Wilson, Arkansas-based company Little Custom Homes recently expanded operations into Mobile, bringing its business model of offering small, affordable homes to the local area.

The company offers one- to three-bedroom floor plans ranging in area from 512 to 1,200 square feet. Little Custom Homes promotes its biggest competitive advantage as its process of building each house indoors and then having it transported to a final destination and set on a permanent foundation. According to company owner Bill Joe Denton, this indoor building method eliminates weather delays and reduces labor costs, in theory.

Per a news release, the company leased the former Vanity Fair building in Irvington, at 12045 Padgett Switch Road, and plans to hire upwards of 100 local employees within its first three years of local operation.

The company got its start with the goal of using traditional Craftsman-style building methods versus modern manufacturing methods as a way to revitalize Arkansas communities.

“What began as a thoughtful conversation with family, co-workers and friends has come to fruition in Arkansas. We believed this business model could be replicated in other communities, and we believe Mobile is rich with opportunity for our company,” Denton said.

“The attractiveness of this project was providing opportunities to put affordable homes in areas that need revitalization while maintaining Mobile’s rich architectural style,” David Rodgers, Mobile Area Chamber’s senior project manager of economic development, said.

With standard amenities including vaulted ceilings with exposed cedar beams, crown molding and Craftsman-style porches, the company’s target markets pinpoints low- to moderate-income residents as well as those looking for a retirement and/or beach home.

“I knew from the start this was a project we wanted. Little Custom Homes will offer quality homes throughout Mobile County for residents of all income levels, something our community needs and is critical to the economic development process,” Jerry Carl, Mobile County Commissioner, said.

In an article published last year in the Economic Development Journal, author David Schwartz wrote, “Nationally, housing costs continue to escalate faster than incomes, creating a wide spectrum of affordability and quality-of-life problems. Not only are there challenges in dealing with the problem and its supply-and-demand circumstances, but there are challenges in avoiding the consequences that exacerbate problems and deteriorate a community’s economic competitiveness.”

“We welcome this investment by Little Custom Homes because it means more than just jobs. The location of their manufacturing operations here will help with neighborhood development by providing more options for potential homeowners. Mobile is open for business and we are excited to watch them grow,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.

Commercial real estate moves
• Volkert Engineering recently signed a lease for 14,696 square feet of space at Montlimar Place, located at 1110 Montlimar Drive in West Mobile. The engineering firm will relocate its offices from Moffett Road, according to Sharon Wright of White-Spunner Realty, which represented the tenant.

NAI Mobile represented the landlord and handled property management work for the building. Contact Tommy Gleason, CCIM, at NAI Mobile for current availabilities and information on the sale of the property.

• 2C Innovated Technology LLC, a company providing comprehensive computer services, is leasing 7,113 square feet of space inside the Mobile Office Park, located at 3929 Airport Blvd. in Mobile. Valarian Couch, CEO, is a Mobile native, an Army veteran and responsible for initiating plans to expand from 2C’s headquarters in Bonifay, Florida, into the area by mid-February. Jack Conger, leasing executive with Stirling Properties, handled the transaction.

 • The former Hardee’s building at 13350 N. Wintzell Ave. in Bayou La Batre was recently leased to Rhonda Deweese, who plans to open Krain’s, a Mexican-concept restaurant that will occupy the entirety of the 3,400-square-foot property. David Dexter and J.T. Jenkins of NAI Mobile managed the transactions. 

• Cameron Weavil, vice president of the Mobile-based Weavil Co., recently sold a 3,000-square-foot historic property located at 1105 Dauphin St. in midtown Mobile. The two-story site was built in 1907 and is situated directly across from popular wine bar Red and White.

The seller, Ryan Studio, an interior design studio and furniture store, is downsizing its business to solely design products and no longer needs a brick-and-mortar location, according to Weavil. The building sold for $265,000 to Landmark Consulting of San Diego, and was represented by Donny Frazier of The Cummings Co. Weavil worked for the seller.

• Also reported by the Weavil Co. was the lease of the former Stacey Manor Assisted Living Facility to Bayou Oaks Assisted Living Facility, located at 1045 Novatan Road N. in Mobile. The 16-room, 6,789-square-foot facility sits on 2.67 acres. Plans are in place to add additional rooms. The site currently has 10 bathrooms, a full kitchen, a pharmacy and a full complement of security cameras. Designed to care for people who are mentally ill, infirm or elderly, the site is situated near Tanner Williams Road.

Mitchell College names Carroll as IMPACT member
Wilkins Miller LLC, an accounting and advisory firm with offices in Mobile and Fairhope, recently announced W. Allen Carroll Jr., a partner with the firm, was selected as a Mitchell College of Business IMPACT member.

As part of the college’s 50th anniversary, 50 individuals were selected by a committee of alumni, faculty and university employees for their leadership and contributions that have been instrumental to the growth and development of the college. IMPACT members were recently honored at MCOB’s anniversary event.

Carroll graduated from the University of South Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. He serves on the USA Foundation Board of Directors and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, and has served in several leadership positions with community organizations.