The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced the approval of local Federal Aviation Administration grants for Mobile County airports — one for Mobile Regional Airport, under the purview of the Mobile Regional Airport Authority, and another for the Jeremiah Denton Airport on Dauphin Island.

The Mobile Airport Authority grant was funded to the tune of $1.1 million for rehabilitation of various areas of Mobile Regional Airport. Upgrades are to include: upgrading 4,000 square yards of the existing east apron to maintain structural integrity of existing pavement; design phase of a new jet bridge installation and terminal gate modifications to improve efficiency of operations; upgrades to meet passenger needs; rehabilitation of existing terminal building roof, which has reached the end of its useful life; funding the design phase to rehabilitate 8,502 feet of Runway 15/33 to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and minimize foreign-object debris; and fund repairs to existing drainage and lighting to rehabilitate 13,000 feet of the airport’s existing access road, preserving access to the airport.

On Dauphin Island, some $101,000 in funds will be provided for the Jeremiah Denton Airport to rehabilitate 3,000 feet of runway by the end of the year to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign-object debris.

Established in 1929 at Bates Field in Brookley and relocated to its current West Mobile location in 1938, Mobile Regional Airport is a combined public/military airport operated by the Mobile Airport Authority, a self-funded entity that receives no local tax dollars. As of 2010 the airport had served 277,232 passengers, according to FAA records.

Located on the northwest section of Dauphin Island, the Jeremiah Denton Airport sits at an approximate elevation of 5 feet above sea level with no flight tower and is managed by Mobile County.

Commercial real estate moves
A New Orleans, Louisiana-based developer has begun renovating the historic Staples-Pake Building at 100 N. Royal St., on the corner of Royal and St. Michael streets. The 1850s office property has been largely vacant for years, according to Burton Clark of Cumbest & Associates, who worked for the sellers.

Plans are in place for 20 apartments on the top floors and five retail spaces to be built on the ground floor of the three-story building. The renovation is being undertaken using Alabama Historic Tax Credits per David Milstead of Bellator Real Estate & Development, who represented the buyers.

According to Jill Meeks with Stirling Properties, a new 2,300-square-foot office space will be opened at 9797 Timber Circle in Daphne by Eastern Shore Children’s Clinic. This will be the second site for the medical center, which is headquartered in Fairhope.

Cloud 9 Vapes recently leased 3,000 square feet of retail space at the former Radio Shack site located at 3913 Airport Blvd., according to Christy Chason with JLL, who managed the transaction. Chason also handled The One Estate (Antique Store) leasing of 1,200 square feet of store space at 25814 Canal Road in Village Plaza, Orange Beach.

According to Vallas Realty, the Mobile County School Board sold the former Crichton Elementary School site to a local developer for $500,000. Montgomery developer Bill Helms plans to build a 10,000-square-foot Dollar Tree at the corner of Spring Hill and Hyland avenues at the former elementary school site; Dollar Tree was represented by Jonathon Rudolph with Rudolph Development Group Inc. In total, the property encompasses 4.5 acres of vacant land located at 2825 Spring Hill Ave. In addition, discussions are currently in the works with the city of Mobile to construct a new fire station on a portion of the property.

An overhaul is planned in the near future at The Shoppes of Bel Air by current owners, New York City-based Rouse Properties, according to city records. Tax-break grants for economic development are sought on the project by a real estate investment trust and are currently under review by the Mobile City Council. As reported in prior Lagniappe coverage, several new tenants are expected to move into The Shoppes after renovations are completed.

The local Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise recently opened a new location in West Mobile at 7721 Airport Blvd., complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce. This is the sixth eatery opened by owner/operator Jim Lockett, with others located in Mobile and Daphne, and in Gulfport, D’Iberville and Biloxi, Mississippi. Established in 1941, the fast-casual chain has expanded to 550 locations in 43 states.

Some 6,800 square feet of store space was leased for new retailer Beauty Giant at 4805 Moffett Road inside the Forrest Hill Shopping Center in West Mobile, according to Matt Cummings of Cummings & Associates, who represented the business. Ann White-Spunner with The McAleer Tunstall Co. worked for the landlord.

Providence Hospital receives high grades in patient safety
2016 data released by an independent hospital ratings organization, The Leapfrog Group, indicate Mobile-based Providence Hospital is one of only 14 Alabama hospitals to receive an “A” rating for patient safety. The top grade is a result of success in reducing errors, injuries, accidents and infections affecting patients.

Providence Hospital, a member of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system, is the only hospital in the Mobile area to have achieved this grade. The current award is the sixth consecutive recognition for the care provider. Every six months, Leapfrog gives hospitals across the country a grade of A, B, C, D or F in this category.

The Hospital Safety Score, developed by Leapfrog, is the first and only hospital safety rating to be peer reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety and available free to the public. It is designed to give consumers impactful information to assist with extended hospital stays.

“Since our founding in 1854, the mission of Providence Hospital has been to deliver safe and effective care for all persons we serve,” Providence president and CEO Todd Kennedy said. “We evaluate opportunities to improve the care we deliver and are continuously making changes in our systems and processes to positively impact our patients’ health.”

To read more, visit or follow the Hospital Safety Score on Twitter or Facebook.