Albany, Georgia-based investor Pace Burt and local real estate development partner Taylor Atchison recently announced the conversion of 951 Government St. into an eight-story, high-end, 48-unit apartment complex is nearing completion. The top three floors of the newly named Marine St. Lofts are expected to be ready for occupancy in early October, according to the developers.
Located in the Oakleigh Garden District (OGD), Marine St. Lofts is a multi-use renovation project. Ground floor space has been set aside for commercial occupancy with the goal of attracting either an upscale restaurant or boutique food market.

Floors two through eight will consist of 40 one-bedroom, one-bath units and eight two-bedroom, two-bath units. The two-bedroom units will range from 1,400 square feet to 1,800 square feet. The one-bedroom floor plans start at 810 square feet and top out at 1,035 square feet.

In total, the property encompasses 63,000 square feet of residential space and 6,000 square feet of commercial-use area.

Ballpark pricing for future tenants equates to about a dollar per square foot, thus smaller apartments will reasonably rented at roughly $800 a month while bigger floor plans will cost upwards of $1,800.

Fixtures and finishes will be consistent with a modern interior design scheme. Burt commissioned local custom furniture company Seven Eleven Fabrication to build modern steel kitchen islands in the units. He also chose to convert the old parking lot area adjacent to the property on Church Street into popular urban “green space” for residents that may be developed into a dog-walking park at some point.
Lagniappe sat down with both Atchison and Burt for a brief Q&A session to get additional details on Mobile’s newest downtown luxury loft development.

Lagniappe: What is the history of the property?  

Atchison: I believe it was built as an IRS office building in the 1950s. It also housed other offices and apparently had an exclusive gentlemen’s bar in the 9th-floor penthouse at one time. 

Lagniappe: How did the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program help?

Burt: This is a historic tax credit project. To make the numbers work on such a renovation project, we had to seek state and federal historic tax credits. In fact, 951 Government St., along with other projects in progress in Mobile, would’ve been nearly impossible to get done without these credits.

This program terminates at the end of this year, which is surprising to hear since similar set-ups in other states have been so successful. This legislation has only been in place since 2013. I’ll probably have to carefully consider looking for new projects in Mobile or around Alabama, for that matter, once the program is gone.

Lagniappe: What can you say about the style touches of the luxury loft apartments?

Atchison: The apartment interiors will be unmatched in this market, in my opinion. The open kitchen design will consist of modern horizontal-grain cabinets with raw steel backsplashes and white quartz countertops. The bathrooms all have custom tile standup showers and glass doors.

We commissioned the most sought-after young local designer to design a kitchen island out of steel. This island belongs in Architectural Digest, not an apartment complex. We believe it will be the “coolest” part of our units.

Lagniappe: How many units have been pre-leased?  

Atchison: We have held back our marketing until this point to make sure we could deliver the units in a timely manner. However, several savvy young professionals have begun to cherry-pick a few of the lofts. There has been a lot of interest from this demographic in particular, which is a good sign since it’s one of our target markets.

Lagniappe: Any issues with the city getting this done?

Burt: We have come up against some issues with permitting and inspections. Overall, however, the city was quick to resolve issues and overall has been a great partner. 

Lagniappe: Anything else about the renovation process that’s noteworthy?

Atchison: The only thing that matches the design and finishes of these units is the location. We couldn’t be happier to be part of the OGD, just voted coolest neighborhood in the 2015 Nappie Awards. Being walking distance from Callaghan’s, Kitchen on George and Cream and Sugar is priceless. 

Cutright joins WHLC Architecture
WHLC Architecture recently announced the addition of Alice Cutright as interiors director in its Fairhope office. Cutright will be heading WHLC’s health care interior projects throughout the state.

Cutright is an award-winning interior designer who has been serving health care clients in the Mobile area for 19 years. Throughout her career, she has cultivated expertise in design and management leadership in health care, education and corporate interiors. She will be working with company architect Ben Coate, who leads the Fairhope health care architectural team for WHLC. Firm partner Russell Washer said that Cutright’s unique experience and reputation in health care interiors further strengthens the interior design expertise of the firm and broadens client care in the region.

WHLC is a full-service architectural and interior design firm serving health care institutions regionally in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas as well as locally from its office in Fairhope. WHLC health care clients span more than 14 different hospital and medical systems across the central Gulf Coast. The firm specializes in planning, architecture and interior design. Its work locally includes the award-winning University of South Alabama Wellness and Recreation Center.

McCarthy inducted into international trial lawyer academy
Brian McCarthy, a member of McDowell Knight Roedder and Sledge LLC, was recently inducted as a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL) at its mid-year meeting in Seattle. The IATL is a group of elite trial lawyers representing more than 30 countries. 

Fellowship in the IATL is by invitation only and lawyers are only invited to become fellows after an extremely extensive vetting process. Each nominee is assessed by colleagues and the judges before whom he or she has appeared, and must be highly recommended as someone who possesses the requisite qualities to become a fellow. In the United States, membership in the academy is limited to 500 fellows under the age of 70.

McCarthy joins McDowell Knight founding members Michael Knight and Edward Sledge III as members of the Academy.