After 13 months of preparation, the efforts to consolidate Alabama Southern Community College, Faulkner State Community College and Jefferson Davis Community College are now completed in Bay Minette.

According to a news release, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) voted to approve the consolidation of the three institutions. Additionally, the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to move forward with the development of the new Coastal Alabama Community College effective Jan.11, 2017.

“Each of the colleges has been proudly serving their communities for more than 50 years,” Dr. Gary Branch, president of Coastal Alabama Community College, said. “This is not a new mission for our colleges; however, it is a new beginning for Coastal Alabama Community College.”

Serving more than 10,000 students, Coastal Alabama will provide more than 100 programs of study across 15 campuses and instructional sites, with Bay Minette serving as the regional main campus.

“We will serve communities from the Mississippi line to the Florida line,” Branch said.

Coastal Alabama was the result of a decision to expand program offerings, student leadership opportunities and course availability to students in its multi-county service area.

In 2016, committees with representation from all three of the previous colleges met to develop policies and procedures for the consolidated college. Committees for student services, instruction/academic affairs and technology services were developed.

Last week nearly 400 full-time employees participated in the first professional development meeting for Coastal Alabama, held on the Bay Minette campus. Dr. Branch welcomed all to the kick-off meeting. Jimmy Baker, acting chancellor for the Alabama Community College System, and Al Thompson, vice president of the system’s board of trustees, also welcomed the group.

Employees heard updates from various departments at the new college during a working lunch. Afterward attendees broke into small groups to network and become familiarized with the college’s various units.

“Together, we will continue providing students across South Alabama with an affordable and accessible higher education experience while expanding workforce development opportunities for our students and our communities.” Branch said.

Commercial real estate moves
Wedgie’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, a new locally owned eatery, recently set up shop at 5955 Old Shell Road at the former Picklefish location across from the Mitchell Center on the University of South Alabama campus. The concept was developed about one year ago by owner and South Alabama alum Jeff Marcus. The building is approximately 3,000 square feet with a 1,300-square-foot brick-walled deck. The property also underwent upwards of $110,000 in new renovations prior to reopening.

“I started South in 1977 and in 1978 got a job as a bartender in that building. It was called Jags at the time and was one-third of the size it is now. I met my wife there in 1979 while bartending. We have been happily married ever since,” Marcus said
HydroChem, an industrial cleaning services company, recently leased a 5,000-square-foot warehouse and two acres of yard space at 220 Baldwin Road in the Cain Industrial Park in Satsuma. David Dexter and Pete Riehm of NAI Mobile brokered the transaction.

Gulf Coast Beads recently opened for business, according to owner Chuck McKay. The retailer offers beads, balls, serpentines, cups, light ups, and numerous trinkets in a roughly 1,200-square-foot retail space at 5017-B Cottage Hill Road, situated a few doors down from B&B Pet Stop.

John Delchamps with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. represented a local investor who purchased a 6,000-square-foot office and warehouse space in Rangeline Business Park for $480,000. Ralph Neal of Inge Real Estate worked for the seller.

Pottery Barn, a member of the Williams-Sonoma Inc. portfolio of brands, will be opening in Legacy Village in Mobile on Jan. 27. The retailer will be hosting an in-store event for shoppers on Jan. 26 prior to the official opening day, from 6-8 p.m., offering refreshments, a look at the brand’s newest collection and retail discounts.

Delta Disaster Services, a Colorado-based disaster response and property restoration company, has leased 7,500 square feet of office and warehouse space at 5465-A Business Parkway in Theodore and plans to be operational by April. Tony Cooper of Berkshire Hathaway Cooper & Co. represented the landlord. Kenny Nichols of Vallas Realty worked for the tenant.

Per a news release, Star Aviation, located in Mobile at 2150 Michigan Ave. in Brookley, is expanding its manufacturing division and is in the process of constructing a new 24,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its existing property.

Mobile-based Middle Bay Transportation LLC, a new agent-based intermodal drayage provider, began operations in January. The firm is launching operations with locations in Memphis and Norfolk with an eye toward expansion into additional markets. The firm is a full-service intermodal drayage carrier and full transportation broker providing port and inland drayage for all types of cargo. Services include intermodal, over-the-road, domestic, dedicated, van and flat-bed services.

“We are focused on partnerships and teamwork. We are very sincere about being the best in the industry, and to doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of our agents and customers,” said Wade Glenn, company vice president. The company is opening with three employees and 20 drivers, with plans to add additional employees as the company grows. The firm is actively looking for additional agents across the United States.

Dunn Building Co., a design-build general contractor which opened its Mobile office three years ago, has purchased the assets of local company Keith Mosley Construction.

“We have great respect for Keith and the excellence with which he operates his company,” Allan Gustin, Dunn’s Mobile-area manager, said. “We feel this purchase was the perfect addition for us.”

Dunn provides low-rise steel-framed buildings with concrete foundations for clients as well as designing, furnishing and erecting steel buildings for other contractors. Its client base includes lower Alabama, southern Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. The Birmingham-headquartered company was founded in 1878.