Montgomery Business Journal

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Reporter's Notebook


For now, the City of Montgomery is actually making money on its agreement with the Infinitus Renewable Energy Park (IREP), which recycles municipal waste. When IREP recycles 80 percent of the waste and sends 20 percent to the city’s landfill, the company will receive $28 a ton from the city and will pay the city $28 a ton it sends to the landfill. At that time, the city will pay IREP about $2.1 million and IREP will pay the city about $560,000 for sending waste to the landfill.

Right now, IREP is recycling closer to 60 percent and sending 40 percent to the landfill. The city still pays $28 a ton, but as a disincentive IREP pays the city $56 a ton for sending waste to the landfill. The city would pay IREP $1.7 million for 60,000 tons of trash while IREP would pay the city about $2.2 million for sending 40,000 tons to the landfill.


Alabama was ranked the 17th best state to do business in the 10th annual survey of CEOs conducted by Chief

The state received three out of five stars in the following three categories: taxations and regulations, work force quality and living environment. Alabama fell one spot from last year’s survey.

Texas was ranked No. 1 while California was 50th.


Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange is working with developers on two projects along Maxwell Boulevard. One is a 120-unit apartment building and the other is a 60,000-square-foot office building.

Strange said the office building is very likely – a 95 percent chance, but the apartment complex has a 60-40 chance of being built. One of the developers is local, Strange said.Montgomery County  is No. 1

Montgomery County was tied with DeKalb County for the most new industries announced in 2013 – six. Jefferson County was third with five new industries and Cullman and St. Clair counties tied for fourth with four new industry announcements last year.

Montgomery County was the state’s only county ranked in the top three in total jobs announced (1,176) and capital investment ($333 million). Montgomery was ranked third in job announcements and second in capital investment.

The top-ranked county for job announcements was Jefferson with 1,755 and Madison was second at 1,602. Mobile County was No. 1 in capital investment with $1.4 billion.


Baptist Health and American Family Care have formed a partnership to provide primary and urgent care services in Central Alabama.

The three existing American Family Care locations and five PriMeds, owned by Baptist Health, will now be called AFC PriMed.

The partnership is expected to create 75 to 100 jobs – physicians, clinical and clerical – in the region.

“Baptist Health is committed to quality patient care and we are very excited to partner with American Family Care, a company that shares our goals and plans for growth of an exceptional primary care network for our community,” Baptist Health President and CEO Russ Tyner said in a statement.


Once again, Montgomery business executives are the most optimistic of the state’s four metro areas in the latest Alabama Business Confidence Index. Montgomery participants in the third-quarter survey had an index rating of 59.0, an increase of 0.2 points from the previous quarter. Birmingham-Hoover was second at 56.9; Mobile third at 55.5; and Huntsville fourth at 53.4. This marks the second straight quarter that the Montgomery region was the most optimistic.

Three of the components topped 60 for the Montgomery panelists: Alabama economy (62.8); industry sales (61.5); and capital expenditures (60.9). An index of 50 or more shows growth.

The survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Culverhouse College of Commerce.


Birmingham-based ServisFirst Bank received $52.5 million from its initial public offering of 625,000 shares at $91 a share.

The bank has branches in Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile, Dothan, Pensacola, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn.

ServisFirst Bank CEO Tom Broughton told “We had a strong balance sheet and we had the opportunity to make it stronger. You want to do it at a time when it looks like you have smooth sailing for a couple of years and the timing for us seems to be good.”

ServisFirst also announced a three-for-one stock split in the form of a dividend. The number of common stock shares will jump from about 8.2 million to 24.5 million. The firm is listed on the NASDAQ as SFBS and company management rang the closing bell in late June.Hyundai sold a best-ever 70,907 units in May, including the company’s first all-new 2015 Sonata, which is produced at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s plant in Montgomery.

It marked the first time that Hyundai’s monthly U.S. sales topped 70,000 units. The previous all-time high was 69,728 units in March 2012. Both the Sonata and Elantra models, manufactured in Montgomery, topped 20,000 units in May.


Small business owner Stacia Robinson said that “networking is actually a skill and not a destination” during a speech at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Development mixer.

Speaking to an estimated crowd of 85 at the Chamber’s Small Business Resource Center, Robinson said that the attendees should not be selling their products or services at the mixer. “The goal should be meeting people you don’t know. The purpose of networking is a way to meet people, but the whole goal of meeting people is to establish credibility and gain trust.”

Robinson is the agency principal of The BeneChoice Companies.


Alan Wallace, a senior financial adviser and a principal for Ronald Blue & Co.’s branch office in Montgomery, received a personal invitation from the Secretary of the Air Force to attend a forum at Maxwell Air Force Base.

The 61st annual National Security Forum, which was at the Air War College, provided about 150 people the opportunity to meet with senior military leaders and discuss national and international security issues.


Jackson Thornton Asset Management and Warren Averett Asset Management, LLC were ranked as two of the Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Management Firms in the country, according to CNBC’s inaugural list.

The CNBC Digital team recognized Jackson Thornton Asset Management as No. 18 and Warren Averett Asset Management as the 24th firm among the Top 100 Fee-Only Firms in the nation. Jackson Thornton oversees $900 million while Warren Averett advises on assets of $1.7 billion-plus.

