Several Tuscaloosa officials met across from Alberta Baptist Church on University Boulevard early Thursday morning to break ground on a "mega Chevron" gas station coming soon to Alberta.

City Council President and District 5 Councilman Kip Tyner first teased the gas station's arrival back in January of this year. There, he hinted that this service station would be the largest of its kind in West Alabama.

Seven months later, the details on this $4 million project are much greater than expected, as several brand-new local amenities will be included in the development. Richard Mayers, the president of Midstates Petroleum Company who funded this station, said he wanted to bring something to Tuscaloosa that hadn't been done before: a food court within the Chevron.

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"When I started buying properties in the area, I was looking for something it needed," Mayers said. "You've got 22,000 cars a day that come through here, and not many places to eat food. I envisioned that I wanted to put a food court inside of a gas station. I wanted to go beyond the basics."

Inside this roughly 1,000 square-foot food court market, customers will find franchises like Yogurt Mountain and Chester's Chicken, a bakery, pizza and barbecue stations and a spot for plate lunches. An attached restaurant will sit beside the gas station separate from the food court.

The Chevron will also feature electric vehicle charging stations, state-of-the-art gasoline pumps and self-checkout lines.

"Redevelopment has taken time, but I'm glad it's being done right," said Jim Page, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. "There's nobody that knows this community better, that loves this community more, and there's nobody that works harder to bring Alberta back to its glory days ... Everything that's happened here, public and private investment, is the result of leadership and the determination of Kip Tyner."

Tyner also mentioned two more groundbreakings coming in the next couple of months but did not elaborate further.

"This property was destroyed in the April 27 tornado," Tyner said. "Imagine that $4 million investment and imagine the hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue that will follow ... People are seeing just how strong we're coming back."

This is just one of several projects that were made possible by Invest Tuscaloosa. This initiative, created after the 2011 tornado, will give $275,000 in incentives over the course of five years to invest in tornado-affected areas.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox Maddox touched on the resurgence Alberta is seeing as a result of these sorts of incentives.

"I think it's like falling dominoes. We have really invested tens of millions of dollars in the hopes of this recovery here in Alberta 10 years later," Maddox said. "A community can only grow that has a mixture of amenities that the community can enjoy. This is going to add to that."

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