Real estate developer Pace Burt met with residents of the Oakleigh Historic District last Friday to answer any lingering questions about his approved redevelopment of 951 Government St. The Mobile Planning Commission approved the project Oct. 6, which will convert the eight-story former office building into 48 apartments with a first-floor commercial space. 

Burt, who has completed similar commercial-to-multi-family-residential renovations elsewhere in the Southeast, said he plans to invest about $4 million in the project and the resulting one-bedroom apartments will likely rent for about $1,000 per month. There will also be a handful of apartments larger than one bedroom.

Burt received both state and federal historical redevelopment tax credits for the project, which he hopes to complete in about nine months. The 20 or so residents in attendance last week largely approved of the plan and applauded Burt’s efforts. He plans to eliminate a parking area on the east side of the building to create a more attractive buffer, and windows will be replaced to meet historical guidelines. 

“We’re excited about being a part of the neighborhood,” Burt said, adding that he is looking at other potential projects in Mobile such as possibly restoring the Old Shell Road School and another on Broad Street.

Historic St. Francis Street UMC up for sale

Historically significant St. Francis Street United Methodist Church was recently put up for sale for $320,000 by Burton Clark with Cummings & Associates Inc. Located at the south west corner of North Joachim and St. Francis Street, the church was originally built in 1896. It was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1984.

The two-story structure is roughly 10,000-square-feet with an adjoining 6,000-square-foot education building with courtyard erected in 1960. The property sits on a 17,000-square-foot site and all pews, pianos and organs remain along with furnishings.

According to documents, the building is the last remaining example of a Victorian religious structure in the city and history associated with the church’s original congregation – dating back to 1824 – gives insight into the spread of Methodism in 19th century Mobile. Also of import, church member and Mobile native Rubert Hargrove became the first Alabamian elected as bishop.

Services were last held in 1993 due to an aging congregation and westward growth of the city. Artifacts dating back to the 1840s with items on display in the archives room are on the property. A small endowment was created by Mrs. Walter Bellingrath (of gardens fame) and the church owns a small parish house valued at $80,000, which will also be sold soon.  

911 Dauphin St. to be renamed “Cotton Hall”

911 Dauphin Street was recently purchased for $440,000 by the Historic Restoration Society (HRS).
Intentions are to invest an additional $3 million on restoration and future improvements, scheduled to begin in the next 30 days. The property sits on 2.4 acres and consists of approximately 18,000-square-feet of structure. The property is one of the largest remaining tracts primed for restoration in the heart of Mobile’s Old Dauphin Way Historic District, according to Jay Roberds of NAI Mobile, who is coordinating the restoration efforts.

“911 Dauphin Street, the Protestant Children’s Asylum, is one of the most evocative architectural ensembles in Mobile,” Cartledge Blackwell, architectural historian for the Mobile Historical Development Commission said. “The property’s acquisition by the HRS saves the fire-damaged and vagrant-plagued landmark from further deterioration, if not ruin. The Old Dauphin Way Historic District, where the building stands, along with the adjacent Oakleigh Garden District and Lower Dauphin Commercial District will also benefit from the restoration.”

The three-story main building was completed in 1845 and housed an orphanage established by Mobile’s five principle protestant dominations. Designed by a Philadelphia architect named Henry Moffat, the brick structure is one of only a handful of surviving antebellum orphanages found nationwide. The expansive lot upon which the building stands is one of the largest in Mobile’s historic districts, according to Blackwell.

The compound will now serve as a meeting place and den for the Infant Mystics, Mobile’s second oldest Mardi Gras organization. They were established in 1867 and first paraded in 1869.

With founding members of the Infant Mystics historically reputed to be immersed in the cotton trade, it is apropos that the building has newly been dubbed “Cotton Hall.”

Commercial Real Estate Moves

The 4,000-square-foot former Hancock Bank Branch located at 30723 U.S. Highway 181, Spanish Fort on a 1.24 acre site recently sold for $1.2 million to Trustmark Bank. Stirling Properties represented the seller and Vallas Realty, Inc. worked for the buyer according to Roslyn Pellegrin, marketing coordinator for Stirling Properties.

The newly remodeled Midtown Mart Shopping Center located at 3055 Dauphin St. has leased a 7,227-square-foot retail space to Virginia’s Health Food Store, a 15,700-square-foot area to Planet Fitness, and a 1,250-square-foot office space to Viva Health Care. Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates, Inc. handled all of the transactions.

The new tenants are expected to open in 2015 after their interior build outs are complete. The shopping center is now fully leased, according to Cummings.

John Delchamps, associate broker with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. represented Davis & Associates (tax & financial services company) franchisee for a two year lease at 3170 Dauphin St. (Dauphin Square Shopping Center) on a 1,200-square-foot office property. Matt Cummings of Cummings & Associates, Inc. worked for the landlord.

Tacky Jacks located at 1175 Battleship Parkway is closing Oct. 19th after four years in business. The restaurant is 6,534-square-feet, has an outdoor deck area of 4,387-square-feet and a total seating capacity of 270 with room for expansion. The entire site sits on 2.8 acres. John Vallas with Vallas Realty has been engaged to market the property.

“Initial interest has been very strong and we are already negotiating with one operator that has a presence in New Orleans,” Vallas said.

Lewis Golden with The Drummond Group, Inc. recently sold a 4,620-square-foot historic 8-unit apartment building at 957 Dauphin St. for $209,000. The building was designed by local architect Harry Inge Johnstone. Golden represented the out-of-state seller and assisted the local investor-buyer as a transaction broker. Melissa Chason and Ferrell Anders of Anders, Boyett & Brady handled the closing.