Business as Usual: Changes downtown and down at the mall
by Star staff
Mar 17, 2013 | 8032 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Commerce Tower, the 11-story building at Noble Street and Alabama 202, is in foreclosure, (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Commerce Tower, the 11-story building at Noble Street and Alabama 202, is in foreclosure, (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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Commerce Tower returning to auction block

Owners of Commerce Tower, an 11-story office building at Eighth and Noble streets currently in foreclosure, hope to hold on the building as courthouse auctions have failed to garner interest and have been rescheduled monthly since January.

But Hilton Tomlinson, an attorney for mortgage owner Baron Trust, said he thinks a new auction set for April 3 will finally be successful.

“I’m 90 percent sure it will go off that day,” he said. “We’ve continued it enough.”

County tax records show the building was erected in 1989 and is currently assessed at slightly more than $4 million.

Tomlinson said he wasn’t sure why there was so little interest in the building, but offered a suggestion: “The fact that the largest tenant of the building has moved out,” he said, “the building has sort of lost its sex appeal.”

When the Department of Human Resources, the building’s largest tenant, vacated the property to move to a new building downtown, the company lost a $50,000-per-month lease, according to James Lloyd, a property manager and owner for Noble Street Properties. The move left eight of the 11 floors empty. About seven tenants still occupy the building, Lloyd said.

Lloyd said he hoped his company — which also manages other properties in the city’s downtown — could secure enough tenants to get a new line of credit for the property in time to keep the building.

Lloyd said a new tenant is committed to an entire floor of the Watermark Tower, which is being built out floor-by-floor to suit tenants as they sign on. Currently four of 12 floors are occupied, he said.

Another floor in Commerce Tower, he said, has strong interest from from a prospective tenant.

Lloyd said although Noble Street Properties handles all four buildings, only the Commerce Tower will be affected by the foreclosure.

— Paige Rentz

Sarrell Dental has record growth in 2012, wins awards

The Anniston-based nonprofit Sarrell Dental had record growth in patients and revenue last year and was recently recognized for its success.

Jeff Parker, CEO of Sarrell Dental, which provides dental and eye care to low-income children at clinics across Alabama, said Sarrell treated about 140,000 patients and received about $15.6 million in revenue in 2012, both records for the company.

Sarrell has experienced continuous growth since it opened its first clinic in 2005, treating about 3,500 patients that year. Sarrell now has 14 clinics and a dental bus and 225 employees. Sarrell almost exclusively gets all its funding from Medicaid reimbursements.

"We still do not rely on cash donations and grants," Parker said.

Due to its success, the state Head Start program recently awarded Sarrell its Alabama Corporation of the Year award for 2012. Sarrell received the award the previous two years. Parker said Sarrell was also the 2012 runner-up for the Birmingham Business Journal's 2013 Nonprofit of the Year award.

"We are the first nonprofit based out of Calhoun County to ever be nominated," Parker said.

— Patrick McCreless

Quintard Mall restaurant to reopen

A restaurant at Quintard Mall is back in business.

Brooke McCulley, marketing director for Quintard Mall in Oxford, said the Red Pepper Grill will reopen under new ownership and management today. The restaurant closed several months ago after first opening last year.

McCulley said the restaurant will open for lunch and dinner, serving a variety of authentic Mexican dishes.

Attempts to reach the new owner for comment Friday were unsuccessful.

— Patrick McCreless

Wells Fargo bank office could move by June

The Wells Fargo building on Quintard Avenue awaits demolition. According to Jamie Dexter, a spokeswoman with Wells Fargo’s corporate office, the company decided the best fit for the Anniston market was a stand-alone store.

Tenants were notified in August they had to vacate the building by the end of the year, and Dexter said the bank plans to close its officers there in May or June. She said the company is currently working to prepare a temporary location for operations on the same property.

Wells Fargo, she said, will let customers know in advance of any changes.

— Paige Rentz

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