According to a recently released 52-page independent study performed by the Alabama Historical Commission, during its first two-and-a-half years of availability the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program for the renovation of historic buildings has generated more than $384 million in investment throughout the state.

Locally the program is partly responsible for the renovation of the Admiral Hotel, the Marine Street Lofts and the Buick Building. These projects have created additional tax revenue for the city and state while also spurring additional development in surrounding neighborhoods, according to a recent news release. 

Several other projects approved for the state tax credits are underway in Mobile. Many more renovations of distressed historic buildings could be undertaken if the credits, which have essentially expired, are extended by the Alabama legislature.

In the halls of Goat Hill, State Reps. Victor Gaston (R-Mobile) and David Faulkner (R-Mountain Brook) have cosponsored and reintroduced the bill to extend the program for an additional seven years (HB 62). On the Senate side, State Sen. J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner (R-Birmingham) supports HB 62.

Last year the bill cleared the House but died in Senate committee. As mentioned in an earlier Lagniappe article, opponents to the bill have included local State Sen. Trip Pittman (R-Fairhope).

Since its inception, 52 preservation and rehabilitation projects have been or are currently involved in the program statewide. The breakdown consists of 39 projects complete and/or currently underway and 13 projects on the Alabama Historic Commission’s “wait list.” The tax credit reportedly is responsible for directly creating 2,133 construction jobs and 1,373 operational-phase jobs.  

To learn more about the state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program visit AdvanceAlabama.org.  

Omainsky named to National Restaurant Association board
Wintzell’s Oyster House recently announced owner Bob Omainsky has been selected to join the National Restaurant Association’s board of directors for a three-year term. He was one of 10 other noteworthy representatives elected across the country to join the board, as was announced at NRA’s first annual meeting held recently in West Palm Beach, Florida.

With more than 40,000 members representing upwards of 500,000 food service establishments, the NRA is governed by a board of directors comprising 75 voting members nationally. Omainsky was nominated last April and interviewed in Chicago by an NRA board subcommittee. Approval was finalized in December by a majority vote.     
   
 “Our ability to partner with the National Restaurant Association builds upon Wintzell’s 78-year-old legacy as a dining landmark in Mobile,” Clay Omainsky, Wintzell’s communications manager, said. “This is not just a great opportunity to introduce folks from across the country to our iconic restaurant brand, but also a significant gain for our city, its culture and its dynamic restaurant scene. With a passion for the hospitality and tourism industries, Bob Omainsky will no doubt be a compelling ambassador for Mobile.”

Bob Omainsky owns three Wintzell’s eateries in the area, including the original landmark location in downtown Mobile. He previously worked for Cracker Barrel and Shooters Waterfront in a career spanning nearly 40 years. In 2013 he was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Alabama Hospitality Alliance. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Stirling Properties names new communications director
Stirling Properties commercial real estate company has named Jaime Burchfield as its new communications director.

Burchfield brings more than 13 years of communications and marketing experience. She will be responsible for setting and guiding the strategy for all communications, public relations messaging and marketing collateral for the company.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jaime to the Stirling family,” said Donna Derokey, vice president of marketing and advertising. “Jaime’s experience and skill set is a great addition to our team. Stirling Properties continues to expand our footprint and portfolio in commercial real estate, and we are excited to communicate our growth.”

Burchfield previously worked as director of marketing for United Way of Southeast Louisiana, where she led the regional marketing, resource development messaging and public relations efforts. Prior to United Way, she was director of marketing for the New Orleans Zephyrs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University.

Historically, Stirling Properties has been heavily involved in numerous significant commercial real estate transactions in the area. The local office is at 1 St. Louis St. in downtown Mobile.

Coastal Alabama Business Chamber hosts job fair
The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber will hold a job fair Thursday, Feb. 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Perdido Beach Resort. The event is free to all attendees and to businesses that would like to have a table.

The event, sponsored by Perdido Beach Resort, will feature hiring managers representing various business fields from throughout South Baldwin County.

The job fair is a project of the Chamber’s Advantage Coastal Alabama initiative, which seeks to enhance education and workforce development in the region.

“While there are many great job fairs throughout our multi-county and two-state region, we’re proud to bring employers this opportunity of having a job fair early in the hiring season and right here on our island,” Ed Rodriguez, president and CEO of the chamber, said. “We believe job fairs being held in Coastal Alabama will enable our employers to attract job candidates from not only Baldwin County, but also from the Mobile and Pensacola areas.”

Businesses wanting to secure free exhibit space should call Owen Corcoran at the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber at 251-968-4237 or send an email to owen@mygulfcoastchamber.com.

This article was updated on Feb. 15 to correct the bill number of the Historic Tax Credit renewal.