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Mobile Bay Economic Snapshot - January 2018

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Snapshot Overview by Dr. Reid Cummings

Dr. Reid Cummings

Greetings, and welcome to the January 2018 Mobile Bay Economic Snapshot.

One of the best things about each New Year’s arrival is that it most often comes with a welcome, fresh sense of promise and hope. While a bit of nostalgia always lingers, no sooner than the whistle ends the last New Year’s Day bowl game do we start looking to what lies ahead in 2018. Please join us for a small bit of the same.

Last spring, Walmart broke ground on their $135 million dollar import distribution center in Theodore. One of only six such facilities operated by the company in the U.S., it will contain approximately 2.5 million square feet. With completion expected in early 2018, Walmart will employ as many as 550 workers.

Last summer, the Poarch Creek Band of Indians opened OWA in Foley. The $550 million dollar Park of OWA theme park features dozens of rides and one of the country’s longest roller coasters. The park’s impressive early success led to its recent award by the Alabama Tourism Department as Attraction of the Year. Additional related development came from the City of Foley’s adjacent $40 million sports complex and event center.

When Carnival Cruise Lines restarted its Mobile cruise departures in November 2016 after an absence of over six years, Mobile city officials were optimistic for the company’s success. So far, it seems things are working out well. Early last fall, the Mobile City Council approved extending Carnival’s contract through November 2018.

Late last fall, Amazon opened its $30 million dollar, 362,000 square feet sortation center in Theodore. Though the company does not publicly announce hiring, early indications were that permanent employees would number as many as 300. During the holiday season, the company added hundreds more part-time workers.

Exciting things are likely on the horizon at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Airbus recently announced its acquisition of a 50.01% stake in Canadian-based Bombardier’s C-series aircraft. Although no plans are official, expectations are that Airbus will construct a second production line to assemble the new, smaller jets. An estimated 500 new jobs will increase total direct employment at the plant to over 1,500 workers.

A recent hot topic for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach residents and business owners is concern about how to relieve the area’s traffic congestion problems. Part of the discussion includes one of two possible new bridges. One bridge would cross the Intracoastal Waterway, the other would cross Wolf Bay.  

Perhaps the most impactful project for our area continues to be the Mobile River Bridge project. Although the process has seemed extended at times, it appears to have gained some momentum of late. The Alabama Department of Transportation recently announced it had received four responses for the $850 million dollar project’s proposed Public-Private Partnership. After evaluation is completed, ALDOT will invite those on its Short List of Proposers to submit project proposals in 2018.

So much done, so much more to do! Until next time, from everyone at the Center, we wish you and yours all of the best in 2018.

Sources: ALDOT, AL.com, World Bank, City of Foley

Reid Cummings Signature





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