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Old October 15th, 2008, 03:35 AM   #121
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RAILROAD RESERVATION PARK



www.railroadpark.org
Birmingham work crews removed century old cobblestone at the site of the Railroad Reservation Park in preparation for construction of the 21 acre first phase of the project. Eventually, the park could extend east all the way to Sloss Furnaces, creating a linear park that would spur even more residential and commercial development. Completing all the phases envisioned for the park could cost $50 million.
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Old October 16th, 2008, 02:06 AM   #122
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Quote:
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy signs to open restaurant in BJCC entertainment district
Posted by Roy L. Williams -- Birmingham News October 15, 2008 2:27 PM

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has signed a letter of intent to open a restaurant in the planned downtown Birmingham entertainment district, the developer said today.


John Elkington of Performa Entertainment Real Estate told board members of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex that the Atlanta-based comedian is expected to finalize his lease for The Forge within a few weeks.

"It will be a family restaurant focused on Southern cooking," Elkington said. "It will be a great fit for our district."

Elkington, whose company is known for the Beale Street entertainment district in Memphis, said the unnamed restaurant will also carry Foxworthy merchandise.

Foxworthy, host of Fox television's game show "'Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" is known for his "You Might be a Redneck" comedy albums. ?
?
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Old October 17th, 2008, 02:50 AM   #123
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RUFFNER MOUNTAIN NATURE PRESERVE

www.bham.net/ruffner

Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve plans an Environmentally Friendly LEED Certified Green “Treetop Visitor’s Center” and plans to expand the park by 500 to 700 acres. This will make RMNP one of America's largest urban nature preserves at around 1,511 to 1,711 acres.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #124
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Good news for a real eyesore in a hot part of town. I hate to see a parking lot but I guess it's better than as is.

Quote:
Screening Room, neighboring sites set for redevelopment
Redevelopment plans for eyesore
Friday, October 17, 2008
MICHAEL TOMBERLIN
News staff writer

The building that houses the former Screening Room theater, shuttered last year after complaints of lewd behavior, faces an appointment with the wrecking ball. Nearby structures, meanwhile, will be restored as new owners spruce up the buildings, create a courtyard and add parking.

As part of the project, the new owners recently completed the purchase of three buildings at the northwest corner of Second Avenue South and 22nd Street.

Jonathan Lindsey of Southpace Properties Inc. and Matt Lemak, managing partner with the Lemak Group of Companies, are tackling the redevelopment of a portion of that block.

The former Screening Room adult video store building, which some neighbors found disgraceful, will be demolished. The business shut down last year after its license was yanked following years of vice squad stings and complaints of raunchy behavior.

As part of the redevelopment plan, the adjacent one-story, 2,750-square-foot building at 118 22nd Street South will be restored to its original design and marketed for a restaurant or other use.

A courtyard is slated between that building and the two-story building to the north. The two-story property at 114 22nd Street South has 9,000 square feet and, once structural improvements are made, will be renovated for one or more office tenants.

Cohen Carnaggio Reynolds architecture firm designed the proposed redevelopment plans for the property. RBC Bank, formerly known as First American Bank, will be the lender, Lemak said.

Lemak said he believes the property is ready for the changes he and Lindsey have planned. Other redevelopments near that block are helping to revitalize that area of downtown, he said.

"We like it. It's a cool area," he said. "There are a lot of neat things happening there and we plan to be one of them."

Lindsey said demolition of the Screening Room, a billboard and a small garage will be done in a couple of weeks. A preliminary resurfacing of the parking area will follow along with the securing and re-roofing of the two remaining buildings.

Both buildings will have major improvements to their exteriors, particularly the fronts that face 22nd Street.

Windows will be restored throughout both buildings.

The courtyard entrance and courtyard improvements will be next.

Both buildings will be ready to market to potential users by the first quarter of 2009. A big selling point is expected to be the 27 parking places that will be created on the site

Owners plan to put up to $1.4 million into the project.

Lemak said he believes they lucked into the properties.

"We kind of slid into this," he said. "Sometimes those are the best kind of deals."
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Old October 17th, 2008, 09:32 PM   #125
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^ lol...

that was a seedyass place. nice gritty character though. it'll probably help spur redevelopment though as it is prime real estate on a corner lot.

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Old October 18th, 2008, 07:46 PM   #126
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BJCC Updates

Board members of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex have approved a plan to begin soliciting bids for an architecture firm to design a proposed multi-use facility/domed stadium. Eight firms from across the country and Australia have showed interest.

Other happenings at the existing facility include:
-- Renovation of the Concert Hall is completed and opened with rave reviews in August
-- Construction of 2 skywalks from the The Sheraton to the North Exhibit Hall and the South Exhibit Hall to the Arena.
-- Renovation of the Arena are slated for the near future
-- Develoment and Installation of a Wayfinding/Signage plan to help patrons navigate the campus.

