Geograhy assures Atmore of growth

Published 3:53 am Sunday, April 2, 2000

By By Seth Dettling
In order to understand why Atmore is on the verge of substantial growth, we must first examine the geography. In real estate we always say the three most important factors are location, location, and location. Well, in short, that is what Atmore has going for it.
Mobile County is steadily growing north/east and the growth is bottlenecked toward Escambia County. The City of Mobile is driving the growth within Mobile County as development has closed the gap with Mississippi to the west, and the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay to the south and east. The Mobile River is one of Atmore's greatest assets as it creates a natural boundary between any growth to its west and from the interstate to the east. In addition, the traffic arteries Hwy 45 and 43 are poor leading into the northwest corner of Mobile County.
The Mobile River is crossed in two areas, one by Interstate 65 and the other by Interstate 10/US 90. Inter-state 10/US 90 provides access to Baldwin County in the Daphne and Spanish Fort areas. The next traffic artery to the north that provides access across the Mobile River is Highway 84, which connects Monroeville to Evergreen.
Baldwin County is, in a word, exploding. The average sales price of a single-family dwelling in Baldwin County for 1999 was $168,000. The growth there is fueled in part by the bay and gulf. In recent years the area has experienced the development of golf courses, high dollar subdivisions, retirement communities, shopping outlets and brand new schools. The growth is heading north, and property values are on the increase. Baldwin County can only grow north as the west is hindered by the bay, the south by the gulf and the east by Perdido Bay and growing Pensacola Florida.
The growth in Baldwin County has not spilled over to the north of Interstate 65, and we do not foresee major development there for many years to come. The reason is simple n northern Baldwin County has nothing to offer industry or development and will likely remain best utilized as timberland and farmland. The Mobile River and lack of traffic arteries in this region is a discouraging factor for development. This development will follow the current pattern of north/east direction into Escambia County.
One additional factor that we may explore in greater detail in a future issue is the impact of the privatization of the industrial parks in Baldwin County, and how this has produced tremendous results.
Pensacola is also an important nucleus of growth. Pensacola will continue to grow northward as the gulf is to the south, and the east is already developed in areas like Destin and Fort Walton. In addition, the Air Force base to the east occupies a substantial landmass, which further concentrates the development.
The focal point of the growth northward is following US97 and 29. It was only 25 years ago when there was only one traffic light between Atmore and the intersection of US29 and Brent Lane in Pensacola. Highway 97 has new homes sprouting up as people employed in the Pensacola area now choose to flee the congestion and high-priced real estate market.
All of this growth from Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia County, Fla., is on a collision course with Atmore. Atmore will grow as a natural consequence of these factors, and the already strong real estate market will reap the rewards.
In upcoming columns we will be exploring the factors that can positively and negatively affect the future of Atmore and surrounding communities.

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