The federal Economic Development Administration announced on Friday the award of $4.8 million in grants to projects in Mobile and Atmore, Ala.
Speaking in Mobile, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine announced that the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce will receive a $2.9 million grant to renovate and modernize the former Threaded Fasteners building located at 358 St. Louis Street in downtown Mobile. The renovated 35,000 square foot building will house Innovation PortAL, a business incubator created by the Mobile Area Chamber Foundation. Innovation PortAL is a place entrepreneurs will go to launch a business idea or accelerate an existing company with the help of industry experts, mentors and specialized training, according to executive director Hayley Van Antwerp.
“We’re thrilled to receive this grant from the EDA,” said Bill Sisson, the chamber’s president and CEO. “It helps propel the Innovation PortAL forward quickly and creates an environment where entrepreneurs can be successful and flourish for years to come.”
Van Antwerp says the project will serve 300+ entrepreneurs, helping to create an estimated 500 local jobs and contributing an estimated $5 million to the local economy.
“This grant is the catalyst that will transform this dream into a much needed resource for our community,” said Van Antwerp.
The City of Atmore will also receive a $1.9 million grant to construct an industrial access road that will serve a new aerospace manufacturing facility to be located in the Rivercane Industrial Park development. This grant will support critical job creation and investment in Atmore, a city that has experienced recent job loss and worker displacement from the loss of two major employers. According to grantee estimates, this investment is expected to create 116 jobs and generate $114 million in private investment.
“Manufacturing fuels the world’s most innovative economy and has helped build the American middle class,” said Erskine. “These EDA investments in Alabama will help to establish and grow manufacturing firms in the Mobile region, and bring a new aerospace manufacturing facility to Atmore.”