THE FORGE - ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT
Performa has pushed the opening date for The Forge until early 2010 becuase of difficulty finding financing for the $50 million facility in today's economic climate - Good Luck with that.
Confirmed tenants at The Forge include:
American Idol winner Ruben Studdard - Club 205
American Idol winner Taylor Hicks - Blues Club
A restaurant/club owned by Jeff Foxworthy.
The owners of O'Henry's Coffee and the Comedy Club at The Stardome said are also considering opening in the downtown Birmingham entertainment district.

Also, the BJCC announced plans to erect the Magic City sign over 23rd street.
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Old October 18th, 2008, 11:06 PM   #127
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its good to see some new dev in bham
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Old October 19th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #128
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Chase Lake

Too bad they mutilated the trees lining 31 in preparation for the development. Seems to me they could have included the 50 year old trees in the landscaping plans. Stupid developers.

Quote:
Builder ready for Chace Lake community project in Hoover
215 houses -- included in -- plan as well as -- commercial --
Sunday, October 19, 2008
MICHAEL TOMBERLIN
News staff writer
The 123-acre Chace Lake community in Hoover will begin taking shape next month when the first five houses are built in the project that will eventually have 215 residences.

Signature Homes, the builder on the Chace Lake project, said it has reservations for 33 houses already and all of the commercial space that fronts U.S. 31 is claimed. The project's total value could reach $100 million.

Houses in the development are expected to start at $240,000 and rise to more than $330,000.
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Old October 21st, 2008, 01:20 AM   #129
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RED MOUNTAIN PARK

www.redmountainpark.org

The planned park consists of 1,100 acres—an area larger than New York's Central Park --- amenities include 18 miles of biking and hiking trails, 16 soccer fields, 5 softball fields, picnic areas, and a 20-acre lake.
The property provides the opportunity to connect a 64-mile network of greenways that would allow a person to bicycle from Bessemer to Mountain Brook without ever encountering vehicular traffic.

The Red Mountain Park Commission is allowing a series of tours of the grounds to allow supporters to get a feel for the location and scale of the land.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:50 AM   #130
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FAIR PARK

Langford announced plans this summer for a $90 million project to transform Fair Park into a sports-themed residential and athletics village at Five Points West. The development includes plans for a Marriott, Foot Locker and Aldi.

Renderings have not been released
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:46 AM   #131
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HISTORIC OVERPASSES



Birmingham officials and local businesses celebrated completion of the restoration of the historic 1931 overpasses at 20th, 19th, 18th and 14th Streets. The project was a public/private endeavor.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 01:29 AM   #132
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BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK

www.barbermotorsports.com

George Barber is planning to nearly double the size of his world-renowned motorcycle museum and add a motocross track. Ground likely will be broken next year on an expansion that would add at least 100,000 square feet to the museum and enable the display of hundreds more motorcycles.
The existing 140,000-square-foot museum allows for the display of less than half of Barber's 1,200-bike collection, widely regarded as the world's best.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 04:22 PM   #133
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I guess we're filling a need? Everybody needs storage? Right?



Source: www.bizjournals.com/birmingham

Quote:
Georgia firm to build storage units downtown
Birmingham Business Journal - by Lauren B. Cooper Staff


The city of Birmingham is planning to give $150,000 in sales tax incentives to the owners of a new self-storage facility being built in downtown Birmingham, next to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The storage facility will include 80,000 square feet of climate controlled space in four stories and 20,000 square feet of drive-up space, said Curtis Brown, with developer EGAD Group Inc. of Acworth, Ga.

Brown declined to disclose how much the company was spending to build the facility, but said it will be a multimillion-dollar project.

EGAD will build the facility for an unnamed partner and a national third party company will likely manage the building, which will be ideal for commercial and residential users in downtown, he said.

“We did our research about a year ago,” he said. “And with the efforts of people like (Operation New Birmingham) and all the redevelopment it was a positive. We found a huge lack in quality storage in downtown.”

ONB President Michael Calvert said his organization has worked with Brown and EGAD for several months to make the project happen, which included a meeting with Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford.

Brown said the developers thought building the storage facility now would be premature, but growth in the city’s loft developments and high occupancy in downtown’s office market moved the project forward.

Calvert said the storage facility is well suited for loft residents that don’t have a lot of space or are downsizing and need to store furniture, as well as for commercial users.

EGAD also consulted on the newly built Hoover Storage Facility off Lorna Road, partnering with the owners to build the four-story facility, said Brown.

EGAD Group is an architectural, engineering and consulting firm that focuses on the self-storage industry. Brown said the company built 33 self-storage facilities in the Southeast last year.

While the new storage facility took a dilapidated building off the block, it’s not necessarily an improvement for downtown Birmingham, said Mark Noyes, general manager of the nearby Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.

“It doesn’t show much progress,” said Noyes. “But I guess anything new for the downtown area is good.”

Noyes said he was surprised the new building will be a storage facility, since at one time there had been talks of putting another hotel near there.

“I wouldn’t want to put a hotel next to storage,” he said.

