Last week Haley Development LLC broke ground on Phase I of the Portico development in Fairhope, located on 3.5 acres at 561 Fairhope Ave., the site of a former self-storage facility adjacent to the U.S. Post Office downtown.

The first phase consists of five Class A commercial units in a two-story building with a central elevator lobby and onsite parking. Among the incoming tenants is ServisFirst Bank.

Phase II will bring an additional 10,000 square feet of Class A commercial space and 10 prime residential condominium units to downtown Fairhope. Additional phases will potentially bring another 25,000 square feet of mixed-use space to Portico and the Fairhope community.

“This project would not have been possible without the collective efforts and talents of everyone involved,” project management develop Chris Haley said. “I anticipate Portico will set a new standard of architecture and quality for the growing market, appealing to discerning business owners and residents alike.”

According to a news release, architectural design was handled by Pfeffer Torode of Nashville; design consultation managed by McCown Design; construction work performed locally by Rogers & Willard; commercial leasing handled by Jeff Barnes with Stirling Properties; and residential sales by Morgan Ashurst of Ashurst Niemeyer. Completion of Phase I is anticipated for January 2019.

• A new 89-suite Marriott International TownePlace Suites recently opened in Saraland. The new hotel is located at 2954 Township Blvd. and will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Ascent Hospitality of Buford, Georgia.

“We are excited to introduce the TownePlace Suites brand to the Saraland area,” Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager, said.

Amenities will include complimentary daily hot breakfast service in the lobby area, cooking areas on outdoor Weber grills, 24-hour coffee service, an outdoor swimming pool, 24/7 exercise room access, laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, onsite business services and pet accommodations.

• Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC announced in a news release that its Mobile office has relocated to Merchants Plaza as the anchor tenant effective June 25. The firm is now located at 104 St. Francis St., Suite 300, moving from the RSA Battle House Tower, where it leased two floors covering some 35,000 square feet.

The law firm is reportedly the first new tenant in the commercial site downtown and now occupies three floors of the eight-story office building, covering some 27,000 square feet.

The Merchants Plaza development is located near the corner of St. Francis and Royal streets. Heritage Land and Development Co. LLC purchased the $30 million redevelopment project in downtown Mobile in 2017.

• Cameron Weavil, vice president of the Weavil Co., recently reported property at 210 and 214 Dauphin St. has been sold to local investors for $650,000. The addresses encompass a 5,500-square-foot vacant building next door to the Crescent Theater, as well as an adjacent parking lot.

Per Weavil, there are plans to open a bar/restaurant/music venue in the space. Trey Langus with Langus Real Estate worked for the buyer, Weavil for the seller.

• American Car Center is leasing the 2,800-square-foot former Valero gas station space located in the Tillman’s Corner area at 5447 U.S. Route 90 in Mobile. Jeff Barnes, broker with Stirling Properties, and Michael Murray with Shannon Waltchack represented the tenant in the transaction. Nathan Handmacher, leasing executive with Stirling Properties, worked for the landlord.

• Employee Liability Management, a local payroll, human resource and benefits administration company, has purchased the 10,113-square-foot professional office building at 210 S. Washington Ave. in downtown Mobile for $1.3 million. The small business is relocating from its current site in midtown, 3213 Executive Park Circle. Bradford Ladd of Roberts Brothers Commercial and Property Management represented the sellers. David Dexter with NAI Mobile worked for ELM.   

• A local-area investor recently acquired the 3,033-square-foot former Arby’s space and drive-thru located at 800 N. Navy Blvd. in Pensacola for $660,000. Angie McArthur with Stirling Properties represented the buyer and is currently listing the property for lease. Michael Carro with Sperry Van Ness worked for the owner.

Tool-sharing app unveiled locally   

Matt Gray, a Mississippi State graduate in mechanical engineering turned app developer, recently launched his LEVELD app.

The Mobile-based application reportedly shares similar business model services with such Bay Area behemoths as Uber and Airbnb. In essence, the concept behind the tech is tool-sharing as opposed to ride-sharing and/or travel and tourism space-sharing.

One of the first companies Gray approached was Mighty, a Mobile-based creative agency that works primarily with growth-focused companies.

“When Matt approached us we immediately recognized the growth opportunity and began to assemble a strategy to take the app from launch to market expansion,” Mighty co-founder and CEO Jarrett McCraw said. “It’s been roughly 18 months since concept to development and we are currently in the early stages of establishing a foundational user base to accelerate the adoption of LEVELD in markets across the country.”

Other advisers include: Todd Greer, dean of the University of Mobile School of Business; Bo Megginson, executive director of Gulf Coast Angel Investment Management Group; Hunter Adams and Alexa Stabler-Adams of Adams IP LLC; Mel Washington, Small Business Development Center regional director; and Mat Trawick, owner of Trawick Insurance Brokerage.

“I think you’re going to see more local entrepreneurs, like LEVELD, continue to push the boundaries in the near future. There’s going to be more expansion down St. Louis Street, St. Anthony Street and on Church Street,” Scott Tindle, co-owner of The Fort of Colonial Mobile, said during the launch party he hosted in late June. 

The app’s technology works similar to other applications. Owners with tools and renters looking to use specific tools connect to each other through the app. Users can search within specific geographic areas, exchange money directly through the app and are protected through liability insurance.

The platform also includes a review system to encourage a better connection between users by allowing both parties to rate their experience. Users set their own prices and receive payment in two to three days once the transaction is processed.

LEVELD is currently available for free on iTunes. A Google Play Store version for Android is expected to be rolled out in six to nine months. More information can be found at