Year in Review: Projects with big price tags highlight the year in business in Alabama

From billion-dollar projects to $50 million expansions to changes in top leadership roles

A couple of new billion-dollar construction projects. Hundreds of millions in major expansions across the state. Defense contracts that reach to the hundreds of millions and into the billions.

Those are among the highlights of Alabama’s year in 2023.

In the next few pages, we celebrate the year that was, taking a look back at the major events in Alabama business during the last 12 months.

Nucor is building a steel plant in Decatur.

Big New Projects

The Alabama Department of Transportation announced it’s moving forward with the $2.7 billion I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway.

First Solar Inc. plans a $1.1 billion factory in Lawrence County’s Mallard Fox West Industrial Park, the company’s fourth photovoltaic solar module manufacturing plant in the U.S. More information on both the First Solar project and the Mobile River Bridge projects can be found here.

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Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp., based in Seattle, Washington, announced a $232 million microreactor assembly plant in Gadsden.

The $200 million Huntsville Logistics Center is a new industrial park under construction in Limestone County.

Korean automaker Samkee announced a $128 million plant in Tuskegee.

Steelmaker Nucor is building a $125 million plant in Decatur that will manufacture transmission towers.

Construction began on the $120 million Cooper Green Mercy Health Clinic in Birmingham.

A $65 million project in downtown Huntsville will include a pedestrian skybridge and River Walk.

Samford University, in Birmingham, broke ground on a $65 million recreation and wellness complex.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham announced plans for a $76 million Biomedical Research and Psychology Building.

Sierra Pacific Windows announced a $60 million plant in Phenix City. It’s the company’s first facility in the Southeast.

A $50 million amphitheater is moving ahead in Birmingham near Protective Stadium.

Wind Creek Hospitality, which is based in Alabama, has purchased a major casino in Florida.

Major Acquisitions

Wind Creek Hospitality’s PCI Gaming purchased the Magic City Casino in Miami, Florida, for a reported $600 million.

In an $85 million deal, USA Health System has acquired Providence Hospital.

Southwire is expanding in Florence.

Major Expansions

Kronospan announced a $350 million expansion at its site in Oxford, including a new plant for oriented strand board.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama announced plans to invest $290 million in its Montgomery plant, paving the way for the plant to build the next-generation Santa Fe SUV.

The City of Decatur approved $140 million in building permits for planned expansion at United Launch Alliance.

At the end of December 2022, Mobile broke ground on a $330 million project, including a new terminal and parking structure, at Mobile International Airport. For more on the Mobile International Airport, as well as projects at other airports around the state, visit here.

Shinhwa Auto USA announced plans to invest $114 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Auburn.

Cerrowire opened a $100 million expansion in Hartselle to make metal-clad cable.

Georgia-based Chart Industries will open a second site in Theodore with an investment of $74 million.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham kicked off a planned $73 million expansion of its emergency services.

APM Terminals is investing $60 million to improve rail service at its container cargo facilities at the Port of Mobile.

Children’s of Alabama has launched a $55 million expansion in Birmingham. The project will build out the 12th floor of the Benjamin Russell building that’s currently a shell.

Southwire announced a major expansion in Florence.

Boeing’s Space Launch System work with NASA will continue with a new $3.2 billion contract.

Major Defense Contracts

Boeing’s Huntsville operations received a $3.2 billion NASA contract for more Space Launch System rockets after the successful Artemis I mission.

Lockheed Martin and Joint Technical Solutions, in Huntsville, were awarded an $840 million contract to work on hypersonic weapons.

nTSI, a joint venture of Huntsville’s Modern Technology Solutions and Nou Systems, was awarded a $637 million contract for work on Missile Defense Systems.

ITSC Secure Solutions, in Huntsville, was awarded an Air Force contract for up to $415 million.

PCI Productions, in Atmore, was awarded a $217 million NASA contract to manage communications for the agency.

B.L. Harbert International was awarded a $210 million construction contract for a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The company was also awarded a $122.4 million contract for a new material exploitation center at Redstone Arsenal.

Arrow’s Edge LLC, of Huntsville, was awarded a $200 million U.S. Navy contract for support of the Fleet Readiness Center.

KBR was awarded a $156.7 million Army contract for work on the Black Hawk helicopter fleet.

General Dynamics won a $152 million contract to manage Alabama Supercomputer Authority centers.

Huntsville-based Gradkell Systems was awarded a $150 million contract to maintain and modernize the financial management system for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Austal USA has been awarded a $113.9 million contract to build up to seven ocean surveillance ships for the U.S. Navy.

Helena Duncan was selected this year as president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

Other Bits of Business

Sen. Richard Shelby retired in January after representing Alabama in Washington for 44 years.

Cynthia Crutchfield was named the first CEO of Innovate Alabama.

Helena Duncan was selected as president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama.

Jeff Peoples was named president and CEO of Alabama Power.

Dawn Bulgarella was named CEO of the UAB Health System.

Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh resigned in August. Michelle Kruger is acting president.

Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery began assembling the Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV, the first Genesis model assembled outside of South Korea.

A nearly two-year strike by United Mine Workers at Warrior Met came to an end.

Jimmy Rane, owner of Great Southern Wood Preserving in Abbeville, was Alabama’s lone representative on Forbes’ annual list of billionaires.

Alabama will receive $1.4 billion from the U.S. Commerce Department to improve broadband access in underserved areas.

With an annexation vote in July, Mobile became Alabama’s second-largest city, surpassing Birmingham.

At the end of the year, Greg Canfield stepped down as secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce after serving for 12 years. Montgomery’s Ellen McNair will succeed him.

Alec Harvey is executive editor of Business Alabama.

This article appears in the December 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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