And what it means for Mobile
The University of South Alabama Foundation’s mission is to support the University and its academic programs, through support of scholarships, faculty and academic programs.
The Foundation acquired 331 acres located between Mobile Bay and the Brookley Aeroplex in 2010. In 2012, we adopted a set of objectives for the property.
The objectives balance our legal duty to generate a solid return on the investment we made in purchasing the property with other important considerations that affect the Foundation, the University, the environment, and the Mobile community.
The objectives include:
- GENERATING a return on the investment
- PRESERVING wetlands that make up part of the site
- CONTRIBUTING to the economic development of the region
- PRESERVING positive relations with local stakeholders, like the City, the Chamber and the Mobile Airport Authority, among others
- DEVELOPING the property in ways that reflect positively on the Foundation and the University
- CAPITALIZING on the unique qualities of the Brookley site
- MINIMIZING future maintenance costs and capital outlays
From time to time, the Foundation has received indications of interest in the property from potential buyers.
Maximizing Return on Investment
Each member of the Foundation Board has a fiduciary duty to use all of the Foundation’s assets in furtherance of its mission to support the University and its academic programs. That means we are legally bound to achieve a good return on our investment in the Brookley property.
But we believe this legal responsibility does not preclude us from achieving other goals that are beneficial to the community.
Preservation of Wetlands
The Brookley property includes 40 acres of wetlands, directly adjacent to Mobile Bay. Such wetland areas are known to be important to the overall ecology of the Bay, inland rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Science has demonstrated that wetlands help purify water quality and mitigate pollution and other human effects. They also protect shorelines from wave action, protect fragile species, and reduce the impacts of flooding and sea-level rise.
We believe it is important, therefore, that the wetlands be preserved and protected and we seek to do so, in partnership with any potential buyer.
Contributing to the Economic Development of the Area
The Foundation will contribute to the economic development of this area through the sale of the property to a qualified developer.
The proper development of this property will bring new businesses to the Mobile area and encourage existing ones to expand. We believe the 300 acre site can complement what is already a vibrant Brookley Aeroplex, located just seven minutes from downtown Mobile.
Preserving and Enhancing Relationships with Stakeholders
Because responsible development of the Brookley property provides opportunities for the economic development of the greater Brookley area, it will directly benefit the City of Mobile, Mobile County, the Mobile Airport Authority, the Chamber of Commerce, and other stakeholders.
We are confident that, by serving as a catalyst for this development and by protecting the wetlands, the Foundation’s consistent history of positive relations with these key stakeholders will be maintained and enhanced.
Development That Reflects Positively on the University and the Foundation
The Foundation believes that the first-class development of the property and the strong commitment to preserve and protect the environmentally important wetlands will reflect positively on the University of South Alabama and on the Foundation, thus achieving another of the objectives we identified in 2012.
Minimizing Future Costs and Capital Outlays
Through the sale of this asset, the Foundation will be able to better support the students and academic programs of the University of South Alabama, by minimizing future costs and capital outlays associated with it.
Doing Our Duty and Helping the Community
The Foundation is confident that the path we have embarked upon, once it reaches its conclusion, can represent a win for everyone:
- The Foundation fulfills its mission and legal duty to maximize the return on its investment.
- The City and Airport Authority benefit from major private investment.
- The citizens of Mobile and the surrounding communities benefit from economic development, with new jobs and corporate tax revenues.