A new 95-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott recently opened for business in Mobile. Located at 3566 Springhill Memorial Drive, SpringHill Suites Mobile will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned and managed by Image Hotels of Savannah, Georgia. The property also has 420 square feet of meeting space to accommodate meetings and functions for up to 30 people, as well as offering business services, same-day dry cleaning, guest laundry facilities, an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center. Launched in 1998, the brand currently has more than 300 locations in the United States and Canada.

Waffle House recently purchased a 0.49-acre lot at the corner of Moffett and Overlook roads for $225,000 and plans to build a new store on the site. Robert Cook with Vallas Realty represented the buyer and Raymond Faircloth with Milling Commercial Realty worked for the seller. Estimated timeline for opening the new breakfast eatery is 6 to12 months. 

Pediatric Physical Therapy signed a lease for a 3,000-square-foot office space at 881 Hillcrest Road, next door to Weight Watchers. The firm is relocating from its former Old Shell Road location and should open by mid-December. Marl Cummings with Cummings & Associates handled the transaction.

A local investment group has purchased a 15,000-square-foot, three-story 19th century Masonic lodge on St. Francis Street. The group will redevelop the building and adjacent property to provide 16 modern-style residential apartments with covered and secure parking, plus 5,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. The property and a parking lot across the street sold for $300,000. John Peebles of NAI-Mobile managed the transaction and will lead the development team.

The building recently vacated by El Chico restaurant at 830 Interstate 65 W. Service Road has been leased to La Cocina Mexican Restaurant. La Cocina plans to open its second Mobile location in the 5,800-square-foot property sometime this fall. Jeff Barnes, broker associate with Stirling Properties, handled the transaction.

A 5,400-square-foot office building located at 1060 Springhill Ave. was purchased by MAWSS for $375,000 for use as future office space. The utility company also purchased a 700-square-foot shotgun-style house and lot next door for $18,000 which will be leveled to make way for parking. John Delchamps with the Merrill P. Thomas Company handled the transaction.

A 20,000-square-foot office building located at 1015 Montlimar Drive was sold for $2.6 million to a local investor and subsequently leased by AltaPointe Health Systems. The sellers were represented by Bender Real Estate Group and the buyer by The Weavil Company.

United Way of South Alabama opposes new Senate Bill
According to a news release, Alabama Senate Bill 24 (SB24) was recently approved in a Senate special session on Goat Hill. Larry Davis, interim president of United Way of South Alabama (UWSWA), said the bill, if passed, has the potential to threaten the tax-exempt status of the UWSWA as well as that of hundreds of other nonprofit organizations throughout Alabama.

The bill was proposed as a way to ensure nonprofits are not abusing their tax-exempt status. It would require the UWSWA and its partner agencies to file annual reports with the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) detailing thousands of tax-exempt transactions. It also empowers the ADOR to ask nonprofits to create any other reports it deems necessary.

The position of nonprofits lobbying against the bill, spearheaded by United Way chapters across the state, is that an additional collective financial burden would be placed upon them to allocate funds toward developing new accounting systems, purchasing software to manage reporting and hiring of additional personnel to manage the extra workload.

“That money should be used to continue funding programs for our agencies and their clients,” Don Keeler, vice president of human resources at Austal USA and 2015 UWSWA Board of Trustees Chair said. “Instead, SB24 would work as a direct reduction in usable funding for local nonprofits.”

Per the release, the bill becomes effective immediately once signed, although ADOR does not have specific guidelines on its implementation. It is also uncertain what additional costs would be incurred by the ADOR to initiate the program and/or if revenue recovered from fining noncompliant nonprofits statewide would be earmarked as ADOR’s main source of income for financing the program.

Currently the bill is awaiting Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s signature. “It has unintended consequences and we ask that Gov. Bentley not sign the bill until a deeper understanding of the negative ramifications on nonprofits in Alabama are considered,” Clay Vandiver, president and CEO of United Way of Madison County, said.

“UWSWA supports efforts to bring accountability to the state’s nonprofits and we have already adopted standards of excellence that raised our performance standards, including receiving a four-star rating from America’s largest independent charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, and the standards of our agencies. We welcome the opportunity to work side-by-side with our lawmakers to address any concerns they have,” Davis said.

UWSWA serves Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile and Washington counties. Created in 1926 as a Community Chest, UWSWA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the local community. UWSWA has raised and invested upwards of $245 million toward social issues affecting the region through funded programs and initiatives that help more than 600,000 people in the area annually.
 
Southern Light makes the Inc. 5000 list for ninth consecutive year
Inc. Magazine recently included Southern Light in its 34th annual Inc. 5000 list ranking the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most important segment of the economy — independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Yelp, Pandora, Timberland, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, LinkedIn, Zillow and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 5000.

“Due to a strong team, hard work and solid working relationships, Southern Light has been ranked as one of the Inc. 5000 for the ninth year in a row,” Andy Newton, president and CEO of Southern Light, said. “While we are proud of our accomplishments, we are energized to establish new markets and build out existing ones.”

Companies identified in the 2015 Inc. 5000 list have an aggregate revenue of $205 billion, generating 647,000 jobs over the past three years. Complete results of the compilation, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region and other criteria, can be found on the magazine’s website.