In Focus: East Alabama
from Alabama Construction News
Approximately halfway between Birmingham and Atlanta is East Alabama, a region comprised of Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Etowah, Randolph, Talladega and Tallapoosa counties. With new construction of major facilities and revitalization of historic venues, the area is poised for economic growth. “It’s time that East Alabama isn’t the best kept secret in the state,” said Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart. “All of the different cities and counties that make up the region have been blessed with great resources and have been doing so much to spur development. We have lots to offer, and I’m very excited that more people are going to start seeing that.”
While there’s lots going on in East Alabama, there are three particular projects that have been either recently completed or are currently underway that are expected to have major impacts on the region.
The Victoria Inn, a historic Anniston landmark situated on Quintard Avenue, is currently being restored.
The 100-plus-year-old Queen Anne-style home was acquired by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and his wife, Ginger, from the city of Anniston in July 2015. The Marsh’s are currently working to restore the property, which has been renamed The Finial. “The hotel is a landmark, and we want to bring it back to its full potential,” said Senator Marsh. “We are keeping the historic integrity of the structure intact while at the same time bringing in the modern amenities and comforts you expect.”
While completely renovating and updating the structure, the Marshes are making sure to keep the intricate details that make the property so unique, such as its panel doors, stained glass and ornate woodwork. “This property has so many unique features,” Ginger added. “I find myself noticing something different and beautiful practically every day.”
The Finial features 56 bedrooms in the main home, as well as other rooms in the carriage house and cottage. The carriage house, which is original to the property, will serve as a spot for guests to check-in and include a bar, Spencer’s Bar, named after Ginger’s father. The cottage originally served as home for the property’s caretaker. “We actually are including a top floor that has never been opened to the public as the ballroom suite,” Ginger said. “And we have named three suits after the property’s original owners, who were all business leaders in Anniston in their time.”
Since it was originally constructed in 1888, the hotel has welcomed thousands of guests, including celebrities such as Joan Rivers, Bob Hope, Jane Fonda and Muhammad Ali, Ginger said. Once complete, the facility will serve as a bed and breakfast that also hosts special events and weddings. Although the facility houses a full kitchen, the facility will partner with local restaurants and caters to come in for events. “We are looking at this as a partnership with local merchants,” Senator Marsh said. “We are providing a wonderful bed and breakfast and guests can get out and experience downtown Anniston while here. Or, if they are having an event with us, local restaurants can get involved and come in and cater. It’s a win-win.”
CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park
The $20 million CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park opened in June 2015.
The 500-acre facility—located just two miles from the Talladega Superspeedway—is one of the most advanced outdoor facilities in the world, boasting technological advances in the world of marksmanship. The park features a 600-yard rifle range with targets at 200, 300 and 600 yards, a 100-yard multi-purpose range and a 50-yard pistol range, as well as 15 action pistol bays and a trap field, 5-stand field and a 15-station sporting clays field.
Rabren General Contractors served as GC of the project, which also includes a 13,000-square foot clubhouse that overlooks the 600-yard range. While Rabren faced some obstacles along the way—such as having to complete the project in winter months with the cold and rain—the facility was a great success. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility that rivals any in the country,” said Rabren General Contractors President Mike Rabren. “The project turned out to be a great one, and we’re so glad we were able to be a part of it.”
Littleton Electric Service managed the electrical package of the project. “It was great to be part of a project that so many people are excited about,” said Littleton Electric Services President Wes Littleton. “Projects like this don’t come around every day. It was really a lot of fun.”
Oxford Recreation Complex
A 370-acre public sports complex is currently underway in Oxford.
Situated just off Interstate 20, the facility will include four baseball fields plus a signature baseball field, five softball fields plus a signature softball field, four soccer fields, a track and field facility, three miles of walking trails, three playgrounds, a 30-acre lake and two lake pavilions.
Eugene Turner Construction is serving as general contractor on the project and is performing all of the building construction, which includes concession stands, locker rooms, press boxes, restrooms and support buildings. “The facility is going to offer something for everyone and have a great impact,” said Danny Turner, owner of Eugene Turner Construction.
Acker Electric is handling the facility’s electrical, and Goodwyn Mills Cawood is the project’s architect. Taylor Corporation is serving as a subcontractor on the project and is managing much of the earthmoving, storm drains, curbs, gutters, landscaping, playing fields and utilities. “It means a lot to us as a company and to me personally to be involved in this project,” said Taylor Corporation President Lance Taylor. “It is great to be involved with a project of this magnitude here at home.”
Making the project especially unique is a major discovery on the project’s site—it was discovered that the site was once home to Native Americans. After that discovery, archeologists were brought in to find and preserve artifacts before construction could commence. Changes were soon made to incorporate the historical and cultural importance of the property. In fact, at one time, the property housed a Native American burial and ceremonial mount, which was destroyed decades ago. A new mound was designed, and Taylor Corporation built it within the new complex to recognize the historical importance. “The original mound here was bulldozed down sometime in the 1950s we think,” Taylor said. “There was an aerial photograph taken in the 1940s that showed the mount. We worked with the engineers and the archeologist to reconstruct it in its original place.”
Ground broke on the project in August 2014, and completion is expected this spring. According to local officials, the complex is estimated to have an economic impact of $13.5 million annually. “This complex is going to be an incredible asset for the entire region,” said Turner. “The complex will allow for so many great events to be held here, which will benefit more than just Oxford. It will be a benefit for the entire area.”