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Financing plagues Rivercane growth

By By Adam Prestridge
Investors interested in building in Atmore’s Rivercane commercial development off Interstate 65 are having trouble securing financing, Project Manger Joe Webb said earlier this week.
Webb and members of the Atmore Industrial Development Board met Thursday morning during their monthly meeting to discuss the 643-acre development, where Holiday Inn Express and Hardee’s recently opened.
Two additional hotels are planned for the development, but both developers have been unable to secure funding.
Even current owners in the development are having trouble with lenders.
A third hotel, which was set to break ground in June, was also delayed, but paperwork held the project up.
Webb said a revised start up date is anticipated to be right away.
Not only are hotels interested in locating in the development. Webb said a retail developer from Baldwin County recently contacted project real estate firms and said that they are “confident” that if they get a few more retailers to commit to lease space that a retail center would be in the future.
Webb added that he is “actively” working with another fast food restaurant to locate its developers a site that would “fit their needs.”
Additionally, one of the developments two real estate groups, John Stanley &Associates, has created new marketing material for Rivercane that is currently being printed in an effort to help in marketing the site.
Webb also updated the board on the successes that both Holiday Inn Express and Hardee’s are enjoying.
Webb said the taxes the city earned are more than preliminary estimates when the project was started.
Webb added that Hardee’s developers are “pleased” with the success the restaurant has in had in it first months.