The Birmingham News
"Shelby project targets business"
EGS Commercial Real Estate plans to develop an $8 million speculative industrial building in fast-growing Shelby County, a project that is expected to lure new and expanding businesses.
The 154,000-square-foot Shelby West Commerce Center, slated for the Shelby West Corporate Park along Interstate 65 in Alabaster, is a follow-up to a similar EGS development in the same location.
Two years ago, the firm built the 250,000-square-foot Shelby West Distribution Center. Now 90 percent occupied, it's a success story that EGS hopes to repeat in its latest development.
The new building should be a recruiting tool for Birmingham-area economic developers, who say prepared, available land and buildings are key to landing companies that want a quick startup.
"Having a product up and available is a great asset for us as developers, but it's also an asset for the area it serves," said EGS President Marc Eason. "It kind of acts like bait."
Shelby West Commerce Center will be classified as a bulk distribution facility, but it will be able to be divided into spaces of 20,000 to 40,000 square feet, a niche market where few other options are available, said Mark Byers, EGS senior vice president.
A wide variety of companies could occupy the new space, from expanding local businesses to those planning their first venture in Birmingham. Any company that needs warehouse space, such as an industrial supplier, is a possibility.
Shelby County has seen explosive residential growth in recent years, and Alabaster in particular has been successful in developing a bustling retail sector.
But the county also needs bread-and-butter businesses to provide jobs for residents and generate shopping at stores.
Byers said Shelby County officials attracted EGS to Shelby West Corporate Park by having prepared land available.
"We're taking the next step, in having the building available," he said.
An industrial market report from EGS shows the Southern submarket, where the new facility will be located, had an 86 percent multi-tenant occupancy rate among bulk distribution facilities during the fourth quarter of 2007.
The submarket's multi-tenant occupancy rate was 92 percent for office/warehouse facilities and 95 percent for service centers.
Brad Moffat of EGS will handle leasing for the new facility.
Site work is expected to begin in March, with completion scheduled by the end of the year. Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood Inc. is the architect, and First American Bank is the lender.
James Dedes, executive director of the Shelby County Economic & Industrial Development Authority, said the group looks forward to working with EGS to attract new manufacturing, assembly and distribution companies to south Shelby County.
"This project confirms our position that even in uncertain economic times, Shelby County will remain attractive for new industrial investment," he said.
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