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  #781  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2008, 1:42 PM
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Work is finally progressing on the new Residence Inn near University Blvd and 20th Street. I had begun to wonder if the slowdown in the economy had killed that proposal, but I'm glad to see it hasn't. We're in desperate need of more hotels in and around Southside and downtown. And obviously hotels are great for result in other spin-off businesses that will be needed to serve the growing number of people that will be staying downtown.

Maybe I can snap a picture of the progress next week some time. There's not a whole lot to see just yet, but I was happy to see that work of any nature had begun at this site.
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  #782  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2008, 1:50 PM
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Hotels on 20th Street

I agree that the hotel construction is a key part of making downtown more attractive on many levels. We are fortunate to have the Residence Inn going up near 5 Points; the new Hyatt Place is under construction further down 20th street South; and the new Renaissance Hotel slated to start construction this summer on 20th street north. If the entertainment district can get off the ground, the Aloft Hotel has already committed, and probably at least one more will be announced. This will all add up to maybe 800-900 new hotel rooms downtown. Not a huge number, but it's a great start.
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  #783  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2008, 4:11 AM
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my pics of Bham from about a month ago if you haven't checked 'em out

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Originally Posted by Blazer85 View Post
Work is finally progressing on the new Residence Inn near University Blvd and 20th Street. I had begun to wonder if the slowdown in the economy had killed that proposal, but I'm glad to see it hasn't. We're in desperate need of more hotels in and around Southside and downtown. And obviously hotels are great for result in other spin-off businesses that will be needed to serve the growing number of people that will be staying downtown.

Maybe I can snap a picture of the progress next week some time. There's not a whole lot to see just yet, but I was happy to see that work of any nature had begun at this site.
yeah, there wasn't that much a few weeks ago when i was there to take a pic. i'd always said that spot was ripe.

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  #784  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2008, 10:36 PM
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How well do apartments for senior citizens revitalize a blighted neighborhood? Never the less... good news to see the building restored

Quote:
Council endorses Ensley tower restoration, seeks raises for non-classified workers
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
JOSEPH D. BRYANT
News staff writer

A Birmingham City Council committee Monday endorsed a plan to restore a historic Ensley building and convert it into apartments for senior citizens.

The Ramsay-McCormack tower is the tallest building in Ensley. It has stood vacant and decaying for more than 20 years.

Veristar Development Services asked the council's Budget and Finance Committee for control of the building as it seeks funding and tax credits to begin the process of overhauling the 80-year-old, 10-story art deco building. The $12 million-to-$14 million proposal will now go to the full council.

The building has become a highly visible example of blight, said David Fleming, executive director for Main Street Birmingham, a revitalization agency funded by the city targeting neighborhoods including Ensley. "It was getting to the point that something had to be done one way or the other."

The city, which has owned the building since 1983, would be responsible for removing lead and asbestos.

"The money we spend to environmental cleanup will have to be spent regardless," said assistant city attorney Jim Stanley.

Earlier this year Mayor Larry Langford said the city would demolish the building because it was a safety hazard. But the latest proposal could be an alternative, bringing revitalization to the struggling community downtown area.

"We are very excited about it," said Mary Ellen Judah, Veristar's vice president based in Huntsville.

Veristar would buy the building from the city once it secures money for the project. Judah said her company would have its funding within a year and begin construction in 2010.

Nearby businesses owners are hopeful that new life at the shuttered building would also inject new interest in downtown Ensley.

"It is a glimmer of hope," said Harry Weinberg, of Cotton's Department Store and a member of the Ensley Merchants Association.

While Cotton's has been in downtown since 1922, Weinberg said new customers and attention are needed to sustain the district.
E-mail: jbryant@bhamnews.com
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  #785  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2008, 12:51 AM
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When are they going to build a new skyscraper/tower in Birmingham?
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  #786  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2008, 2:39 PM
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The closest thing we have at the moment is Melaver's project for a new building about 20-22 stories, LEED certified, with office, hotel, and retail. Not clear when/if it would start construction. Check out:

http://www.birminghamfed.com/
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  #787  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2008, 3:33 PM
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Here is a more updated rendering provided by Optimus:

Also: Birmingham mostly has mid-rises planned in the near future:
- Colonial is planning a 12 story structure on their Brookwood Campus
- Children's Hospital of Alabama is planning a 12 story tower on southside.
- Bayer Properties has announced a new corporate headquarters but has not announced how many floors - even if it will be a mid-rise.

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  #788  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 7:16 PM
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I haven't seen this linked here before, but attached is the fact sheet for the Block 121 development:

CiTYViLLE - Birmingham
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  #789  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 7:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueraider86 View Post
When are they going to build a new skyscraper/tower in Birmingham?
The Melaver development will be $135 million and LEED Platinum (the highest level).

