The Broad, the 32,000-square-foot former Red Cross building located at 853 Dauphin St., is the latest completed mixed-use complex to become a landmark for western access into downtown Mobile’s thriving Central Business District.
Last week a ribbon cutting was held for the Container Yard’s three-year anniversary, a co-working company that occupies over 7,000 square feet inside the property. Tours were provided for the 150-plus attendees at the event to show off major upgrades from their former office space, inside the Marine Street Lofts, which covered some 2,700 square feet.
“This was an opportunity for folks to explore the entire building here, which has been completely renovated and pet friendly,” Container Yard co-owner and manager Stacy Wellborn said. “People were very excited about it and asked a lot of good questions. I think two or three people have already joined our space as a result. I tell everybody that our pricing is from $75 to $750. We’ve got a plan for anybody. We’re very flexible.”
She went on to mention new hire Mark Snyder, a community manager for the space. A recent graduate of Spring Hill College, he will be working with partners such as hoteliers and the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and expanding brand awareness in the local marketplace.
According to Sarah Clark, owner of Bay Gourmet Catering and Crown Hall, her newly opened 12,000-square-foot event space sharing a wall with the Container Yard, her company has already hosted its first wedding but is still several months away from holding a formal grand opening.
“We have an event space, a bar and restaurant, and we’re trying to get concerts as a live music venue,” Clark said. “The whole building has an excellent sound system. We’ve been working with Mike Perkins with MP3 Consultants on that. The bar and the restaurant should be open to the public sometime in September, with hours of operation from Tuesday through Friday.”
She went on to say the restaurant will serve craft cocktails, beer, wine and Champagne as well as tapas and smaller plates.
“We’ll do some heavier stuff too and specials. It’ll be seasonal local food, a lot of organics but a little bit bigger scale, because now we have a kitchen on site,” she said.
According to Clark, the newly built, 1,700-square-foot kitchen was a game changer.
“Before coming here, we had to pack everything up into boxes. Catering was contingent on what could hold for hours, load into a van and transport. With a kitchen on site, preparations can come fresh, either into the event space or into the bar and restaurant. We’ve added a ton of equipment because our kitchen is now three times the size of our old one.”
Upstairs on the site includes a VIP bridal suite with bathroom and shower, a viewing room, an employee break room, offices and storage that, in total, cover some 2,000 square feet.
“The viewing room upstairs looks directly over the main room downstairs. It’s really cool because in the past, brides have come in after their ceremony and usually go down to a back room somewhere, completely separate from the event. This space allows them a moment to catch their breath, take in the event separately from the crowd, recover and then come back down to entertain their guests.”
For a future grand opening, Clark went on to say that it’ll probably set up incrementally.
“First we’ll probably do some smaller openings and invite our clients that helped us get to this point, and then do a big one. Right now everybody’s on vacation and so it’s kind of been a good time for us to be moving, cleaning, organizing and trying to get set up in here logistically. You don’t realize how much catering equipment you have until you unpack the place you’ve been at for 16 years.” she said.
Apartments and Airbnb
“Dad, myself and Bestor Ward purchased this building with no real plan, but later developed something around growing the Container Yard into a 7,000-square-foot space and partnering with Bay Gourmet’s Sarah Clark, turning the garage area of the old Red Cross building into a venue hall,” real estate developer Taylor Atchison said.
He went to say that six apartments have been completed on the second floor that provides living space in the mixed-use building. These include five two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,200-square-foot units, and a one-bedroom, one-bath 1,400-square-foot unit on the corner facing Dauphin Street. Layout design is considered neomodern, according to Atchison, and is similar to interior architecture found at the Marine Street Lofts. Atchison was the designer of both projects.
The six units also share stairwells with an adjacent apartment. All tenants have free parking spaces available outside in a surrounding parking lot that holds around 30 spaces. Three units have already been leased, with future plans still up in the air for the three remaining, since Atchison is considering reserving the rest for Airbnb space.
“We’re considering putting our toe in the water, looking into options around short-term leasing for the remaining apartments for short-term gains,” Atchison said. “We’re considering nightly or weekly rentals in an Airbnb setup. We think there may be a lot of interest with an event space being here and can also facilitate executive travelers during the week, especially with a co-working space downstairs. We haven’t yet pulled the trigger and are still trying to gauge interest, but will know what direction to go in the next 30 days.”
Atchison went on the say the mayor’s office had been helpful in moving the project along, and local developer Bob Isakson, president of Lafayette Land Company, as well as Mobile City Councilman Levon Manzie were lobbying to expand the downtown entertainment district to include their site in the near future.
“We obviously wanted a big, long-term deal with high-level tenants, like any developer wants, and felt confident in Stacy and Sarah as anchor tenants in this space. They’re two really strong women who have a vision for what they’re doing in growing their businesses We basically bet on them.”
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