Helsinki, Finland-based Kemira recently announced it is investing an additional $70.8 million in its Mobile facility. The company is a global polymer producer serving the pulp and paper, oil and gas, and water treatment industries.
The project will create 20 new jobs, expanding Kemira’s local workforce by 32 percent, to handle new process operations, increased logistics and the support functions at the site. New construction will begin this year and the additions will be online and operational by 2021.
“We are very excited about Kemira’s decision to expand operations in Mobile County to meet customer demand. Their additional $70 million capital investment and 20 jobs further demonstrates Mobile’s growing attraction for foreign direct investment,” Mobile County Commission President Connie Hudson said.
The existing lower Alabama site opened in 1938, initially focused on the area’s lumber, pulp and paper businesses. Over time, the facility began serving the wider industrial water treatment industry and more recently the oil and gas industry.
“We are expanding on our current footprint and will significantly increase production to meet our customers’ demand in the oil and gas industry,” Richard Ryder, Mobile plant manager for Kemira, said.
Kemira focuses on adding quality, functionality and strength to paper and board products, facilitates the safety and hygiene of water and food packaging and maximizes yield from energy resources. Mobile is one of three Kemira facilities in the U.S.; the other sites are located in Columbus, Georgia, and Aberdeen, Mississippi. Kemira’s Americas headquarters is in Atlanta.
“This expansion by Kemira is about more than just jobs — it’s about a global company reinvesting in our city and renewing a relationship that dates back more than 80 years. When existing businesses are thriving in combination with new jobs and investment, that’s a winning formula,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.
In 2018, Kemira had annual revenue of around 2.6 billion euros and 4,915 employees. Kemira shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.
Business moves, transactions
• Cunningham Head, LLC, has received permission to begin a beachfront condominium development project, called Sea Glass, on the Alabama Gulf Coast. The complex is reportedly one of only a few beachfront sites allowed to be directly built on the beach in Gulf Shores in the past decade.
The site is in close proximity to the Gulf Place Entertainment District and will have 200 feet of beach frontage. This four-story development will consist of 51 one- and two-bedroom units, most of which will have media rooms. The complex will also offer a resort-style pool, covered parking and direct beach access.
The development is situated less than one mile west of Highway 59. Prices start in the $300,000s. General contractor for the project is Gaillard Builders Inc. and the architect is Henry Norris and Associates. The project is expected to break ground in March and is marketed by Bob Shallow with RE/MAX Paradise in Orange Beach.
• John Delchamps with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. reported Glazed Doughnuts is now leasing some 1,000 square feet of retail space in Olympic Plaza, 7251 Theodore Dawes Road in Theodore, near a Walmart Neighborhood Market. The confectionary plans to open this spring. Angie McArthur with Stirling Properties, worked for the landlord in the transaction. Delchamps represented the tenant.
• The owners of the former Vrazel Chemical building recently sold the 8,000 square foot historic warehouse property, located at 11 N. Broad St. in Mobile, to a local investor. Lewis H. Golden Hamilton & Co. handled the transaction. “The purchaser of this building plans to stabilize the structure and possibly rent out the street frontage portion as part of the revitalization of Broad Street,” Golden said.
• Some two acres of property located directly in front of the Publix-anchored Saraland Crossings Shopping Center, at 21 Shell St. in Saraland, has been acquired by Madison, Mississippi-based Mugshots Grill & Bar. Plans are in place to build a 7,000-square-foot new eatery on the site, slated to open sometime in 2019. JLL represented the Mugshots franchise in the transaction.
• Scrubs By Zoghby’s, a locally owned uniform store, has leased some 1,500 square feet of retail space located inside the Dauphin Square Shopping Center at 3170 Dauphin St. Matt Cummings with Cummings & Associates represented the landlord in the transaction. Jay Roberds of NAI Mobile worked for the tenant. Dauphin Square underwent more than $1 million in exterior renovations to modernize the property in 2015, as reported previously in Lagniappe.
• Lewis H. Golden of Hamilton & Co. worked for the owners of the 5,200-square-foot Crystal Ice production building, located at 755 Monroe St. in Mobile’s Church Street East Historic District. The site was reportedly sold for $380,000. Taylor Atchison with Inge & Associates represented the buyer. “The sale of this third and last of the Crystal Ice buildings completes the disposition of the properties for the Crystal Ice company,” Golden said.
• Air filtration solutions provider Bonded Filter Company, LLC, has leased a 13,144-square-foot industrial space at 2048 S. Broad St. in Mobile at Brookley Field. Nathan Handmacher with Stirling Properties managed the transaction.
• The 1980s-themed Game Over Retro Pub has leased some 3,100 square feet of retail space at 225 Dauphin Street in Mobile. Angie McArthur with Stirling Properties handled the transaction. The arcade bar plans to be open for business in time for Mardi Gras.
• In an update, the former Smith’s Auto Repair located at 306 St. Anthony St., at the corner of N. Claiborne, is now fully restored by Lafayette Land Co. into the organic coffeehouse Nova Espresso. The local business is owned and operated by Tim and Claire Gautreaux.
For the redesign, one garage’s roll-up door was replaced with a large glass entrance facing the outdoor seating area. Heather I. Huffman with Huffman Realty was the leasing agent. Robert and Karin Maurin with locally owned Maurin Architecture handled all work on the property.
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