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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Alabama manufacturing growth well ahead of nationwide pace
Incoming Mobile Airport Authority chief Roger Wehner talks Airbus, 'getting things done
Opelika council approves $35M in tax abatements for Mando
Sunshine Mills to expand RB plant
Trinity victory in court sets in motion $750 million worth of development
Mercedes-Benz posts fifth straight month of record sales in U.S


Alabama manufacturing growth well ahead of nationwide pace
By Alex Walsh | awalsh@al.com 
on June 05, 2013 

New research confirms the notion that Alabama's manufacturing economy is expanding, despite a national slowdown.

The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for Alabama was 55.7 in May, according to Kennesaw State University's Econometric Center. Kennesaw State tracks the PMI for each of six southeastern states. A PMI above 50 indicates that manufacturing is expanding in a certain area; the nationwide PMI for May was 49.

For a state that needs to see its job growth ramp up, perhaps the best news from May's PMI report was that manufacturers were expanding hiring in Alabama. Expanded hiring in Alabama helped boost manufacturing activity throughout the southeast, according to Kennesaw State's report.

Despite the increases, however, there were some signs of softness. Both new orders and production decreased in Alabama, according to the May report.



Incoming Mobile Airport Authority chief Roger Wehner talks Airbus, 'getting things done'
By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 
on June 04, 2013 

MOBILE, Alabama - When Roger Wehner assumes the helm of the Mobile Airport Authority later this month, it will be a homecoming of sorts for the veteran economic developer.


Wehner, who currently serves as president of Birmingham-based Global Resource Group LLC, actually spent a significant chunk of his tenure with Alabama Power Co. on executive loan to the authority while Airbus parent EADS and then-partner Northrop-Grumman Corp. built their business case to lure a lucrative refueling tanker project for the U.S. Air Force to Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex.


The authority oversees both Brookley and Mobile Regional Airport.


Specifically, Wehner - whose background incorporates substantial international trade and business development expertise - was charged with first examining and absorbing the intricacies associated with recruiting the supply chain necessary to support a southwest Alabama aerospace cluster and then maintaining those relationships even after EADS archrival Boeing Co. ultimately won the $42 billion contract in February 2011.





Opelika council approves $35M in tax abatements for Mando
Drew Taylor | Opelika-Auburn News

June 4, 2013


Mayor Gary Fuller remembers before Mando America Corp. opened in 2005, it had a goal of bringing in 150 jobs and $45 million in capital investment. Now, the company is looking to do more.


During Tuesday night's Opelika City Council meeting, $35 million in additional tax abatements were approved for the automotive parts manufacturer. The abatements would include facility and equipment improvements over the next three years and the company plans to hire an additional 67 employees during that time to support the expansion. The abatements will bring the company to more than 700 employees and its capital investment to approximately $190 million.


During the meeting, Fuller expressed his appreciation for Mando's business and the council's decision to grant the abatements to them


"I know I speak for the entire city council in thanking Mando for [its] confidence," Fuller said.




[Opelika Auburn News]


Sunshine Mills to expand RB plant
By Kellie Singleton
June 1, 2013

RED BAY - Red Bay city officials approved tax abatements for a local company that is planning to expand its facilities inside the city limits.

Mitch Mays, executive director of the Franklin County Development Authority, said that Sunshine Mills, Inc., would be adding two buildings to their facilities that would total 25,000 sq. ft. of additional space.

Mays addressed the Red Bay City Council at their May 16 meeting to request a sales and use tax abatement for the purchase of materials to go toward the construction of the expansion.

Mays also requested a 10-year property tax abatement for the expansion property only, even through Sunshine Mills will still pay the education tax portion of the property and sales taxes.




[Franklin County Times]



Trinity victory in court sets in motion $750 million worth of development (updated)
By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com 
on June 04, 2013 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - With the years-long fight over Trinity Medical Center's plan to move to U.S. 280 resolved in the hospital's favor, plans are once again in motion for $750 million worth of directly related development.


Daniel Corp., which owns the hospital building and the surrounding campus, plans to begin construction on a $40 million medical office building adjacent to the hospital soon, said Senior Vice President Jim Adams. The goal is to have the medical office building, in which seven floors of offices will sit atop five or six levels of parking, open at the same time as the new Trinity. The company is preparing to contact tenants of the medical office buildings near the existing Trinity and anticipates nearly all will make the move to the new building.


Next, Daniel plans to strike a deal with a four-star hotel to be built adjacent to the existing Cahaba Grand Conference Center, which the company also owns. It's not yet been determined whether Daniel will own the hotel and contract with a chain to run it, or sell the property to a hospitality company, Adams said. Simultaneously, retail development of about 20,000 square feet of property on the portion of the campus that faces U.S. 280 is likely.






Mercedes-Benz posts fifth straight month of record sales in U.S.
By Stan Diel | sdiel@al.com 
on June 03, 2013 

 BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Mercedes-Benz USA set a sales record in May - it's fifth consecutive monthly record - with sales totaling 27, 359 vehicles, an 8.3 percent increase over the same month a year ago.


Steve Cannon, president and CEO of MBUSA, said gains were seen throughout the company's market line, from entry-level vehicles to the company's most expensive cars.


" We expect to build on that pace as more of our completely redesigned E-Class models roll into dealer showrooms," he said in a prepared statement.


The C-, E- and Alabama-made M-Class showed the most improvement. The company sold 3,219 M-Class sport utility vehicles, up from 3,198. Year-to-date, the M-Class has sold 15,661, however, down 12 percent from 17,735.





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Val Walton
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