Officials from the city of Dothan, Houston County Commission, Industrial Development Board of the City of Dothan, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce/Grow Dothan, area business leaders, and Alabama legislators were on hand for the groundbreaking of a new 100,000 square foot speculative building being built in the Sam Houston Industrial Park at 102 Austin Court.
To enhance economic development and recruitment of new industry to the area, the building will be located on a 41-acre site known as Lot 3 in the platted industrial park. The purpose of the spec building is to have an existing building available to lure prospective industry into the area. As studies indicate, approximately 85 percent of industrial projects are seeking existing buildings to move into versus new greenfield development. The spec building will be a finished shell building with the only things needing to be completed will be pouring of the flooring, electrical, sprinkler system and the necessary dock/drive-in doors based on the customized needs of the prospective industry.
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said having available building for prospects is needed to continue to spur economic development. Studies indicate that 85 percent of companies with projects are seeking existing buildings as opposed to greenfield development
“The availability of quality-sized buildings in Alabama needs to be expanded, so seeing the Dothan-Houston County area spearhead this new addition to the state’s building inventory is a big enhancement to continue Alabama’s growth in the industrial development arena,” said Secretary Canfield. “We commend all the state, county, city and business leaders working together to put this facility in place to create future opportunities for the Wiregrass region.”
City of Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba and Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver in a joint statement said, “Working together with our economic team of city, county, chamber, state, utility partners and Industrial Development board leaders, our priority continues to be to build the infrastructure and capacity to continue to spur economic development growth for our region. This project continues to showcase the partnerships we have in our area from the local to state levels, to work collaboratively to enhance economic development progress for our area and continue to create employment opportunities for our residents."
The building will be designed for customized completion based on the needs of the prospective industry and provide local and state economic development officials with an arsenal to lure prospective industry to the area and submit on future economic development projects.
Due to the speed to market for many industries needing to move fast to meet market opportunities, many prospective projects are seeking existing buildings to close the timing gap to get their projects in place versus new greenfield development.
The building will be expandable to add another 100,000 square feet, will have 25 foot by 50 foot column spacing, and a 32-foot eave height on the 41-acre tract of land. The building will be served by Dothan Utilities (Alabama Municipal Electric Authority) with water, sewer and electric service. Natural gas service will be by Southeast Gas and telecommunication providers will include Troy Cable, WOW!, Spectrum and CenturyLink.
"We appreciate the opportunity and partnership in the city of Dothan to support continued economic development success and progress. This is a very essential project to continue our mission in serving the growing needs of the Dothan and our other members in the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority,” said Fred Clark, AMEA president. “We commend the area leaders for their vision and work to creating build capacity to grow. We are proud to be a strong partner in all of Dothan's economic development activities."
Rep. Dexter Grimsley commented, "On behalf of our Governor, the Alabama Department of Commerce/AIDT, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, and our local legislative delegation, we stand ready to work together to support the future opportunities this project will provide our area with new investment and employment growth. We appreciate our partnership and relationship with the city of Dothan, Houston County and our chamber leaders to always work together as a team to support economic development opportunities. We have a great team and we all work together collaboratively to focus on the needs of our area and this project exemplifies the continued teamwork we have in our area."
Brad Kimbro, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce chairman, extended his sincere thanks and appreciation to the city of Dothan, Houston County Commission, the Industrial Development Board of the City of Dothan, state leaders, Chamber leaders, and Engineered Systems Inc. for the public-private partnership to work together to help grow the Wiregrass region. “This approximately $4 million project would not be possible without the teamwork of many entities to develop this project to lure more manufacturing or distribution related operations into the area. Projects like this take on certain risks and there are no guaranties, but based on our rich history of undertaking past speculative building projects we are convinced this is the right time and place to move ahead,” echoed Kimbro.
This project represents the fifth speculative building developed in the Dothan area to spur economic activity and the size of buildings have varied over time due to changing market conditions from 40,000 square foot buildings to now 100,000 square foot buildings. Speculative buildings are built in anticipation of the growth of a community. Based on the outlined plan for a city, county or region, a speculative building is an economic development tool to entice a potential plant expansion or usher in a new manufacturing or distribution operation. The anticipated time for completion of this project is scheduled for fall 2022
Special acknowledgment to the city of Dothan, Houston County Commission, Houston County Road and Bridge Department, the Industrial Development Board of the City of Dothan, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce/Grow Dothan, Alabama Department of Commerce/AIDT, Alabama Department of Transportation, Economic Partnership of Alabama, Southeast Gas, Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, Dothan Utilities, Dothan Planning and Development Department, Engineered Systems Inc, Grow Southeast Alabama, Troy Cable, WOW!, Spectrum and CenturyLink.