“We are very proud to be named to this list by CNBC,” George Smith, managing principal of Jackson Thornton Asset Management, said in a statement. “We appreciate the trust our clients have shown in us over the years and this is really a recognition of those long-term client relationships.”

“We strive to provide proactive, personal service by listening and fully comprehending our clients’ financial goals,” Josh Reidinger, president of Warren Averett Asset Management., said in a statement. “I’m excited that CNBC recognizes fee-only firms with comprehensive and collaborative services, not based on selling products, but helping our clients thrive and achieve their financial goals.”


The outdoor specialty store Gander Mountain will open a Montgomery location this fall in an existing 44,000-square-foot building in the Promenade Montgomery North shopping center.

“As a community comprised of avid outdoor enthusiasts and situated on some of America’s most pristine outdoor resources, we welcome Gander Mountain to the Capital of Dreams,” Strange said in a statement. “A high-caliber retailer of this type is a great addition to our city.”

This will be Gander Mountain’s eighth store in Alabama.


Montgomery beat out three other cities as the host site for the 2016 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Championships. And yes, it is a big deal with as many as 2,000 people staying in the city over a two-week period.

The estimated economic impact of the event is $2.5 million, according to Dawn Hathcock, vice president of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitor Bureau.

The tournament is tentatively scheduled for July 25-August 6, 2016 at The Multiplex at Cramton Bowl.


Community Action Partnership of North Alabama will build 25 to 75 homes for rent or lease to own on a 5-plus acre site at Lanier Place in West Montgomery. Strange said that the city is using Community Housing Development Organization funds for the project.


New York based-MarJam Supply Co. has purchased One Dexter Plaza and closed on the sale of four Dexter Avenue properties.

“We are looking forward to developing all our properties, making (One Dexter Plaza) a significant attraction to the people of Montgomery and the people who travel here,” attorney Jim Holiber told the Montgomery Advertiser.

The firm will now begin renovating the four Dexter Avenue buildings, which includes the former Kress site.

It is expected that the buildings will have retail on the first floor and loft apartments on the upper floors. MarJam, a building material distributor, created a new company – ELSAJA Dexter, LLC, to buy the properties.

“It will be exciting to watch these buildings come back to life,” Mac McLeod, director of business and commercial development for the City of Montgomery, said in a statement.

“The next few months will be a game changer for downtown Montgomery with additional retail and residential units becoming available in the block of Lower Dexter. This is a big win for the City of Montgomery.”


The Montgomery Public Schools district is reviewing its Career Academies and Montgomery Technical Education Center (MTEC).

It was recommended to the Montgomery County Board of Education that a Mechatronics Career Academy be established; a Pre-Engineering/Drafting Career Academy be established; a second Health Science Career Academy be created; Law and Public Safety Career Academy be moved to the former site of the Montgomery Mall; and a second Information Technology Career Academy be created.

It was also proposed that MTEC would provide the following programs: building science and construction; electrical technology; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; welding and metal fabrication; and advertising and design. MTEC would also be the home for the second IT and health and science programs and the site for the Law & Public Safety Career Academy.

The new Park Crossing High School would have Agriscience and Business Marketing Career Academies.


Strange received the Alabama Department of Tourism’s Government Advocate award, but gave all the credit to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and current and former community officials.

The award is for leading downtown development and preparing for next year’s 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. “While I am the mayor, I’m not doing a lot of that stuff,” Strange told the Montgomery Advertiser. “It is really done at the Chamber level (and) it is certainly done at our leadership level and throughout our community.”


Aronov Realty Management announced a new 800-acre subdivision between Ray Thorington Road and Park Crossing Boulevard. Ansley Lakes will have residential and retail. The development’s first phase will have 130 acres of residential and 18 acres of retail. Current plans include lakes, recreational areas, parks, green spaces and a swim club.

Ansley Lake will feature what Aronov Realty Management Chairman and CEO Jake Aronov called “village-style retail.”


EastChase is growing again. A 109-room, four-story Hilton Garden Inn will be built and there will be a new multi-tenant shopping center called EastChase Station.

The hotel will feature Hilton Garden Grill, 24-hour business center, state-of-the art fitness center, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and an outdoor seasonal pool.

“Adding Hilton Garden Inn to EastChase’s hospitality selections further solidifies the EastChase development as the region’s No. 1 retail and hotel destination,” Wil Wilson, president of Jim Wilson & Associates, said in a statement.

Jim Wilson & Associates and Alfa Realty Inc. sold a 2.7-acre parcel to Rams Hotels to build the Hilton Garden Inn.

The first business coming to EastChase Station is Kobe Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. The 7,300-square-foot restaurant, which is scheduled to open in the spring, features Hibachi cooking.

There will be more tenants announced, which are new to the region. EastChase Station, which has 16,000-plus square feet, is being developed by Terra Equities and Allen Hawkins. “Coming to EastChase was important and provides an outstanding venue for new and well-known retail venues,” Hawkins said in a statement.

A new thoroughfare is being developed – Selas Drive at the intersection of EastChase Parkway and EastChase Lane.

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