The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board is seeking a new warehouse and central office for its operations. 

The ABC board announced last week it put out a request for proposals on a new lease. Responses are due by October 20, but a pre-proposal conference is scheduled for September 8. 

"The ABC Board must continually evaluate its business model, assess distribution processes and measure the productiveness of its facilities in order to provide the general public with the products and services it desires," ABC Board Administrator Curtis E. Stewart said in a statement last week. "ABC Board operations have nearly doubled the past 10 years. The Warehouse and Central Office facilities as currently configured are no longer sufficient. The Board desires to review any and all options that support efficient and cost-effective operations."

According to ABC, the Board seeks "creative and innovative proposals that remedy current limitations and provide a means for managed growth into the future." The current lease for the central office complex and main warehouse will expire on March 31, 2025.

By law, the ABC Board is required to lease all facilities. The Board's central offices and warehouse, located at 2715 Gunter Park Drive West in Montgomery, were leased in April 1982. The site has been modified multiple times to increase warehouse space, parking and office space.  The ABC Board now requires "facilities designed to alleviate current constraints, that foster continued growth and support the future business needs of the state of Alabama," according to the ABC.

SEE ALSO: State Sen. Orr: ABC board giving landlords' sweetheart' leasing deals; Says board member once offered him deal

John Knight, an ABC Board member, told 1819 News in a recent interview he had questions about the project over cost concerns and the process around how the request for proposal was sent out.

"I don't have a clue what they're talking about other than they want a new warehouse and somebody put together a proposal on what's needed, and they've said that they want to send out an RFP. It's short notice. It's almost like on a project that size I think it would take longer even for the RFP to be out there for people to get situated so that people can have time to run the numbers to see what it would take to really do a warehouse like that," Knight said. "I raised some questions because I felt like it should've come to the board before they put the RFP out on a project that's estimated at $80 million and above in terms of a warehouse and new office and all of that. All of that would have to be paid for by the taxpayers."

Knight said, "If you're talking about building something now, this is the worst time. I've seen projects that start off at $80 million, and they end up at $160 million…almost double because of what's taking place on a national basis." 

"The main thing that I'm interested in is that we do our due diligence so that we don't rush into something not knowing what's out there. It's not that I'm opposed to the project. I just want us to do our due diligence. That's taxpayer's money. The profits on the ABC board go to state agencies and support state agencies so that's a concern to me. Certainly, we do not want to be cutting back on state agencies," Knight said. 

Alabama is one of 17 remaining alcoholic beverage control states in the United States.

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