Blackwater’s origins were founded during the economic highs and lows of the 1980s, when founder Alex Baker cut his teeth in commercial retail development by developing, leasing and managing his first shopping center in 1982. After a successful career learning the Shopping Center industry, Mr. Baker ventured out on his own in 1989 forming a partnership comprised of Polar International (Helsinki, Finland) and BE&K (Birmingham, AL), operating as Polar-BEK & Baker. That same year, a landmark development was started in the heart of Alabama encompassing 375 acres and leading to approximately 1,500,000 SF of commercial real estate development along with two regional office headquarters for State Farm and Wells Fargo. Opening in 1991, Wildwood Centre was a huge success, featuring the first Walmart/Sam’s Club combo location in the state of Alabama.
In 1993, a partnership with AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp (New York, NY) was struck, and the company began operating initially as A.B. Shopping Center Properties and later in 1998 as AIG Baker. The development focus was primarily large regional power centers and grocery-anchored shopping centers, with a reach that extended from New York to California. Throughout the 2000s, the focus remained retail oriented, but the portfolio also began to include large mixed use developments comprised of condominiums, single-family residential properties, entertainment and recreational properties, resorts and marina properties.
In 2010, the company name changed to Blackwater Resources, and the focus turned back to the company’s roots, solely pursuing retail properties, this time in a gradually recovering economy. Today, Blackwater continues its development focus on property acquisitions for redevelopment, ground up grocery anchored shopping centers, and freestanding single tenant development. Blackwater is known for its strong retailer bonds and integrity in the marketplace, and continues to deliver quality centers and build lasting relationships.
Throughout the years the name has changed from time to time, but the one constant has been the people. With nearly 150 years of collective experience, and having weathered many economic cycles, the senior management of Blackwater has a unique perspective on the market that allow it to continue to thrive in a rapidly changing retail climate.