The 110-year-old, two-story, landmark white mansion at the fork of Government Street and Airport Boulevard — formerly home to the historic Pillars Restaurant — is open for business again, according to owner Heather Pfefferkorn.

Retaining the name as The Pillars of Mobile, the property has been reopened as an event space for dinners, fundraisers, receptions, anniversaries, board meetings, banquets, seminars and related events.

“The historic Bellingrath tile has been left intact in its entirety except for the front where they had to redo the foundation, but the company that made the original tile also made the new tile. Overall, about $250,000 was spent to restore the building to its original look as well as bring it up to modern city code,” Pfefferkorn said.

In addition to the original 7,000-square-foot structure, the corner lot adjacent to Houston Street was also purchased where outdoor events may also be staged.

With 25 years of experience in the event planning industry, Pfefferkorn has said that response from the community since opening has been tremendous. Thirty-five events are already booked for the summer. Business response has come strictly from word-of-mouth, with their Facebook page growing to 1,000 “likes” so far.

“Many people have approached me with fond recollections of life events experienced here from years gone by. Now they can return to continue making memories. Not only for themselves, but for their children as well,” Pfefferkorn said.

Admiral Semmes restaurants adding 85 jobs
According to Joe Langford, general manager of the Admiral Semmes Hotel, Corner 251, the new restaurant opening in mid-June, will be hiring upwards of 55 new employees related to operations of the trendy eatery.

“Servers, bartenders, baristas, line cooks, prep cooks, restaurant manager, kitchen manager, floor supervisors, banquet servers, banquet bartenders, banquet captains and a banquet manager will all be needed. In total we are seeking about 25 full-time, 10 part time and 20 on-call employees,” Langford said. “This is just the beginning, as we will be adding around another 30 positions once Launch, our second restaurant, prepares to open in October with interviews going on concurrently.”

Corner 251will feature hot à la carte breakfasts. At lunch, a selection of handcrafted sandwiches will be offered. In the evening, tapas style small plate dishes will be served along with a broad wine selection. iPads and eight flat-screen televisions for entertainment and news will be accessible throughout the restaurant.  

“The Admiral Semmes Hotel will also be releasing our first set of new guest rooms in mid-June. They are currently available to rent through our website and all of the online booking sites. 42-inch TVs, custom furniture, marble showers, granite counters, high-end bath amenities and Keurig coffee makers will be featured,” Langford said. 

Ballroom space has also been fully remodeled and preparations are in play to host weddings, with several already booked. A 75-year-old white oak wood floor in the area has also been restored and the venue can accommodate up to 400 guests.

Commercial real estate moves
An 8,500-square-foot, 1940s era art deco style warehouse located at 251 St. Louis St. (close to the corner of Joachim Street) recently sold for $250,000 to a local investor. Plans for the property are to be converted into a CrossFit Gym. Jay Roberds with NAI Mobile worked for the buyer and Cameron Weavil with the Weavil Company represented the seller.

According to court records, an investment group purchased approximately 13 acres at 2550 and 2590 Government St. in Mobile for $3,585,000. Jay O’Brien of J. L. O’Brien & Associates represented the buyers and said they will be developing a grocery store anchored development. Other sources familiar with the transaction have indicated that a Wal-Mart neighborhood grocery could be the anchor in the near future at the former K-Mart property.

Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates Inc. recently leased 2,000-square-feet of retail space in the University Village Shopping Center at Old Shell Road and University Boulevard, 900-square-feet of space at Sage Avenue and Dauphin Street, 700-square-feet of space at Jackson Square Shopping Center in Theodore, 1,250-square-feet at Renaissance Plaza on Broad Street with Mike Reid of White-Spunner Realty working for the landlord and 2,400-square-feet of space in the Chickasaw Plaza Shopping center all to prepaid cell phone provider Boost Mobile. 

Samurai J Catering Services has leased an 800-square-foot catering space in the Town West Shopping Center at 5701 Moffett Road, according to Amber Dedeaux of Vallas Realty, who brokered the transaction. The owners of the former downtown sushi hotspot will offer Asian-inspired catering for events, affairs, and private parties. 

Pratt Thomas with the Merrill P. Thomas Company sold the 1,400-square-foot freestanding former Lupita Mexican Restaurant building on 460 Broad St. (at the corner of South Broad Street and Texas Street) to investors for $145,000.

Gulf Coast Events and Rentals leased a 6,000-square-foot showroom/warehouse space at 26121 Equity Drive in Austin Commercial Park in Daphne. This will be a temporary location until construction is complete on their 27,000-square-foot building on State Highway 181 later this year according to Thomas.

Volkert hires new director of public relations
Chip Brown has recently joined Volkert’s corporate office in Mobile as director of public relations.

Brown brings over 20 years of communications and public relations experience with him. He has worked as the legislative assistant to the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, executive director of Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, program advisor in Kabul, Afghanistan for NATO Public Affairs and president of Strategic Communications, a governmental affairs and public relations firm.

Brown is also a veteran of the Alabama Army National Guard and served on active duty with the U.S. Army. He is a native of Daphne and currently resides on Hollinger’s Island, Ala.