FAIRHOPE — Fairhope Mayor Sherry Sullivan announced the city's plans for the former K-1 School off South Church Street during a Tuesday evening meeting of the Eastern Shore Republican Women (ESRW).

The building will be renovated and become home to Hatch Fairhope.

"You can start a business in one of these classrooms and then they will launch into your community," Sullivan said. "This is a business hub for tech entrepreneurs."

Hatch is a collaboration between the city and the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance. The purpose is to help technology businesses get off the ground and to offer resources to promote success.

Sullivan said she has traveled to several similar business incubators across the Southeast and believes the former school building will be a perfect location.

"It's so amazing what they are doing in these communities with collaboration labs, with schools," she said. "And what they're doing brings great, high-paying jobs to your city."

The majority of the $5.2 million project will be paid for with grant money. The city is projected to pay $1.6 million of the total cost but could pay up to $2 million.

Crews will renovate 18,000 square feet of the building, and one wing will be demolished. Sullivan said she was happy to keep the building in Fairhope because of its sentimental value. Many people from Fairhope, including Sullivan, attended the school.

The mayor said Hatch has already been successful, so she believes the new building will open opportunities to the community.

The city purchased the property from Baldwin County Schools in 2018 and has since added an outdoor classroom. The classroom is utilized by FEEF, the Fairhope Educational Enrichment Foundation. A representative from FEEF attended the meeting Tuesday night and told the ESRW that thousands of students from all over Baldwin County have already benefited from the experience.

The ESRW restarted evening meetings to attract members who could not attend monthly luncheons. From now on, the evening meetings will be held at the Original Oyster House in Spanish Fort on the third Tuesday of each month.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning or become a member to gain access to exclusive content and 1819 News merch.