Tallapoosa and Chambers counties, in east-central Alabama, benefit greatly from its crown jewel, Lake Martin, along with other natural resources. Many consider this area an ideal place to live, work and play.
These counties are close to Hyundai in Montgomery and Kia in West Point, Georgia, which makes automotive suppliers the largest economic engine in both counties. Both counties have diverse economic sectors including wood and forest products, food services, higher education and health care.
Quality of life is important here, too, as shown by downtown revitalization, parks, trails, attractions and more.
School systems are heavily involved in workforce development and work closely with industry and business to determine what is needed. Business incubators are located here, and both counties are busy expanding broadband.
In Chambers County, from 2021-22 the county has seen more than $300 million in capital investment and 300 new jobs, according to economic developers. A huge development for the county is John Soules Foods, which located in the county recently and already is one of its largest manufacturers. Since the city of Valley has been certified as an ideal site for food and beverage companies, more similar companies are likely, officials say.
At Lake Martin, the demand for lakefront living has not slowed at all. Throughout the pandemic, demand accelerated. To help meet demand, Russell Lands, which owns, manages and develops commercial and residential real estate primarily along 41,000 acres of water and 880 miles of shoreline, announced a new luxury residential development, The Heritage, which will include a Coore & Crenshaw golf course, to be called Wicker Point Golf Club at The Heritage. It is the first in the state to be designed by famed architect Bill Coore and golf legend Ben Crenshaw. The private course should be completed in early 2023.
“We already have Willow Point Golf, which is a big amenity for us, but we found we needed more golf,” says Tom Lamberth, Russell Lands president and CEO. “We started thinking about it quite some time ago and we realized we needed more residential product as well.” The new development is expected to generate some $40 million for Alexander City and Tallapoosa County in the next 10 to 15 years, he says.
The Heritage will be within the city limits of Alexander City. It is a 1,500-acre waterfront development along 12 miles of shoreline and will include 200 waterfront lots and 150 wooded interior homesites, as well as a resident-owned lake club, covered pavilions, firepits, community docks and more. Most of the project’s first phase lots have already been sold.
Another huge development for the area is Russell Medical’s multi-facility expansion project that is underway, made possible by a $25 million donation by Ben and Luanne Russell. The gift is the largest in the hospital’s history and will include an independent living community, an assisted living facility, the Benjamin Russell Center for Advanced Care for geriatric health care and specialty services, and a Benjamin Russell Endowed Chair in Geriatrics that will be held by the medical director of the advanced care center.
Lori Chandler Pruitt is a Birmingham-based freelance writer for Business Alabama.
For more on Tallapoosa and Chambers counties, see the links below:
This story appears in the December 2022 issue of Business Alabama magazine.