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  #790  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2008, 10:11 PM
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Nice Finds - I like the Federal Reserve renderings. I hope that project breaks ground.
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  #791  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 10:19 PM
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Downtown Streetcars

Been crazy busy lately and haven't had time to keep an eye on the latest news. I did see that the Birmingham City Council nixed streetcars for this fiscal year - maybe next year. I'd rather see a balanced budget. Which is unlikely.
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  #792  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2008, 10:22 PM
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Definately good news. I wish they would tell us if these are new jobs or if they are merely reshuffling from Riverchase. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lakeshore booming in a year or so with BCBS, Southern Company, Wachovia Data Center, Brookwood Pharma and possibly Solvay.




Quote:
Blue Cross will build data center at JeffMet industrial park
Posted by Dawn Kent
Birmingham News
June 13, 2008 9:30 AM

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama plans to build a data center at Jefferson Metropolitan Park Lakeshore in Birmingham's Oxmoor Valley.


The board of the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority today authorized the sale of about 25 acres in the park to the company.

The 55,000-square-foot data center is expected to be occupied in 2010. The number of jobs tied to the project has not been determined.

EGS Commercial Real Estate is representing Blue Cross in the deal.

Earlier this month, Southern Co. announced plans to build a data center at Jeff Met Lakeshore. Companies have found the park attractive for such operations because of the availability of infrastructure, including fiber optics. They also cite the ability to provide a security buffer around their facilities.

Last edited by | BRAVO |; Jun 14, 2008 at 10:34 PM.
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  #793  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2008, 3:58 PM
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That is extremely good news.
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  #794  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2008, 1:15 PM
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Backwards Development

IMO, more people would be willing to move to the city if there is an updated and more affordable housing stock. This is possibly the first step.

Quote:
Several Ensley buildings tumble in city plan to remove blight
Thursday, June 19, 2008
JOSEPH D. BRYANT
News staff writer

Tasheba Ramesra stood by Wednesday morning as a backhoe crushed two shotgun houses and an apartment building near 20th Street in Ensley.

She and her husband owned the properties, but rather than protest their destruction, Ramesra called it the best thing for the neighborhood.

"This gives us a chance to go ahead and do what we need to do," she said. Ramesra plans to build a store on the property.

In all, two small apartment buildings and three houses were demolished Wednesday in the first part of Mayor Larry Langford's plan to rid the city of 1,500 abandoned and dilapidated buildings within a year.

Langford stood by and pointed to what he wanted torn down next.

"The first 192 houses will be torn down in 30 days," Langford said. "We are no longer going to sit here and let people come in and delay these projects."

The city will handle the initial cost of demolition, but property owners such as Ramesra and her husband will be billed for cost of demolition. Liens in the amount of the demolition cost will be placed on the properties.

Ramesra said she began some renovations, but vandals and vagrants ended those plans.

"We put so much money into the property, and we came back and they had vandalized it," she said. "After that it becomes disheartening. Now that it's being torn down, it's wonderful, because now the community can live and have life in it to live."

The demolition Wednesday came a week after Langford announced his plan to clear long-standing blight within the city.

The mayor had estimated the total project would cost $4 million to hire contract workers. He now wants city crews to handle all the work and hire additional crews dedicated to the project.

Langford said he will offer an ordinance this month to speed the process of contacting absentee landowners and demolishing properties.

"All of these people have been notified time and time again," he said. "If they were going to do anything to correct these problems they've had plenty of time to do it."

Once the titles are cleared and secured by the city, the properties will be offered to builders and groups including Habitat for Humanity.

In addition, more than 1,900 vacant lots owned by the city will be offered for redevelopment.

A small group gathered to watch Wednesday's demolition in Ensley, including Florene Crawford Thompson.

Thompson, a retired teacher, remembers when the now-empty shells of homes were filled with families and children who attended nearby Councill School.

"I've been in many of these houses visiting with parents," Thompson said, standing under a tree as a truck ripped through a house. "Everything gets old and outdated, and children grow up and don't want to come back to this."

Thompson said the demolition gives the neighborhood a chance for new development that is badly needed.

"I was just wondering what's going to go on that spot," she said.

E-mail: jbryant@bhamnews.com
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  #795  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2008, 5:49 PM
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Finally a mayor who travels to meet the governor and say "Hey, What about Birmingham?" Say what you will about Langford... He is aggressive and Birmingham needs aggressive.


Quote:
Langford carries development request to governor
Posted by Joseph D. Bryant -- Birmingham News June 19, 2008 12:18

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford is in Montgomery this afternoon asking Gov. Bob Riley to remember the city as the state recruits new industries. Langford brought a map showing all the city-owned properties available for development.


"I want him to know all the property that is available that we can use as incentives to bring businesses in," Langford said. "It does us no good to own all this property unless our plans are to make good use of it."

Langford said Birmingham has long been out of the state's focus and he wants to change that. He said the city has failed to let state leaders know that Birmingham wants to partner in new economic opportunities.

"We haven't been on the radar screen for a long time," Langford said. "I'm not just going to get on the screen. I'm going to take the screen and hand it to him."
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  #796  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2008, 8:40 PM
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I agree we need aggressive. The problem is that Langford rarely has a lot of thought before he plunges, and the follow-through is not there either. For instance, the entire state recruitment plan right now is geared--in writing--towards landing heavy industry such as jet building, auto manufacture, etc. Not only is Jefferson county prevented from this sort of job due to air quality issues, but unlike, say, Mobile, we are a much more diversified economy trained for high tech and bio engineering and the like.

