7/27/2001 - FedEx moving to Irondale

by Gilbert Nicholson

$3.5M project planned in Old Leeds Industrial Park

Federal Express will close its long-standing drop-off lobby and distribution facility at 3810 First Ave. N. and move early next year to a new building double the size in Irondale.

Construction begins next week on the 57,000-square-foot building in the Old Leeds Industrial Park off Alton Road near the intersection of U.S. Highway 78.

The $3.5 million, 7-acre project is being developed for FedEx by McMahon Development Group of Solana Beach, Calif., near San Diego. McMahon has a national contract with FedEx to build service centers and city stations, says Bob McClendon, a McMahon executive.

Birmingham's Designform Inc. is architect. Doster Construction Co. is the contractor, McClendon says.

The new drop-off lobby will take up about 10,000 square feet of the new building, says Designform project manager Mike Nelson.

Other tenants in the 60-acre Old Leeds Industrial Park include FedEx rival Emery Worldwide air freight, Motion Industries and BellSouth Telecommunications.

Employees relocating

About 100 FedEx employees will move from the First Avenue North location to the new building next winter, along with 10 or 15 employees from FedEx's Homewood office on Snow Drive off Oxmoor Road, says Terry Patton, FedEx senior manager in Birmingham.

The Homewood staff is needed since service for several ZIP codes will move from the Homewood office to Irondale, including 35242, which includes the bustling U.S. Highway 280 corridor, Patton says.

The Irondale location is a strategic site for FedEx. It is about half a mile from the Interstate 459/I-20 intersection and about four miles from Birmingham International Airport, says Jack Brown, vice president of Graham and Co., the Birmingham real estate company that owns Old Leeds Industrial Park.

"The main intent of the location of this hub is to serve the growing eastern side of Birmingham and Highway 280," says Brown, who represented McMahon Development in the site-selection process.

"After being in this facility (on First Avenue) for about 14 years, it will be nice to get a newer one," says Patton, the FedEx senior manager. "We'll have a much-upgraded facility in terms of our ability to process packages quicker."

The current facility, located less than a mile east of Sloss Furnaces, can accommodate 28 vans at one time. The new building will be able to handle 54.

FedEx will keep its service center in the AmSouth Harbert Plaza, which is open until 6:30 p.m.

Contact reporter Gilbert Nicholson at (205) 443-5632 or by e-mail at gnicholson@bizjournals.com.

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