The long empty former Ruby Tuesday restaurant on Dauphin Street is finally under new ownership. Business partners Nazmi Ozokur and Billy Cox recently purchased the property for redevelopment.

“The first Island Wing Company (IWC) location was built August, 2012, in Auburn (Cox’s Alma Mater). It quickly became a favorite spot for locals, especially the AU Athletic Department. We have catered the entire Auburn Football team and Coaching Staff numerous times,” Ozokur said.

An interesting side note is that IWC promotes a healthier menu of baking wings vs. deep-frying. Flavors and textures are reputed to be equivalent to (if not better than) traditional sports bar fare.

“We opened our Gulf Shores and Destin locations last summer and have plans in place for more in Alabama, Mississippi and parts of Florida. The concept is taking off at the moment,” Ozokur said. Grand opening is projected for Labor Day weekend.

WSR happenings

Sharon Wright of White-Spunner Realty, Inc. has earned the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation from the CCIM Institute, one of the leading commercial real estate associations in the world. The designation was recently awarded at the CCIM Institute spring meetings in Nashville.

 Wright was among 187 commercial real estate professionals from around the country who earned the designation by passing the CCIM Comprehensive Examination, the final component in the designation process. Only about 6 percent of the estimated 150,000 commercial real estate practitioners around the globe hold the CCIM designation.

White-Spunner Realty (WSR) also announced the addition of Meredith L. McCarson to its residential sales team. Her focus will be in Mobile and the Saraland area.

“Meredith is a great fit for the Mobile market,” said Tracy Womack, a residential and commercial agent with WSR. “She will surely prove to be a contributing asset to the continued growth we are seeing in our division.”

Bel Air Mall under new ownership

Rouse Properties, headquartered in New York, is finalizing plans to purchase Bel Air Mall. The reported transaction is estimated to be set at $135.2 million. Bel Air Mall is the oldest enclosed mall in Alabama and currently has 130 stores under its roof.

The square footage vacated recently by Books-A-Million is currently being used as temporary space for Justice, a girl’s retail clothier until work on their contracted spot is completed.

“They are adding the Brothers concept for boys to their store and upgrades should be completed in a few months,” said Shelly Rehberg, Marketing Manager for Bel Air Mall.

Rehberg also noted that during her six years of working at the mall, ownership has changed hands twice. Contrary to expectations voiced by some media outlets she said, historically changes of ownership have virtually gone unnoticed.

“When Greenfield & Associates out of Atlanta bought the mall from Colonial Properties Trust out of Birmingham, the only thing that initially changed was our name and even that was eventually switched back. From a leasing standpoint, it is business as usual,” Rehberg said.

Dairy Queen expanding local footprint

Two of six planned Dairy Queens in the area will be opening this year according to Parker Pugh, VP of Moss Point-based K and P Investments Inc.

“Our very first DQ was opened on Denny Avenue in Pascagoula,” Pugh said. “The one on University Boulevard will be our second. Adding all the Alabama stores will make seven total,” Pugh said.

Expectations are to roll out all of them by 2016, adding roughly 240 jobs locally. Floor plans will hover around 3,200-square-feet except for the location replacing the iconic Krispy Kreme in MiMo, which will be 3,700-square-feet.

“I can understand the sentimental value of the old Krispy Kreme building, and we heavily considered doing a remodel, but with the old, deteriorating infrastructure, it left us no option but to start over from the ground up,” Pugh said.

“However, plans are for the Midtown store to also become a certified corporate training location in the southeast; drawing franchise trainees from around the country. The two closest centers now are in Panama City and Kansas City,” Pugh said.

Commercial real estate moves

Mike Reid of White-Spunner Realty recently sold the former Miracle of Prayer Church along with 4.5 acres on Hwy 43 in Grove Hill, AL for $175,000. Three buildings totaling approximately 20,000-square-feet are located on the property. Reid represented the seller, Bank of the Ozarks, as well as the buyer, G & G Enterprises, in the transaction.

According to Amber Dedeaux with Vallas Realty, a 5,379-square-foot commercial building located at 1716 Industrial Park Drive (just off Halls Mill Rd.) recently sold for $359,000. 4,396-square-feet is office space and 983-square-feet is for warehouse storage. The property sits on a 7.01-acre lot.

Ingalls reports First Quarter results

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) reported first quarter 2014 revenues of $1.59 billion, up 2.0 percent compared to the same period last year. This occurred even though sales revenues for the first quarter decreased $3 million, or 0.5 percent, from the same period in 2013. This was mainly driven by lower purchases of amphibious assault ships.

The aggregate net increase was primarily attributable to retiring of both the LPD-17 San Antonio-class (LPD) program and National Security Cutter (NSC) program.

New business awards for the quarter were approximately $2.2 billion, consisting primarily of contracts for continued construction of the CVN-79 John F. Kennedy and wrapping up the NSC program. Total backlog at the end of Q1 was $18.7 billion.

“Notwithstanding continued debate surrounding the defense budget and the impact of sequestration, HII has continued to maintain a healthy backlog and strong operating performance,” said Mike Petters, HII’s president and chief executive officer.

Key Ingalls highlights for the quarter were: LHA-6 America completing successful acceptance sea trials; receiving a $602 million contract modification to fund construction of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer DDG 119; receiving a $497 million contract to fund final work on the NSC-7 Kimball.

Mobile ranked 6th best in housing market conditions

As recently reported by Realtor Magazine, last week Movoto Blog released a list of the top mid-tier markets that currently offer some of the best conditions for home buyers.

It analyzed 100 cities throughout the country with a population size between 126,000 to 211,000. Factors evaluated included total homes for sale per capita; median days on the market; median income to median home price ratio; crime rate; school quality; and employment rate. Mobile ranked #6 on the list, wedged between McAllen, Texas and Naperville, Ill.

For a full list of cities, visit their website:
http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/mid-sized-cities-home-buyers/