A startup company called Incoa Performance Minerals, owned by Salt Lake City-based private equity firm Peterson Partners, recently announced plans to invest $110.85 million to build a new storage facility to be located in Theodore. Expectations at the site are to employ 75 workers by 2025. Stage 1 operations and hiring will begin by the early part of next year.
Incoa’s business model revolves around making and selling high-quality calcium carbonate in U.S. markets, an ingredient found in a wide array of products ranging from antacids to house paint.
With assistance from Partners for Growth, a public/private coalition of local investors affiliated with the Mobile Area Chamber, an economic development team reached out to the venture in 2019 to explore the possibility of making Mobile their home for production, shipping and equipment storage needs.
During talks, commercial leasing opportunities with Theodore-based Millard Maritime, a privately owned Port of Mobile large marine terminal facility, were identified. Leveraging a site possessing some 1,600 square feet of wharf, liquid and break bulk offloading capabilities, as well as rail, interstate and barge transportation access, seemed to be a no-brainer.
Moving forward, Incoa plans to construct a 40,000-square-foot property planted on top of Millard’s sprawling 300-acre multi-use development, with the goal of leasing back the space after build-out completion. Additionally, the startup is moving into Millard’s 250,000-square-foot headquarters to sublease office space, accommodating their future hiring plans.
“Mobile and the Gulf region continue to experience strong growth in logistics and transportation,” Brad Hall, president of Millard Maritime, said. “Our partnership with Incoa is another important step in expanding that growth.”
“The value proposition is its central location on the Gulf Coast with good rail, barge and relative distance from a major interstate,” Tyson Creamer, Incoa’s COO said. “We will provide performance-based minerals that go into the products we use every day: paper, plastic, paints, glass, film wrappers, etc.”
As a footnote, Theodore was Incoa’s second choice to set up shop along the central Gulf Coast. It was turned down by city officials at the Port of Pensacola two years ago.
At the time, the company had narrowed down its site search selection to around six potential candidates. Pensacola was at the top of that list by early 2018. After over seven months of talks, however, Incoa asked for a decision in August 2018 by the Pensacola City Council on approving a 10-year lease to occupy space at the Port of Pensacola. It was met with resistance.
According to an article published in the Pensacola News Journal at the time, one of the biggest questions revolved around whether or not Incoa’s operations fit into a more desirable high-tech aesthetic for the Port of Pensacola’s future, and/or if a spike in industrial traffic was even desirable to integrate within the downtown area’s evolving tourism and boutique retail landscape.
Financially, the startup’s arrival could have put the Port of Pensacola in the black, since at the time it was running a $330,000 deficit.
“It’s great when we can connect an economic development project to an existing company with logistical assets in place like at Millard Maritime,” Shelby Glover Zaricor, director of business development at the Mobile Chamber, said. “Millard’s infrastructure and involvement were key to securing Incoa. They will be making a high-demand product that is currently not being manufactured in our region that will be a valuable addition to the community.”
BUSINESS MOVES, TRANSACTIONS
Tom Thumb, a subsidiary of Boise, Idaho-based supermarket chain Albertsons, recently purchased some 3.94 acres of land located at the intersection of Canal Road and Wharf Parkway East in Orange Beach for the development of a convenience store, gas pumps and car wash.
Other planned improvements for the property will reportedly incorporate Burger King and Cinnabon eateries. Build-out on the project is anticipated to begin sometime this year.
Jeff Barnes with Stirling Properties represented the seller in the transaction. Lydia Franz, with Re/Max of Orange Beach, worked for Tom Thumb.
Cameron Weavil with The Weavil Company recently announced the lease of some 1,500 square feet of space, inside the Gallery Fifty-Nine shopping center located 2070 S. McKenzie St. in Foley, to a Jersey Mike’s sandwich shop. Weavil represented the landlord in the transaction. Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates worked for the tenant.
John M. Delchamps with Merrill P. Thomas Co. Inc. recently announced the lease of 1,200 square feet of retail space, located inside the University Square Shopping Center at 5821 Old Shell Road in West Mobile, to a nutritional drink bar called South Nutrition. The new business is expected to open in early September. Staffing plans were unknown as of press time.
UNITED WAY DAY FUNDRAISER ANNOUNCED
This Saturday, Aug. 1, the United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) is holding its third annual one-day fundraiser and awareness campaign that will be spearheaded by local area retail and service businesses.
The event reportedly began as a Shoe Station fundraiser and promotion in 2018. In 2019, Shoe Station raised $9,526 by donating $1 for every pair of shoes sold and allowing customers to make additional donations at checkout.
“Vendors can feature their businesses while raising awareness and funds for the United Way and its 46 partner agencies. Donations are based on a predetermined offer designed by the vendor in agreement with the UWSWA,” Leslie Schraeder, UWSWA marketing specialist, said.
She went on to add that donations from the event will help fund 11 internal programs as well as provide grants to a larger network of 46 affiliated UWSWA partner agencies.
Participating partners for Saturday’s event include: ellenJAY, Felix’s Fish Camp, Food Champs, Joe Bullard Automotive Group, Mayo’s Barber Shop, McAleer’s Office Furniture Company, Penelope’s Closet, Phins Apparel, Rouses Markets, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Serda’s Brewing, Simply Sweet Shoppe, Shoe Station, The Cheese Cottage with Rush Wines and The Shoppes at Bel Air.
“UWSWA staff or partner agency representatives will be on site at many of the vendors to provide information about the services available to the community and the importance of the community safety net to Southwest Alabama,” Schraeder said.
More information about the event can be found visiting the nonprofit’s website (uwswa.org), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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