The University of South Alabama Foundation, on Thursday, announced plans to sell 290 acres it owns between Mobile Bay and the city’s downtown airport at the Brookley Aeroplex.
In a letter of intent, the foundation agrees to sell the property to 24/7 Development Partners of Alabama LLC for $45 million, according to a statement released Thursday. The foundation will retain about 30 acres of wetlands and an additional 10 acres around them.
That property will be kept free of commercial development and it could become the basis for an eco-friendly park, according to the foundation. The letter of intent also states that 24/7 Development has expressed intentions to “substantially preserve” the property’s shoreline as well as an additional 10 acres of wetlands included in the sale.
The foundation acquired the property in 2010 and later established objectives to help it remain a valuable asset, and it is currently one of the largest and only undeveloped pieces of property on Mobile’s waterfront. Foundation Board of Directors President John McMillan said an audit and investment committee evaluated a number of options for the land before accepting this one.
“As foundation board members, we have a legal duty to use each of our assets to the fullest, in order to further our mission of supporting the University [of South Alabama],” McMillan said in the statement. “We believe we can do that in a way that also benefits the environment, the city of Mobile and the larger community.”
While it is unclear what developers plan to use the property for, McMillan indicated that some light industry could be part of the plan. He went on to say that could help spur economic growth.
“The proper development of this property can bring new businesses to the Mobile area and encourage existing ones to expand,” McMillan added. “With light industry and a mixed-use approach, as envisioned by the prospective buyer, this roughly 300-acre site can complement what is already a vibrant Brookley Aeroplex.”
Chris Pfeiffer, a local real estate developer, and four other individuals make up the principals of 24/7 Development Partners of Alabama, according to brookleyproperty.org. Nick Reader, the principal owner of the PDQ restaurant brand, which had a location near the University of South Alabama, is also listed as part of the development group. The same development company was listed as the buyer for St. Joseph Church on Springhill Avenue downtown.
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