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Potential For Growth: Baldwin County’s 5-Year Commercial Outlook

from White-Spunner Realty

RETAIL
With a greater demand for more residential lots on the Alabama Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle, it stands to reason there will be more retail space needed with more rooftops in Baldwin County on Mobile’s eastern shore. Smaller grocery anchored centers will continue to locate around new neighborhoods along with smaller retail power centers. 
Retail brick and mortar businesses continue to adapt to the new landscape Amazon has created in the U.S. The shipping giant has both the ability to deliver goods to the consumer and has the brick and mortar needed to serve its customer. Amazon continues to disrupt retail business plans and has the cash to do so.  What seems to be working in retail is smaller developments with service-oriented tenants such as hair salons, nail shops, pet grooming, and cash advance storefronts. Restaurants are increasingly paying more rent for ideal locations, which has in turn increased the cost of land for development.    
Despite the disruption to grocery retailers nationally by Amazon, Baldwin County could see up to eight more grocery stores locate in the area in the next five years. This will take shape with existing grocery providers locating a few typical-sized stores in the county as well as newer, smaller prototypes along with new grocery entrants to the market. Because the residential growth in the county shows no signs of slowing, residents will want the services and other items they need located conveniently close to where they live.  Research shows that the median income of households moving into Baldwin County supports the additional community shopping centers that will emerge.  
OFFICE DEMAND
There will be demand for Class A office space along the Eastern Shore.  When construction on the new bridge connecting Mobile and Baldwin County begins, more professionals will desire offices on the Eastern Shore. 
INDUSTRIAL – MANUFACTURING
The Baldwin County Economic Development Association reports 11% growth in jobs in the manufacturing sector and 56% growth in Transportation & Warehousing sector.  
We’re going to see a continuing development of distribution facilities on both side of Mobile Bay, particularly in close proximity to the port, rail and interstate system. Walmart is building one million square feet of warehouse space in west Mobile County and Amazon is building 400,000 square feet of warehouse space nearby just off Interstate 10. Similar projects will continue to be opportunities for commercial growth in Baldwin County. 
More than 60% of the Baldwin County Economic Development Association’s 2017 projects have facility needs of more than 50,000 square feet. Over 40% of BCEDA’s 2017 projects have facility needs of over 100,000 square feet. The mega site project in Bay Minette will yield dividends in due time. If you look at where the Department of Transportation is spending its money on this end of the state, Baldwin County has received fund allocations to build new roads in the county and has money allotted for new major roads.
THE BIG PICTURE
Four of the five fastest growing Alabama cities are located in Baldwin County. The valuation of Foley’s commercial and residential building permits alone increased from $41 million in fiscal year 2016 to more than $137 million in fiscal year 2017. That’s at least a 232% increase in the value of residential and commercial projects permitted in Foley between 2016 and 2017. Baldwin County is projected to become the fourth largest county in Alabama by 2040.  The growth here will be nothing short of transformational in the next five years.

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