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:

High-tech corridor taking shape along Mobile's former Automobile Alley
By Kelli M. Dugan
November 12, 2015
With one building's transformation nearly complete, another on tap and negotiations ongoing for several more rehabilitation projects, the reimagining of downtown Mobile's former Automobile Alley into a high-tech corridor is gaining traction.

"Obviously, we were excited about the potential for the redevelopment of St. Louis Street, but I don't think I expected it to translate into such enthusiasm from other business owners so soon," said Fred Rendfrey, economic development director for the Downtown Mobile Alliance.

Rendfrey cited plans for construction of a five-story, 155,000-square-foot federal courthouse across from the existing - and soon-to-be-renovated - John Archibald Campbell U.S. Courthouse on St. Louis Street as the catalyst for the corridor's rebirth.The $89 million project is expected to bridge the central business district and De Tonti Square Historic District.


Alabama charts future with China
 Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser
 November 13, 2015

Last week, experts from around the world gathered in Montgomery to come up with ways for China to navigate the dangers created by rapid growth and urbanization. At the same time, a group of Alabama leaders was in China to learn more about the nation and make business connections.

The state has spent the past decade forging stronger ties with China even as it became the world's economic engine. That's thanks in large part to the Confucius Institutes here - separate institutes at Auburn Montgomery and Troy University organized the summit and the overseas trip last week.

Senators, municipal officials and business leaders came along for the trip to learn more about the changing shape of China and form new connections.


Port announces construction of intermodal container transfer facility

The Alabama State Port Authority today announced construction of an intermodal container transfer facility that will open Mobile to several new markets.

The 70-acre facility will make the Port of Mobile a viable option for containerized freight and open up markets, like Memphis and Chicago, Port CEO Jimmy Lyons said. It takes too long by truck for Mobile to be a viable market for those cities, but with containerized freight, goods can travel from the local port to many portions of the Midwest.

"It gets us into the Midwest, which we haven't had access to before," Lyons said. "It provides for new shipping lines into the city."


Bentley announces grant to develop employees for Alabama's timber and forestry industry
State of Alabama Governor's Office
 November 12, 2015 

MONTGOMERY- One of Alabama's largest employers is looking for new workers, and a $297,000 grant announced by Gov. Robert Bentley will help that happen.

The Appalachian Regional Commission grant awarded to Auburn University at Montgomery will help establish an entry-level certification program for people seeking careers in forestry.

"Timber is big business in Alabama, and the range of jobs involving forestry is immense," Bentley said. "This program will help students and others to examine the fields available in the forestry industry and find rewarding careers in a fascinating vocation."


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