Montgomery Business Journal

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March 2016

HAMPSTEAD UNVEILS SPECIAL HOME

Hampstead disclosed that its Southern Living Inspired home has four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and a lake view. It is scheduled to be open this spring.

MIXED BAG

The most upbeat sectors in the first quarter of the Alabama Business Confidence Index are manufacturing, health care, professional, scientific, technical services, financial, insurance and real estate.

Those are the findings of a quarterly survey conducted by The University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research in the Culverhouse College of Commerce.

In contrast, the retail trade sector is bracing for a weak first quarter with an overall index of 39.1, a decline of 5.6 points from the 2015 fourth quarter. That compares with an overall index of about 55.0 for the most optimistic sectors, including an 8.6-point gain for manufacturing. The sector index reflects the outlook for sales, profit, hiring and capital spending. An index of less than 50 denotes contraction.

GRADUATION RATE RISING

Alabama’s high school graduation rate jumped in the 2014-2015 school year, climbing to 89 percent.

That is up from 72 percent in 2012, according to the Alabama Department of Education, which has a set goal of reaching a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020 – which is part of State Superintendent Tommy Bice’s Plan 2020.

IMPORTANT FIRST LEG

The first phase of the Outer Loop, which connects Vaughn Road to Interstate 85, has been completed. The new four-mile section is State Route 108. It cost $150 million.

The Outer Loop is a $500 million, 20-mile project that would connect Interstate 85 and Interstate 65.

AIRPORT GROWTH STORY CONTINUES

The Montgomery Regional Airport had its second straight year of passenger increases with a 4 percent gain in 2015. Any growth year-over-year is a reason to celebrate, but in this case it has even greater significance. It marks the first time since 1999 and 2000 that the airport had increased passenger traffic in consecutive years.

The airport had about 175,000 passenger enplanements in 2015. “The continuous growth is in line with goals that the (Montgomery Regional Airport) Authority and our team set for ourselves,” Phil Perry, executive director of the Montgomery Regional Airport, said in a statement. “Furthermore, working closely with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce has allowed the Authority to leverage our limited resources to enjoy maximum benefit.  Indeed, the partnership between the Authority and the Chamber has never been stronger.”

GROUP RANKS SYKES ANNOUNCEMENT

Site Selection Group has identified the Top 25 Onshore & Offshore Call Center Deals of 2015 and Montgomery tied for No. 16 with the Sykes announcement of 500 new jobs. The rankings did not include expansions of existing businesses.

BAPTIST HEALTH NEW ADDITION

It’s official. The $5.5 million, 20,000 square-foot addition of women’s services postpartum unit and the new ICU step-down unit at Baptist Medical Center East has opened.

The facility was 36 births from being ranked fourth in the state in 2013.

NEW DIGITAL TOOLS

The City of Montgomery and First Transit introduced new digital tools for public transportation.

There is now a Google Transit Trip Planner and the TransLoc Rider app. Both are available for free. The Google Transit Trip Planner is a feature on the website www.montgomerytransit.com.

A GROWTH STORY

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United first planned to double its revenue in 10 years, but it now is looking to triple revenue by 2017 after a series of acquisitions that doubled production centers. The firm added more than two dozen distribution centers, including one in Montgomery.

The Montgomery Coca-Cola Bottling Co. operates out of an 850,000-square-foot facility near the Montgomery Regional Airport. There are 284 employees.

HYUNDAI RANKED NO.1

Hyundai was the top-ranked automaker in the 2015 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer & Vehicle Reliability Rankings of manufacturers and vehicles with the lowest combined check engine repair incidents and costs.

The index ranks the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles, top three vehicles by vehicle category and common repairs by vehicle make. The 2015 index is based on 250,000-plus recommended repairs.

Rounding out the top five were (in order) Toyota, Honda, Ford and Chrysler. Finishing six to 10 in order were Kia, General Motors, Mazda, Nissan and Volkswagen.

WALMART OPENS FIRST OF TWO STORES

Walmart, which had announced the closure of 154 stores, has opened its first of two neighborhood stores in Montgomery. The first opening is on Federal Drive and the company was scheduled to open a second neighborhood store in early March near Vaughn and Taylor roads in East Montgomery.

Those are the first two Walmart neighborhood stores in Montgomery and are only 25 percent as large as a supercenter.

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