Propst Promenade

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Propst Promenade is the first and northern half of a major two-part retail center originally opened as Colonial Promenade Alabaster Phase I in 2005 at the intersection of U.S. Highway 31 and Interstate 65 (Exit 238) in Alabaster. The center is traversed by Colonial Promenade Parkway. The shopping center was developed by Colonial Properties Trust. It was at the center of a nationally-publicized controversy over the use of eminent domain to facilitate private commercial development.

The center was constructed by Brasfield & Gorrie and Walter Schoel Engineering Company to architectural designs by Crawford McWilliams Hatcher Architects.

In June 2007, Colonial Properties sold 85% of its shares in Colonial Promenade Alabaster North to joint ventures, but continued to manage and lease the property. In late 2012 Phase I was sold to Huntsville's Propst Properties for $37.4 million. Signage reflecting the property's new name went up February 1, 2013.

In October 2015 the center was sold for $52 million to Sweet Home Bama, a limited liability company registered in Delaware by DeDe Harbin. Probst was retained to manage and lease the property.

Tenants

The $70 million first phase, east side I-65 and north of Highway 31, encompasses 685,000 square feet on 111.2 acres with 18 tenants, including Wal-Mart Supercenter, Belk, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ross, Lowe's, Dress for Less, Pier 1 Imports, Books-A-Million and an AmStar 14-cinema multiplex. Smaller tenants include Moe's Southwest Grill, Supercuts, Lorch's Jewelers, Claire's, Rue 21, Hibbett Sporting Goods, Merle Norman Cosmetics, Trade Secrets, Sally Beauty Supply, EB Games, Bible Factory Outlet, Perry Allen Gifts, Thacker's, Extreme Wireless, Lee Nails, Cellular Sales, Habañero's, Chuckie's Grilled Subs, Home Theater Experience, and Cold Stone Creamery. Outparcel tenants include Taco Bell, Full Moon Bar-B-Q, Chick-Fil-A, Ruby Tuesday, R. J. Gator's and Buffalo Wild Wings. Wachovia and Aliant Banks have also built branches in the complex.

Of those tenants, Belk and AmStar made their initial forays into the Birmingham market at Colonial Promenade Alabaster. Stores in the first phase opened between May and November 2005.

A 150-room Wingate Inn with a restaurant and conference facilities is located uphill from the Wal-Mart.

The Alabaster Dairy Queen moved to the Colonial Promenade in 2009.

Controversy

The project was opposed by some of the property owners whose land was needed for the development. A group of ten owners sued the City of Alabaster and Colonial Properties to prevent the controversial use of eminent domain to force them to sell approximately 10 of the 400 acres needed. In June 2003, the Alabaster City Council voted 6-0 (with 1 abstention) to adopt the I-65, 238 Urban Renewal and Urban Redevelopment Plan which determined that the property in question was a "blighted area". The city subsequently entered into an agreement to condemn and seize the land, and then exchange it and certain infrastructure improvements for the construction of new city facilities to be provided by Shelby Land Partners, a limited-liability corporation established to negotiate with the city for the development. At the time Wal-Mart and Belk had already been announced as prospective tenants.

The story was picked up nationally by critics of what many consider to be abuse of eminent domain. Landowner Lily Spence appeared on CNN to voice her objections to having her property condemned. The case was cited by Montgomery legislators who passed legislation severely restricting the scope of public uses allowed in eminent domain cases. The July 2005 law followed a Supreme Court decision in a Massachusetts dispute that the matter was for states to decide.

References