns in the lease.
Deaton said Plantation Patterns is relocating its distribution center to be more centrally located in order to better supply its customers across the Southeast.
The company has not yet responded to request for comment about the move or how many employees will be located at the Shelby County facility.
According to the Selma & Dallas County Economic Development Authority’s website, the company’s distribution center will be moving from the Bell Road Industrial Park just off U.S. 80 West.
The company’s brand is sold in major stores like Home Depot, Target, Costco and others.
The absorption is further sign that Birmingham’s metro industrial real estate is heating up.
“This is a great indicator for our park out at Shelby County,” Deaton said. “It’s further indication the market is moving in the right direction.”
Shelby Commerce Park is a total of 1.5 million square feet, and Plantation Patterns will join HD Supply, Custom Marketing, Vital Records Control and Joshen Paper as tenants on the site.
Deaton said there has been more interest lately in existing buildings in Birmingham by companies inside and outside the region.
Brokers are seeing a few things in industrial real estate that they simply weren’t seeing a few years ago.
And those trends could mean decreased vacancies in a market that had an 82 percent occupancy rate at the end of 2013.
Out of 14.2 million square feet in the market, 2.5 million of that space was available for leasing or subleasing, according to Cushman Wakefield EGS’ Annual Market Report.
So far in 2014, the industrial sector has slowly chipped away at that total, and commercial real estate professionals don’t expect that slow and steady trend to change.
Deaton is a part of the team that is marketing the Kaiser Facility to international companies, a property that adds 1.7 million additional square feet to the market.
Even before news broke about the Kaiser property, Deaton said the atmosphere in the industrial real estate market was starting to become more competitive.
“We were seeing multiple offers on buildings, and we haven’t been seeing that,” Deaton said. “Folks are realizing business is moving forward.”
Deaton said he has seen positive absorption on leases as well.
A number of local companies have announced expansion plans in the first two quarters of 2014.
Vulcan Industries, a subsidiary of EBSCO Industries announced a $5.1 million investment in Moody that will expand its facility by 100,000 square feet.
Milo’s Tea Co. continued its rapid expansion in June by announcing a $13.1 million investment in its Bessemer plant that will add 29 new jobs.
Diversified Labeling Images will be moving its press from Homewood to Irondale this summer to occupy a 40,000 square-foot facility in the city.
Evonik Corp. announced in May it will add 25 jobs as it opens an innovation center for research and development of medical devices at its Lakeshore property.
While local companies are looking to expand, Deaton said there is action coming from outside of the region.
“The out of town companies are doing some deals too,” Deaton said.
Deaton said he remains cautiously optimistic about the future but believes Birmingham will see more positive growth in the second half of 2014.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Builders of the $60 million VA Primary Care Annex and parking deck held an official groundbreaking ceremony this morning with officials proclaiming it will help the Birmingham medical center provide better healthcare to veterans.
The ceremony was hosted by BL Harbert International, the Birmingham contractor building the project, along with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The massive project will have the address of 2415 Seventh Ave. South, but the development is taking up the entire city block between Seventh Avenue South and University Boulevard and between 24th and 25th Streets.
The new, 2,300-space parking deck will provide much closer access to the Birmingham VA Medical Center at 700 19th Street South. Currently, patients park at the city parking deck at the corner of Fourth Avenue North and 22nd Street and are bussed several blocks to the hospital.
The project is slated for completion in fall of 2015.
Thomas Smith, director of the Birmingham VA Medical Center, said the 58,000-square-foot Primary Care Annex will house several outpatient procedures, women’s health, mental health and a number of lab and technical functions. He said the relocation of those operations from the existing medical center is expected to open up the entire first floor to allow for an expansion of the emergency room, a new dialysis center and other improvements elsewhere in the hospital.
VA and elected officials acknowledged the current scandals that created long waits and inadequate care at several VA hospitals across the country and even similar allegations here in Alabama. However, they said the Birmingham hospital is known for providing quality, timely care and the new facilities will help it keep pace with the increasing demand as more veterans turn to the VA for treatment.
