By the end of this summer, Mobile will look a little different both by air, and on the ground as new retailers like Costco, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and others open up where empty lots once sat vacant. Meanwhile, not too far away — renovations have been made at Pinebrook to attract new shops, — that’s already helped to pull in the first Whole Foods to open up in Lower Alabama. The grocer will be up and running in the fall.
Looking at the number of new building permits for new units, the spike is noticeable.
In 2013 there were just 36 unit requests. In 2014, that went up to 77. And so far in 2015, with 46 requests, the city is potentially on track to beat last year’s number.
“There are a number of new retailers that have come into the market which Mobile has just kind of gotten on the map,” said Merrill Thomas, a commercial broker in Mobile.
Thomas says a lot of it has to do with Airbus and Austal expanding. He tells us vacancy is fairly low, and there’s no sign that it’ll slow down.
“I don’t think this is a bubble at all,” said Thomas.
Thomas expects competition to drive even more business to Mobile, especially brands that have not entered the market. And while the challenge is to keep business staying for the long term, the city says what is key, is keeping up with growth.
“I think Westwood is a good example, they’ve doubled in size, Pinebrook it’s a 1960s shopping center that has seen a dramatic improvement as well,” added Bryne.
And as far as which businesses pick Mobile, Bryne says, demand is currently driving which ones set up shop, so it may only be a matter of time before something you’ve been waiting comes to the area.