Montgomery Business Journal

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Summer 15


Regions Bank will provide another $1.5 billion this year to the Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool program it launched in 2013.

Haynes Ambulance of Alabama used money from Regions’ loan pool to bring back air ambulance service to Montgomery and 10 nearby counties. The funding enabled the company to buy a medical helicopter and hire 15 employees, including four pilots.

“We fly an average of more than 40 patients a month,” Haynes Ambulance of Alabama CEO Kirk Barrett said in a statement. “Many of those patients wouldn’t have a chance without a service like this available.”

Companies may contact a Regions Bank branch for information.


Although already outdated because of the addition of a third crew, third shift of nearly 900 employees, a 2011 study concluded that Hyundai’s annual economic impact of its manufacturing plant in Montgomery and nationwide dealerships is $7 billion-plus. The figures were compiled by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

Hyundai generates 94,000 direct, indirect and spin-off jobs, according to CAR and $5.9 billion in annual wages. The majority of the direct jobs – 28,000 – are from Hyundai dealerships.


The Hyundai Elantra, which is produced at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, was the eighth best-selling vehicle in March
with 28,794 units.

The top three vehicles were in order: Ford F-Series (67,706 units); Chevrolet Silverado (45,193 units); and Ram Pickup (41,595). Rounding out the Top 5 were Toyota Camry (40,800 units); and Toyota Corolla/Matrix (35,532 units).


TrueCar increased its vehicle sales forecast by 100,000 units to 17.1 million for 2015 after a strong first quarter and bullish economic indicators. First-quarter sales were the best since 2001 and revenue was a record-setting $128 billion, an increase of 8.4 percent from the same period a year ago.

At 17.1 million units, it would be the best year for new vehicle sales since 17.4 million in 2005 and the first time to reach 17 million since 2006.


Belk department store has hired Goldman Sachs and is looking at a possible sale. The Charlotte, N.C.-based chain may contact Macy’s and Nordstrom, according to Reuters. In a statement from the company, Belk wrote “… that we have an obligation to consider whether there are alternatives to our current plans that would provide a better return for our stockholders.”

The company bought Parisian nearly 10 years ago.


A 119-room hotel with eight suites, an event center, a salon and a new gaming floor with 2,100-plus electric bingo machines are all part of a $65 million expansion to Creek Casino Montgomery.

The Poarch Creek Indian Gaming Authority also announced a partnership with Beal Street Blues Co. Inc., which will include Lucille’s Restaurant, a fast-casual eatery and Itta Bena Restaurant, a 195-seat upscale restaurant. There will be nightly entertainment at BB King’s Restaurant.
“Montgomery’s hometown casino is about to get even better,” Jake Carlton, property manager for Creek Casino Montgomery, said in a statement.

The project is scheduled to be completed early next year.


It may seem like it was a short time ago, but the Montgomery Biscuits opened their 12th season at Riverwalk Stadium in downtown Montgomery. It was also a record-setting game for the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Biscuits, who defeated Chattanooga with a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, struck out 20 batters to eclipse the previous record of 18.

The Biscuits, who drew 5,801 fans to their home opener, have been averaging around 250,000 fans a year for the past four years.

Riverwalk Stadium is often cited as a catalyst for downtown redevelopment.


Creating a one-stop shop for workforce development information and funding 44 K-12 career coaches were among the recommendations the Alabama Workforce Council submitted to Gov. Robert Bentley.

In its 64-page report, the workforce council also recommends creating a statewide career fair and trade show strategy; developing a best practices guide from public/private partnerships; establishing a statewide data system to provide businesses information about education and workforce trends; and establishing a more streamlined structure to coordinate and manage workforce development.


The state’s economy is now expected to grow 2.5 percent this year, up from an earlier forecast of 2.3 percent. The University of Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research in the Culverhouse College of Commerce said the state’s gross domestic product should increase by about $190 billion.

The employment picture is improving with an increase of 28,600 jobs from March 2014 to March 2015. The services sector, which includes professional and business services (8,400 jobs), leisure and hospitality (6,700 jobs) and educational and health services (5,700 jobs) gained 27,300 of the jobs.

There were gains in the public sector as well. The state added 600 jobs and local government entities gained 550 jobs. The federal government, however, had a decline of 200 jobs.


The Air Force has decided to keep eight C-130 planes at Maxwell Air Force Base through 2020 after an analysis. The transport planes are part of the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell.

“The Air Force’s report confirms what we had suspected all along: Relocating Maxwell’s C-130s didn’t meet the Air Force’s cost-savings goals,” U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said in a statement. “By requiring the Air Force to conduct and provide an actual cost-benefit analysis, we were able to stop an arbitrary reshuffling of aircraft that would have disrupted the important mission there at Maxwell.”

The Air Force had proposed relocating the C-130s at Maxwell a few years ago, but the Montgomery legislative delegation convinced the Air Force to leave the planes here.

The report does recommend reducing the C-130 aircraft by 60 units over the next three years.


The Alabama Department of Commerce has promoted Ted Clem to director of business development.

“In his role as director of business development, Ted will lead the expansion and recruitment efforts of the division and will serve as a valued member of the senior management team for the state’s primary economic development agency,” Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said in a statement.

Clem, who was hired in February 2014 as a senior project manager, was the acting director of business development.


The Montgomery Theater, now known as the Webber Building, was sold for $1 to ELSAJA Dexter 71. That firm owns the adjacent building as well as other buildings on Lower Dexter Avenue including One Court Square.

The Webber Building was under renovation when it partially collapsed. ELSAJA will deconstruct the building and has agreed to use materials including timbers, cast iron and masonry in its other projects.

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said during a City Council meeting that ELSAJA is investing $40 million to $50 million to renovate its downtown properties.


Although it’s in its infancy, educators along with Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean Sr. and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange are discussing a full-service community school.

An existing school would be transformed into a community school, but it would remain part of the Montgomery Public Schools district. It is not a charter school. The primary differences are having a community school coordinator and agency partners at the school that meet the needs of the students and parents in the community.

There could be additional learning opportunities as well as in-school tutoring and enrichment. The school day and year could be expanded. There may be a health and wellness center at the school and a site for community meetings as well as various agencies.

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