Category: Downtown Birmingham

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg Announces $14.5M Award to Turn 4th Avenue North Into a Two-Way Street

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stopped traffic on Fourth Avenue North on Wednesday to announce a $14.5 million grant to help reconnect parts of the community that have been divided by transportation decisions of the past.

The announcement, staged in the middle of the downtown thoroughfare, outlined a grant to Birmingham to convert Fourth Avenue North — which includes the historic Fourth Avenue Black Business District — from a one-way road to a two-way. Read more.

JeffCo Commission to Consider Selling Property for BJCC Use

The Jefferson County Commission is expected to jettison the old Salvation Army Building on Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, selling it to the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority, during its meeting Thursday.

“The county was looking to sell the surplus property,” BJCC Executive Director and CEO Tad Snider said in an interview. “Given its proximity to the BJCC and City Walk, we chose to purchase and will redevelop or repurpose for additional parking.” The sales price is $810,000. Read more.

Residents Complain About Predatory Towing Downtown, Say It Will Stall Economic Development if Not Fixed

Matt Lyons said he’s not in favor of putting towing companies out of business.

“When your car’s broken down on the side of the road,” he said, “the tow company is your best friend. That being said, what I’m against is predatory towing, which takes advantage of the citizens of Birmingham only to enrich the owners of companies like Parking Enforcement Systems.”

Lyons was among a number of people who paraded to a podium Wednesday night at Boutwell Auditorium to talk about predatory towing practices in Birmingham. He recounted having paid for 3-hour parking as he attended a meeting, returning 30 minutes late to find that his car had been towed away.

“I think it’s very bad for the image of Birmingham,” he said.

City officials attended the meeting and told the crowd there are several measures are being considered to mitigate the towing issue. One calls for a 15-minute grace period before a car could be towed, Julie Barnard of the city attorney’s office said. Others included adding warnings on parking apps to check that entered information was entered correctly, and requiring towing companies to release towed vehicles to owners who have proof they paid for parking. Read more.

JeffCo Approves $5 Million Toward Construction of Amphitheater

The Jefferson County Commission today approved the next step in making a 9,000-seat, $50 million amphitheater part of The Star Uptown development on the campus of the former Carraway Hospital.

A $5 million contribution from the county’s economic development fund goes toward building the event venue. The county also approved a guarantee to cover any shortfall on the project up to $10 million.

The matter was approved on a 3-1-1 vote with Sheila Tyson voting no and Lashunda Scales abstaining.

The panel vote came after citizens – mostly residents of the area where the venue will be built – voiced their concern about the future of their community. Read more.

Commission Sets Hearing on Funding for Downtown Amphitheater

Birmingham is one step closer to having an amphitheater in The Star Uptown development after commissioners placed a public hearing on the matter on the agenda of Thursday’s Jefferson County Commission meeting.

Commission President Jimmie Stephens presented the resolution at the commission’s committee meeting Tuesday. It calls for a hearing concerning the county pledging $5 million on the project and making $10 million of its credit available if there is a shortfall in revenue to pay for the project.

“This is the $5 million pledge that everyone has done up to now,” Stephens said. “The City of Birmingham, the BJCC, the (Greater Birmingham Convention and) Visitors Bureau have all added to it. And Live Nation.” Read more.

Old Carraway Complex to be Demolished All at Once Under New Deal With City

The city of Birmingham has revised its plans for the former Carraway Hospital complex to give developers more up-front money for demolition.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Birmingham City Council, councilors approved revision of a 2-year-old funding agreement with Corporate Realty (doing business as Northside Redevelopment LLC), which is redeveloping the former Carraway Hospital site into a mixed-use development, Star at Uptown, which is to include residential, retail, office and dining spaces, as well as a 9,000-seat amphitheater.

Under the original incentives package, the city would have remitted $9.1 million in future sales, use and property tax revenues to Northside Development; Tuesday’s revisions cut that number in half to $4.55 million. In return, developers will now receive $3.7 million from the city for demolition right away. Read more.

Jefferson County Commission to Consider Rescue Funds for Civic Center Authority, Visitors Bureau

Jimmie Stephens declared after today’s committee meeting of the Jefferson County Commission that there are activities and events aplenty in Birmingham, the county seat.

“There’s more to do in the city of Birmingham now than we ever had in the past,” the commission president said. “I was actually at the (USFL) ball game (Monday) night and the City Walk is beautiful. I am so excited of the opportunity that citizens are gonna have to be able to utilize that great new space.”

Stephens’ comments came after commissioners heard presentations from the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority. Each received American Rescue Plan Act funds, as each has had to deal with shortfalls brought about by the pandemic. Read more.