“Everything we do is about improving the care and services we provide to you,” Smith told the many veterans attending the groundbreaking.
Smith said the site search for the parking deck and annex started a decade ago as officials realized the number of Alabama veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan would increase the demand for services.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell, D-AL, said honoring veterans should be something all of us feel called to do.
“We can never repay our veterans for their noble and brave service to our country,” she said. “The least we can do is provide them with the best quality medical care.”
Sewell recognized the family of 98-year-old James Carrington, a World War II veteran who served with the Montford Point Marines, the first group of African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corp. She said after the groundbreaking, she planned to visit Carrington at the VA Medical Center and present him with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“It’s most important not that we speak for them, but that we do for them,” she said of veterans.
Charles Sepich, director of the VA Southeast Network, said he views Birmingham as one of the medical centers that is focused on doing right by the patients.
“I want to thank Birmingham for being such a strong meca in providing quality medical care to our veterans,” he said.
Birmingham City Councilwoman Sheila Tyson, herself a veteran, said she could get treatment from any other hospital she chooses but she prefers the Birmingham VA Medical Center because the people there “genuinely care about veterans.”
Birmingham Mayor William Bell agreed, saying his father, a veteran, receives medical care there and is pleased with the level of care given.
Birmingham’s Graham & Co. is developing the project along with the Las Vegas-based Molasky Group of Companies. Austin, Texas-based Page Southerland Page is the architect.
Steve Graham, chairman of Graham & Co., said it was important for the firm to be a part of the significant project.
“We are honored a privileged to be a part of the team that is committed to doing what we can to help out our veterans,” he said.
A little over a year after Kaiser Group Holdings, parent company of Kaiser Aircraft, moved its headquarters to Birmingham, it appears the company is looking to downsize its footprint near the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.
Graham & Co. has confirmed its industrial team, led by Ogden Deaton, has been hired to market Kaiser’s 180-acre, 1.7-million-square-foot site for lease to a major company.
Robert Shealy, senior vice president and CFO at Kaiser Aircraft said the company is still operating at the facility, but a downsizing of space is imminent.
“We think long-term we are going to have space available, and we want to make that space available for growing jobs in the Birmingham area,” Shealy said.
Shealy said due to the sensitive nature of the work that is done at the facility, he could not disclose any more information about existing operations on the property. He declined to discuss whether Kaiser would have layoffs. Officials with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs said they have not received a notice of a mass layoff event at the company.
A release from Graham & Co. said the warehouses on site are sufficient for a number of manufacturing and distribution uses.
“The Kaiser facility is a truly unique aviation industry asset, and we’re excited to see Graham & Co. aggressively market the Birmingham region and this facility to the global aerospace and aviation community,” said Rick Davis, vice president of economic development with the Birmingham Business Alliance.
The growing aerospace industry in Alabama is anchored by the $600 million Airbus production facility in Mobile, along with more than 300 aerospace and defense companies.
“We now have an existing product in Birmingham that could be the catalyst for bringing a world class company to Birmingham,” Deaton said. “The property is well-suited for an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or a maintenance repair overhaul (MRO) company looking to locate in the center of this growing industry.”
The primary hangar at the facility is 1.2 million square feet and consists of 10 pull-thru bays with 160-foot wide by 725-foot deep dimensions and 40-foot ceiling heights enabling the property to house up to 42 737-800 type aircraft under roof, Graham & Co.’s release said.
The two warehouses total 295,000 square-feet, along with a paint booth.
In September 2011, Kaiser acquired the assets of Alabama Aircraft for $500,000.
Alabama Aircraft lost a key $1 billion government contract to Boeing Co. in September 2007 and announced two months later it could not keep up with pension payments.
In March 2013, the parent company of Kaiser Aircraft consolidated its operations by moving its headquarters from Fairfax, Va. to Birmingham.
Throughout the duration of Kaiser’s Birmingham presence, the company has added jobs, including a 50-plus employee boost last August.
In December 2012, the company landed a five-year contract with the Army to build helicopter parts.