According to the Navy Times, Admiral Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations, told a crowd in Washington recently that Mobile-built littoral class combat ship USS Independence will operate off of Hawaii as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises scheduled for this summer.

The announcement reverses a previous decision that held the Independence, along with three other active LCS ships, in southern California running a multitude of tests and exercises. A spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor confirmed the Independence will take part in the seagoing phase of the exercises, scheduled to run July 6 through July 25.

“From the beginning of the 2014 RIMPAC planning process, we have looked for opportunities to involve our littoral combat ships,” Capt. Darryn James said. “We recently modified the operational schedule of USS Independence (LCS 2) so that it will take part in the exercise portion off Hawaii. We remain confident these ships will continue to achieve future milestones and certifications.”

Freedom, the first LCS, took part in the 2010 RIMPAC exercises, and Navy leaders have frequently cited that experience as a significant event in getting this new class of ship fully operational.

However no LCS showed up in 2012 for the biennial event, recognized as the largest naval exercise program in the world. A consortium of 30 international ships is expected to make the trip to Hawaii, joining a similar size squad of Navy ships also participating.

One notable highlight of the 2014 military maneuvers will be the first-time seagoing participation of the Chinese Navy. A four-ship squadron is coming to Pearl Harbor and is expected to attract major media attention.

With Independence now on course towards Hawaii, the Mobile-built vessel now has an opportunity to earn recognition at the internationally reported event.

Admiral Semmes Hotel sells

John Peebles reported that NAI Mobile handled both sides of the recent sale transaction for the Admiral Semmes Hotel acquired by Alabama Hotels LLC. based out of Hattiesburg, Miss.

According to Peebles, the recorded statutory deed has an addendum that states total purchase price as $4,000,000, but deed tax indicates only $1,095,000 in cash exchanged hands.

“The buyer did record a new mortgage for $2,905,000, but for some reason they did not pay any mortgage tax on either document,” Peebles said.

Pratt Thomas with the Merrill P. Thomas Company recently leased 6,000-square-foot office space to Blackbox Network Services (NASDAQ: BBOX) on Abigail Drive in Rangeline Business Park. The developer then sold the leased building to local investors for $500,000. Black Box Corporation has 194 office serving 141 countries. Ralph Neal with Watson Realty represented the investors. 

Thomas sold a bank owned multiplex apartment complex at 29 Van Heuval St. (across from Murphy High School) to a local investor for $225,000. Tom Price with Price Properties represented the buyer. 

Thomas also leased a 1,200-square-foot space in University Square shopping center across from the Mitchell Center at USA to Goodwill Easter Seals for a donation drop. Bradford Ladd with Roberts Brothers CPM represented the tenant.

John Delchamps, associate broker with Merrill P. Thomas Co., sold a building at 1502 Azalea Rd. for $335,000 to local investors. Pratt Thomas worked for the buyers. 

Delchamps also leased a 1,500-square-foot space in Schillinger Station Shopping Center at 720 S. Schillinger Rd. to Master Cleaners and a 1,400-square-foot space at the same location to Hollywood Nails.

AM/NS Calvert acquisition recognized as “Deal of the Year”

According to an industry press release, recently in London the new AM/NS Calvert’s joint-venture parent owners — ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (NSSMC) — were awarded “Deal of the Year” at the 2014 Platts Global Metals Awards gala for their acquisition in February of the facility.

The awards are given each year by Platts McGraw Hill Financial, a global provider of metals news, commentary and analysis since 1909, recognizing excellence and accomplishments in the global metals industry.

The complex transaction for the facility was one of the biggest in the steel industry in years, secured 1,700 local jobs and preserved return on investment for Alabama and the surrounding communities that contributed to its initial construction seven years prior.

Accepting the award for ArcelorMittal and NSSMC was General Manager of Communications and Corporate Responsibility for ArcelorMittal USA, Bill Steers.

“Along with NSSMC we are now new owners of the most modern steel finishing facility in the world, which will allow us to meet the rising demand for steels in the automotive, energy and other important NAFTA markets,” Steers said.

“Our entire team in Calvert congratulates our two new parent companies. We appreciate their confidence in our future, and are excited to have further evidence of their faith in the importance of the acquisition and our facility’s long-term success,” Scott Posey, Director of Communications for the local AM/NS Calvert Plant said.

Wilkins Miller Hieronymus happenings

Wilkins Miller Hieronymus LLC. (WMH), recently announced that Bob Slaby, CPA, CVA, and manager with the firm, has been appointed as the 2014-2015 President of the Mobile Chapter of the Alabama Society of CPAs. 

Recently Slaby served as First Vice President for the 2013-2014 year. He now joins the ranks of Stacy Cummings, Mark Hieronymus, Erin Sylvia Jones, all with WMH, who have served as president of the Mobile Chapter of the Alabama Society of CPAs.

Slaby possesses 13 years’ experience in public accounting and graduated from Kent State University in 1999. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts. 

Eric Haynes CPA, CGMA, and staff accountant with WMH, has been awarded the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation from the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). 

Haynes graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting.  He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants.