Jared Irby, president of Irby LLC, a Mobile-based real estate development and investment company, along with local investor Clark Kelly reported the acquisition of Saramont Apartments, a 46,800-square-foot, 64-unit apartment complex at 804 Highway 43 in Saraland, directly across the highway from the Alorica Saraland call center, a major area employer. 

The complex consists of 56 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedrooms units. The purchase price exceeded $1 million. Buyers intend to extensively renovate the property over the next six months with capital investments expected to exceed $500,000. 

One upgrade under consideration is taking advantage of brand new wind mitigation discounts for property insurance offered under the Alabama Department of Insurance. The discounts may be attained by using construction standards that strengthen commercial and residential structures against hurricanes, straight-line winds and small tornadoes.

“Currently the complex is only 60 percent occupied, but after renovations we plan to get the word out locally with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting and grand reopening, as well as having our investment company directly manage the property. Saramont is one of the larger apartment complexes in that area,” Irby said.

• Eagle Marine Contracting is leasing 2,500 square feet of office space located at 26374 Pollard Road, Suite B, in Daphne. Angie McArthur, leasing broker with Stirling Properties, handled the transaction.

• Per city records, plans are in place for the owners of Surf Style Shop, at 101 West Beach Blvd. in Gulf Shores, to construct a new 10,600-square-foot retail store after leveling the existing structure.

• Waterman-Smith I LLC has purchased the Wells Fargo Bank Building, a 64,026-square-foot, class A office building at 61 St. Joseph St. in Mobile, for $2.35 million. Jill Meeks and Nathan Handmacher, leasing executives with Stirling Properties, handled the transaction.

• According to Leigh Dale Younce and Buff Teague of JLL, Wilmington, North Carolina-based franchise Clean Eatz has leased some 2,800 square feet of restaurant space at 7335 Airport Blvd. An end-of-the-year opening is planned.

• Red or White Wine & Gourmet Center will occupy 2,852 square feet of waterfront space on the ground floor of Levin’s Bend, Suite D-128, at The Wharf with a targeted opening later this month. This will be the third location for Red or White in the coastal Alabama region, according to a news release, with existing sites in Mobile and Fairhope. 

The locally owned company features a wide variety of globally sourced retail wine selections, as well as a wine and tapas bar with an original menu and unique environment. Jeff Barnes, leasing broker with Stirling Properties, handled the lease transaction.

Mobile Airport Authority hires Curry
According to a news release, Chris Curry, director of aviation with Tallahassee International Airport, has accepted the job as executive director of the Mobile Airport Authority. He submitted his resignation letter to the city last week and plans to relocate to Mobile next month. 

Curry spent three years in Tallahassee and helped with the airport’s international designation effort, including a name change in 2015. He was credited with laying the groundwork at Tallahassee International for enhancing the airport’s reputation as a major airways business connector. 

During his tenure, the Florida airport’s economic impact reportedly increased by $55 million. Passenger use rose from 696,000 in 2013 to a projected 740,000 this year.

Curry was Florida’s only African-American airport director and one of just nine at commercial service airports across the country. He previously served as executive director of the Collier County Airport Authority in Southwest Florida, which oversees three general aviation airports.

Curry was offered an annual base salary of $225,000 in Mobile, which includes 10 percent increases and bonuses, according to the Mobile Airport Authority human resources department. In Tallahassee he earned substantially less at $158,000, according to reports.

An Air Force veteran, the 53-year-old Curry managed a staff of 50 in Tallahassee and an annual budget of $11.5 million.