How does Huntsville fill the need for more workforce housing? By getting creative

Build it and they will come.

The line from the movie Field of Dreams isn’t entirely the solution to the growing problem of the lack of workforce housing in the Huntsville metropolitan area.

But it is a start, according to city officials and business leaders who attended a meeting hosted about the issue by the Huntsville Committee of 100.

“Supply isn’t the only cure,” said Dennis Madsen, the city of Huntsville’s manager for urban and long-range planning. “But supply is part of it. We need to put units on the ground, plain and simple. To make sure you are getting folks at the lower end of the wage scale, in some cases you’ve got to be more creative about it. But step one is to get more housing on the ground because we have more people moving here.”

Hyundai to raise wages 25%, hoping to head off union efforts

Hyundai Motor Group said Monday it will hike wages for its U.S. manufacturing workers, the third non-union competitor to raise pay in the wake of last month’s landmark union deal with the “Big Three” Detroit automakers.

The South Korea-based company, which said it is investing $12.6 billion to build vehicle and battery plants in Georgia, announced a new wage structure Monday that will mean a 25% wage hike in the next four years.

The bump in pay will apply in Hyundai’s Bryan County plant, which is scheduled to start production in early 2025, the first of the company’s facilities dedicated to making electric vehicles. The pay hike also applies to Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Alabama, which has been churning out vehicles since 2005.

Hyundai’s Kia subsidiary has been making vehicles in West Point since November 2009. Monday’s announcement did not include that facility, which has about 2,700 employees, according to state officials.

Hyundai follows Toyota and Honda, which also announced wage hikes in the weeks after the United Auto Workers reached historic agreements with General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, the parent of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. American workers at Hyundai, like those at Honda and Toyota, are not represented by unions. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Hyundai Motor America to Raise Alabama, Georgia Employees’ Hourly Wages

Hyundai Motor America will raise certain U.S. employees’ hourly wages next year.

The auto manufacturer said the new wage structure starting in January for its production team members at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America in Georgia will result in hourly wages increasing 25% by 2028.

There are about 4,000 production team members at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, the company said.

The pending changes come as other automakers have boosted pay following recent labor strikes. The Wall Street Journal

Georgia scores new legal victory over Alabama in ‘water wars’ challenge

A federal judge handed the state of Georgia and Metro Atlanta another legal victory on Thursday when it ruled against Alabama in one of several long-running disputes over management of the states’ shared water supplies.

The decision by a Washington, D.C., district judge in this installment of the so-called “water wars” marks the latest in a string of victories Georgia has notched in recent years.

In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered the most significant ruling to date in the saga when it ruled against Florida, which had argued water use from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers by Georgia residents during a 2012 drought killed its iconic oyster industry in the Apalachicola Bay.

The case decided Thursday concerns a different river basin and does not involve Florida, but is a significant twist in the ongoing legal jostling, which has spanned three decades and has often pit Georgia against its neighbors downstream. Atlanta Journal Constitution

Lt. General: Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal a $30 billion economic engine for the Tennessee Valley

Lt. General Chris Mohan assumed duties as deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command on Dec, 2, 2022.

Mohan is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Army’s logistics enterprise. He also serves as the senior commander of Redstone Arsenal.

Mohan is a native of Carthage, North Carolina. He commissioned into the U.S. Army in 1989 from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where he graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.

His military education includes the Ordnance Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course, the Naval College of Command and Staff and the Army War College. He holds a master of science in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and a master’s degree in military strategy from the Army War College.

Long standing Alabama-Japan bonds on full display at celebration

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Six Japanese companies embarking on investment projects in Alabama were recognized Thursday night at a ceremony that highlighted the deep economic and cultural connections that link the Southeastern state and the Asian nation.

The Japan-America Society of Alabama (JASA) dinner at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa brought together leaders from government, economic development, education and culture in support of the Alabama-Japan relationship.

Birmingham’s Mark Jackson, who serves as Honorary Consul General of Japan, said last night’s event highlighted the multi-layered importance of Alabama’s relationship with Japan.

“From manufacturing, financial and insurance services to educational exchanges and cultural events, Japan has become a major part of Alabama’s landscape,” Jackson said. “Our leaders understand the importance of this relationship, and I am happy to work with them as it continues to expand.

Federal court rules in favor of Mobile, Ala. shipyard in $3.3 billion contract dispute

Mobile-based shipbuilder Austal USA will build $3.3 billion in new Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC) for the U.S. Coast Guard, a federal judge ruled this week, according to court documents.

Austal had been awarded the contract to build up to 11 of the vessels after Eastern Shipbuilding, headquartered in Panama City, Fla., had received a contract to build the first four cutters in what the Coast Guard intends to be a 25-ship program.

OPCs are designed to “bridge the capability” between the Coast Guard’s flagship National Security Cutters — built exclusively at Ingalls Shipbuilding in nearby Pascagoula, Miss. — and its Fast Response Cutters.

In June 2022, after Austal’s bid to build the additional 11 cutters was accepted by the Coast Guard, however, Eastern filed suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, saying the government failed to follow its own guidelines to award the contract based “best value,” rather than lowest bid and “unreasonably ignored material risks” in Austal’s proposal.

Gov. Ivey: Alabama’s rural developers making remarkable progress

PRATTVILLE, Alabama — Economic developers from rural communities across Alabama were urged Wednesday to keep their winning streak going at the 2023 RurAL Summit sponsored by the Alabama Department of Commerce and held at the Central Alabama Community College.

Since 2020, the state’s rural counties have attracted over $4 billion in new capital investment through a series of economic development projects expected to create more than 5,400 jobs, according to Commerce estimates.

Last year alone, new projects landing in Alabama’s “targeted,” or rural counties will bring $1.8 billion in new investment and 1,900 jobs to communities such as Courtland, Selma, Greenville, Fayette and Cusseta.

Governor Kay Ivey, a native of Wilcox County, told the economic developers gathered at the Summit that she is committed to helping spur growth across all of Alabama, particularly in the state’s rural areas.

Major biotech company to get $1.8M in tax incentives from Hoover, Ala.

A major biotech company is getting tax incentives from Hoover to expand its local research center.

The Hoover City Council approved a resolution Monday that provides the abatements to BioCryst Pharmaceuticals that will allow the company to expand its Hoover research and development facility by 42%.

The abatement, allowed for under the Tax Incentive Reform Act of 1992, contains non-educational portions of city, county and state sales use and property taxes. The total estimated benefit to Hoover City Schools through property tax is $971,616 over 10 years. The city’s estimated value of non-educational abated sales/use and property taxes is $753,146. The total estimated value of all abatements — non-educational city, county and state taxes — to BioCryst is $1,828,470.

BioCryst is a global biotechnology company focused on structure-guided drug design, which is used to develop oral small-molecule and protein therapeutics to target difficult-to-treat diseases. The company was founded in 1986 by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The company’s Discovery Center of Excellence was established at Riverchase Corporate Park in the 1990s and has been the research and development hub of the company since. The now Durham, North Carolina-based pharmaceutical company was previously headquartered in Birmingham. Birmingham Business Journal

Alabama wage growth outpaces national wage growth

Wage growth has been slowing in Alabama, but it was higher than national wage growth in October.

For workers who have stayed in the same job for the last 12 months in Alabama, median annual salary was $60,500 in October, 6% higher than one year prior. That’s according to data from ADP Pay Insights, which tracks wages and salaries of over 10 million employees over a 12-month period.

Nationally, those figures were $57,800 and 5.7% in October. Birmingham Business Journal