The 14,000-square-foot historic Antoinette building, parked on 29,400-square-feet of foundation formerly home to Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame author Augusta Evans Wilson, possibly sits primed as a future epicenter of an imminent downtown residential revival, according to owner Debra Baumhauer.

Recently used as the backdrop for several scenes in the Nicholas Cage-headlining “Rage” film, the 104-year-old, two-story building may play a much larger role in reality by dispelling the stigma of a downtown too dangerous to inhabit for upwardly mobile Mobilians.

“The biggest question I’ve heard (and still hear) when my husband and I moved downtown from our home of 27 years in Spring Hill was ‘are you safe?’ My answer has always been a resounding yes,” Baumhauer said.

With developer Pace Burt’s recent acquisition of 951 Government St. almost directly across the street being converted into 48 high-end apartments with a bottom floor slated for an upscale restaurant, Baumhauer expects curb appeal around the vicinity to grow exponentially in the near future.

“Having 951 under development as well as the historic Protestant Children’s Home, almost around the corner from here — being renovated by the Historic Restoration Society — you can feel a new excitement in the area. I feel like we were ahead of the curve when purchasing and renovating this place last year. A lot of work, the building has good bones and has been a labor of love,” she said.

With two units still on the market, a 2,000-square-foot unit downstairs listed at $325,000 and a 2,500-square-foot upstairs space going for $349,000, the majority of serious interest has been seen by out-of-towners from larger cities (Austin and Atlanta), possibly because no preconceived notions exist by suitors already used to an upscale, urban lifestyle.

“The property is somewhat of a challenge to price relative to the market because it is so unique. There’s nothing else like it in Mobile,” Ashley McLean of LLB&B Real Estate Inc. said. “I live in Oakleigh, not too far removed from the activity occurring on that block of Government Street. As a realtor and resident, I can tell you there’s a palpable energy felt here from all the work in downtown and look forward to the transformation soon to undoubtedly occur,”

Commercial real estate moves
The Paul Carter Agency recently closed on the sale of 16 acres of land at 9600 Moffett Road in Semmes. The sale price was $220,000 and the property is located just west of McCrary Road, about a mile before Snow Road. The seller was Moffett Road Baptist Church. The buyer was Southern Colonel Homes, which plans to open a retail sales lot for manufactured homes around the beginning of March. 

“Southern Colonel already has locations in Mississippi and decided to add an additional location in our area due to high public demand,” Paul Carter, president of the Paul Carter Agency said. Twenty-two manufactured home models are planned to be on display upon opening.

Locally owned sports and recreation outlet Spoke ‘N Trail is moving from its long time location at 3315 Old Shell Road on the Beltline, to the former Red or White location at 1801 Old Shell Road, at the intersection of Kenneth Street/Mobile Infirmary Drive and across the street from the Dew Drop Inn. Doors are expected to be open at the new locale early next week.

The Beltline property was recently purchased for $595,000 by local investors and plans are in place for the 8,000-square-foot building to be converted into office space for LLB&B Real Estate and Title Guaranty. Melissa Morrissette of LLB&B represented the buyer and Jeremy Milling of Milling Commercial Realty worked for the seller.

Bob Pope, owner of the Yardarm Restaurant located on Fairhope municipal pier, has confirmed that he is selling the well-known eatery to Rick Gambino, owner of Gambino’s Italian Grill in Fairhope. According to Gambino, the restaurant will have a new name and an oyster bar theme upon reopening.

Huntington Ingalls donates $102,000 to Gulf Coast schools
Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) recently announced that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division has awarded more than $102,000 in grants for 28 projects at schools and educational organizations in Alabama and Mississippi.

The grants, which were requested by the organizations, will be used for projects associated with the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program. This is the seventh year for Ingalls’ STEM partnership. The company has awarded more than $609,000 for STEM-related projects during that period.

The 2015 STEM grants in Alabama include: $4,782 in funds to Baker High School used to purchase physics equipment necessary to perform experiments in the physics and math classrooms; $5,000 given to BEST (Boosting Engineering Science and Technology) — a volunteer-driven robotics program that impacts schools in Mississippi and Alabama.

The donation will be used to help sponsor a robotics competition for students that is held annually in Mobile; $3,113 donated to Erwin Craighead Elementary School towards the Junior Master Gardner Program that is used as a vehicle to involve students in science and math through gardening; $1,200 allocated to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School to implement a Lego robotics program for students in grades 3 to 5.

Aerofest Indy Ride held in support for military veterans
Mobile Aerofest announced in a recent press release joining with the Independence Fund and the Gary Sinise Foundation to provide a group of more than 100 injured veterans and caregivers from across the country to meet in Mobile to participate in the inaugural AeroFest Independence “Indy” Ride on March 21. 

The ride will begin in Bayou La Batre and conclude at the Mobile Aerofest at the Brookley Aeroplex. It is expected to have more than 1,000 participating riders. The Aerofest, which is open to the public and scheduled for March 20-21 is expected to draw over 30,000 guests. ​

“The Mobile Aerofest, commencing with the Independence Ride that starts in Bayou LaBatre and concludes at the Mobile Aeroplex, represents a totally new concept for a socially conscious large scale event,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement. “It will bring veterans, active duty and the larger community together around world class music, food and entertainment to support our wounded heroes. I am confident that Aerofest will be a landmark event in our region for years to come.”