By William C. Singleton III
The retail phase of the Lane Parke development in Mountain Brook should begin construction by fall, the project’s developer said.
John Evans with Evson Inc. told Mountain Brook City Council members at a recent meeting that construction should start on the retail portion of the development in a few months. He said if everything goes according to plan, stores should open in the fall or winter of 2015.
“All in all, I’d say we’re in good shape,” Evans said.
Evson and Daniel Corp. are developing the $140 million Lane Parke project that will include about 166,000 square feet of retail space, about 30,000 square feet of office space, a 100-room luxury hotel and a 274-unit apartment complex.
The new development will replace the much older 71,000-square-foot Mountain Brook Shopping Center and Park Lane Apartments in Mountain Brook Village, built in 1955 and 1948, respectively, and torn down to make way for the new development.
Officials have already announced that The Kessler Collection plans to build a luxurious Grand Bohemian Hotel on the development. The hotel is expected to be open by next summer, they say.
Mountain Brook officials say the Lane Parke development will be built in three phases and take about three years to complete. The retail development represents the first phase.
Evans recently appeared before the council to provide an update on the project. He said developers are one tenant shy of having about 80 percent of the retail space pre-leased.
“Once we do that, we’ll take the leases and go to financial institutions. And at the point that we have funding in hand, then we’ll come out to the public who the tenants are and give a more accurate timeline,” Evans said. “With Kessler coming on board, the interest from high-end retailers really percolated up. We’re really excited. The mix will be really good.”
Robert Jolly, president of Retail Specialists, said developers are currently negotiating with that one tenant. He said all new tenants in the retail space will be “first to market” tenants, meaning “they’ll be having their first location in Alabama in Mountain Brook Village.”
Jolly also said developers are intentionally reserving 20 percent of the retail spaces.
“We believe the interest and the economics improve once there’s physical progress, so some of the vacancies have been strategic,” he said.
Western Supermarket will also have a spot in the new retail building. Western Supermarket operated a store on property that is now part of the new Lane Parke development. Jolly said the supermarket should be ready in nine months.
As far as the apartments, the first building was completed a month ago, and the last building will be finished by September or October, Evans said.
“The demand is high. We see a lot of out-of-state (license) plates. We’re very excited,” he said.