Fairfield, Connecticut-based Kleban Properties has made a significant investment in Mobile after becoming acquainted with the Port City through the purchase of the shopping center anchored by a Wal-Mart at 685 Schillinger Road S. in 2014.

The family-owned property management group has purchased 5.5 acres of land adjacent to the University of South Alabama (USA) with 2.1 acres formerly held by The Shed Barbeque franchise across from the USA campus. In total, Kleban has plans to invest upwards of $16 million in the area with a three-phase plan mapped out for 2015 and 2016 with a focus on restaurants, retail and hotel services.

According to principal Ken Kleban, the company has worked extensively with USA as well as city government to help their project blend in with campus architecture.

“The model of Misler Hall and Alumni Hall on campus were emulated on our site in Phase I and II to reflect the relationship our property has with the university,” Kleban said. To further connect the partnership, the project is entitled South Landing (Phase I) and South Landing Green (Phase II).

Phase I is an 8,700-square-foot area that already has Chicken Salad Chick and Hibachi Express as tenants and a letter of intent signed by another Texas-based franchise in the works. Roughly $3 million will be invested in this site.

Phase II is a 3,400-square-foot plan that will also include restaurant and retail. It is also the beta test site for their first foray into crowdfunding. RealCrowd, a Palo Alto, California, investment firm focusing on commercial real estate property across the country, is offering portions of ownership into Phase II for investors with a $25,000 minimum commitment. Monetary cap is set at $360,000, according to a RealCrowd inside analyst interviewed. In total, $1 million will be set aside for the site.

Phase III will be a 97-room hotel set up on a portion of the remaining 3.4 acres if zoning regulations meet specs at the next city council meeting this week, per Kleban. If all goes according to plan, a Hilton or Marriott concept will be the model, followed with upwards of $12 million spent on the project, assuming all city and county inspections are met. The hotel would be developed in conjunction with co-developer Peachtree Hospitality based out of Atlanta. Opening date is tentatively set for summer of 2016.

“It is nothing short of exceptional to be tied, even in a small way, to the growth and vibrancy of this city. We are committed to being a part of Mobile’s ongoing development for generations to come,” Kleban said.

Tim Herrington of Herrington Realty was the local broker.

Find out more about investing in the project at www.investinmobilealabama.com.


Boudreau Veterinary Clinic recently leased 3,200 square feet of space at Olde Shell Square at 5550 Old Shell Road, located directly across from the post office and near USA’s main campus. The clinic plans to open mid-June. Pratt Thomas with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. handled the transaction.

Some 1,200 square feet of retail space was leased by the owners of Pamper Nail Salon at 5821 Old Shell Road in the University Square Shopping Center. Plans are to open June 1; this is their third location. The transaction was managed by Pratt Thomas.

Joe Steen Real Estate & Development has leased 1,300 square feet of office space at 105 Lottie Road in Fairhope to ProHealth. The home health provider plans to open doors at the new locale sometime in June.

In Orange Beach, 4.3 acres of bank-owned property adjacent to the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau with 1.5 acres of wetland, at 23685 Perdido Beach Blvd., was sold for $80,000. Roughly $1 million was still owed on the property when the bank reclaimed it from developers. Perry Mason with Avast Realty worked for the buyer and Pratt Thomas represented the seller. Buyer Jeff Patterson is planning to build a road bridging part of the marshland to access usable areas, according to Thomas.

Some 1,200 square feet of retail space was leased to Boba Time, a coffee and tea shop at 6345 Piccadilly Square Drive, Suite B, in Piccadilly Square Shopping Center. Sharon Wright and Michael Wilson with White-Spunner Realty handled the transaction.

Taco Bell paid $245,000 to build a new 2,700-square-foot fast-food site in Brewton near U.S. Highway 31, according to Tim Herrington of Herrington Realty, who worked for the developer. Ralph Neal of Watson Realty represented the property’s seller.  

The 447,748-square-foot Spanish Fort Town Center, located at 30000 Town Center Ave. and sitting on 230 acres of property, has hired Stirling Properties as their new sales and leasing agent, according to Angela McArthur with the company. Kohl’s and Bass Pro Shops are two of the retailers that anchor the complex. According to McArthur, a new 3.5-acre community park with an exercise center and children’s play area will be opened in late June with the goal of attracting new business to the development.     

Volkert marks 50 years ranked among top firms in country

Mobile-based Volkert Engineering was again ranked in 2015 as one of the top engineering firms in the country by Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine. This marks half a century for the local firm to be ranked in the upper echelons nationally since ENR began publication of its list in 1965. Additionally, Volkert is the only firm headquartered in the state to achieve such a distinction.

According to a press release, Volkert was ranked 98th overall in the country. ENR also highlighted one of Volkert’s signature projects from the 1960s, the 24-mile spanning bridge over Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, which still holds the record as the world’s longest continuous bridge over a body of water.

“We are honored to have been recognized for 50 years of being a member of the top engineering firms in the U.S.,” President and CEO and Perry Hand said. “Volkert has experienced steady growth and this is a testament to the quality of personnel that have been part of Volkert since our beginning 90 years ago.”

Established in 1925, Volkert is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. It employs more than 800 professionals with 31 offices in 11 states as well as the District of Columbia.