I would much rather see the Mayor put together a thoughtful plan that recommends the state go after this sort of job that could benefit Birmingham, rather than hoping for help under the existing program--which cannot help us, no matter how much the governor may take a shine to Larry.

Lastly, the governor has stated many times before: until he sees Birmingham act regionally and in a united fashion, we'll always be looked over. In Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville, the mayor joins with the corporate community, and other local government officials to make pitches to the governor. That's the only way this can work. And I'm afraid most of this community is now waiting for the criminal indictment to be handed down to Langford, and wondering if/when a new election may be called if he resigns.

Not a good cloud to have hanging over you when you try to pitch your city. Some day we'll have better.
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  #797  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2008, 7:43 PM
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Well, you might as well aim high...I guess.

Birmingham, Alabama, mayor wants Olympics in 2020


Quote:
In just 47 days, thousands of athletes will converge on Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games and millions around the world will tune in to watch the best in the world compete.

If Mayor Larry Langford has his way, that same spotlight will be on Birmingham in 2020. Langford is putting together a committee to make a bid to bring the Olympic Games to the Magic City.

"Why not Birmingham? - that's my question," Langford said Friday. "You don't know what you can do till you try it. We've got everything it takes to make it work."

Langford said the committee will evaluate all available athletic facilities in Birmingham and neighboring cities in making the application.

By 2020, as the mayor sees it, all the city projects currently envisioned, including an indoor track and Olympic-sized swimming facilities at Fair Park and a domed stadium would be completed.

"That's the beauty of a 12-year planning period," Langford said.

Birmingham has passed an early test in hosting the games, the mayor said, referring to 1996 when the city hosted Olympic soccer competitions. Atlanta hosted the Olympics that year. Like Atlanta and other host cities, Langford said Birmingham would undertake a massive building campaign to prepare to host the world.
More...
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  #798  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2008, 10:52 PM
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I didn't say he was completely sane. Aggressive.
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  #799  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2008, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanLover View Post
I agree we need aggressive. The problem is that Langford rarely has a lot of thought before he plunges, and the follow-through is not there either. For instance, the entire state recruitment plan right now is geared--in writing--towards landing heavy industry such as jet building, auto manufacture, etc. Not only is Jefferson county prevented from this sort of job due to air quality issues, but unlike, say, Mobile, we are a much more diversified economy trained for high tech and bio engineering and the like.
I would much rather see the Mayor put together a thoughtful plan that recommends the state go after this sort of job that could benefit Birmingham, rather than hoping for help under the existing program--which cannot help us, no matter how much the governor may take a shine to Larry.
Who's to say this was not discussed. I'm sure both men are aware of the environmental issues. We've been hearing of Solvay for a year now... hopefully all parties will push to make it happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanLover View Post
Lastly, the governor has stated many times before: until he sees Birmingham act regionally and in a united fashion, we'll always be looked over. In Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville, the mayor joins with the corporate community, and other local government officials to make pitches to the governor. That's the only way this can work.
I think that's a load of crap. Metros across the country are fractured into little kingdoms. That's not slowing many down.


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Originally Posted by UrbanLover View Post
And I'm afraid most of this community is now waiting for the criminal indictment to be handed down to Langford, and wondering if/when a new election may be called if he resigns.

Not a good cloud to have hanging over you when you try to pitch your city. Some day we'll have better.
Indeed. Someday.
Langford going to Montgomery is still better than Kincaid sitting in city hall.

Last edited by | BRAVO |; Jun 21, 2008 at 11:18 PM.
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  #800  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2008, 8:18 PM
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Great plan. Eliminates a current eyesore without demolition, and it will provide a respectable service.

Quote:
Physicians Medical Center's South Korean investors to buy, restore McArthur School
Birmingham Business Journal - by Jimmy DeButts Staff



The Norwood community will receive an infusion of investment capital from the South Korean firm that recently injected $15 million into cash-strapped Physicians Medical Center Carraway, according to Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford.

Shinsegae USA Inc. plans to acquire and restore the McArthur School located next to Carraway, Langford said in a news release. Shinsegae plans to provide clinical, cultural, English-as-a-second-language and religious areas of study for Korean students at the school, the news release said.

The Seoul-based firm said it also is considering buying the hospital campus and other properties in Birmingham. Langford said the city has received several inquiries regarding the sale of the school since it acquired it in 2005. He said most deals would have included the demolition of the building that was erected in 1910.

"Their proposal would not only create jobs, but would continue the revitalization begun by the citizens of the surrounding neighborhoods and the Weed and Seed program," Langford said.

Greg Paik, vice president of Shinsegae USA, said acquiring the McArthur school fits its overall strategy for Carraway and the Norwood community. He said its proximity to the hospital and historic area will "provide a wonderful environment for Korean students."
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