[email protected] | (205) 443-5635
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Old October 30th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #134
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ALABAMA ADVENTURE

Southland Entertainment sold Alabama Adventure this summer and is now focusing on developing an adjacent 157-acre parcel where it has proposed
building a hotel/indoor water park, a possible RV park and other commercial and retail developments.

www.alabamaadventure.com
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Old October 30th, 2008, 05:05 PM   #135
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Woohoo for good economic news!

Quote:
Birmingham-Hoover metro area unemployment rate is seventh-lowest in the United States
Thursday, October 30, 2008
ROY L. WILLIAMS
News staff writer

Forget the economic gloom for a moment: The Birmingham-Hoover metro area had the seventh lowest unemployment rate among the nation's biggest cities in September, a report shows.

Metro Birmingham's 4.8 percent jobless rate was slightly behind Baltimore's and Austin's 4.7 percent rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Oklahoma City's 3.5 percent rate was lowest in the nation among metro areas with at least 1 million people.

Jody Jones, president of Savela Solutions, a recruitment firm, said Birmingham's job market is holding its own, though signs of weakness are beginning to appear.

"The good news is that the Birmingham economy is not falling as much as other cities, but we've definitely been seeing a slowdown," he said Wednesday.

Riverside, Calif., had the highest rate among big cities last month - 9.1 percent unemployment. Detroit, which has been hard hit by the downturn of the auto industry, ranked just ahead at 8.3 percent.

Despite the good news, the job market in Alabama's largest city has taken a step back, and faces more challenges. This week, American Cast Iron Pipe Co. said it is cutting 58 hourly jobs, effective Nov. 10, as the faltering national economy has cut demand for the ductile iron pipe and fittings closely tied to the housing market.

And last week, 1,000 employees at Physicians Medical Center Carraway lost their jobs when the hospital shut down due to financial woes. Though some of those workers will find positions at other area hospitals, the closing represents a blow to Birmingham's economy, experts say.

Last October, metro Birmingham's 2.7 percent jobless rate was the lowest among the nation's big cities. Alabama's 5.3 percent unemployment rate in September was 24th among the states; a year earlier, the rate was 3.5 percent and Alabama ranked among the 10 lowest states.

Experts expect the area's jobless rate to continue rising.

Birmingham's economy has done well over the last few years, thanks to its diversified employment base, said Ahmad Ijaz, an economic researcher at the University of Alabama.

Yet it, like other cities, will take a hit in coming months "due to a decline in commercial construction, and drop in consumer, business and government-related spending," he said.

E-mail: [email protected]
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Old October 30th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #136
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Lots of good things happening at the BJCC!

Quote:
Birmingham convention complex skywalk work under way
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brasfield & Gorrie LLC has started work on $8 million Exhibit Hall renovation and skywalk projects at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The construction includes two exterior bridges and one enclosed interior walkway connecting the Sheraton Birmingham hotel, the North and South Exhibit Halls and the BJCC Arena. Interior corridor renovations are also being made to the North Hall and South Hall meeting spaces.

The new skywalk and corridor changes are meant to enable visitors to use internal access to get to meeting rooms and exhibit halls that originally had access only from outside the building. The improved access is expected to contribute to the BJCC's goal of attracting more conventions and out-of-town guests.

The work is part of the BJCC's six-year, $52 million capital improvement project.

The project is expected to be completed by July 2009.

Designform LLC is project architect.

Michael Tomberlin --
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Old November 1st, 2008, 04:04 AM   #137
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14TH STREET/ENTREPRENEURIAL DISTRICT

Announcements were made this year that the city's 14th St. corridor is scheduled to get a makeover. Plans include parking and streetscape improvements in and around the district, as well as special signs that denote the area, like those in the Loft District.

Birmingham's Entrepreneurial District is the site of at least $47 million in planned, ongoing or new developments, a trend that downtown advocates expect to grow with last years opening of the expanded business incubator, Innovation Depot.
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Old November 1st, 2008, 05:16 PM   #138
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Urban wildlife rises from the ground... literally... 25 feet


Quote:
Ruffner Mountain sports new look with wetlands area; treetop center to come
Wetlands area phase precedes `treetop' center
Saturday, November 01, 2008
KATHERINE BOUMA
News staff writer

Construction is under way at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center on a "treetop visitor center" 25 feet in the air to put all the preserve's offices and indoor functions under one roof.

The $3.1 million visitor center, built to look like a treehouse, is the most expensive piece of the first phase of Ruffner's expansion and overhaul.

Another stunning piece of the makeover is already finished.

A three-acre wetland area has been built from natural springs about 1½ miles over the mountain from the entrance, on the side of the park facing Irondale. The area, a series of three ponds, is surrounded by native plants. It cost about $600,000.

Ruffner Mountain, which lies in eastern Birmingham and Irondale, has been known beginning in 1977 for amenities such as mountainous trails, views of the city, school programs and day camps. But the nonprofit hasn't embarked on a major project since it finished buying the mountain in the late 1980s.

Ruffner has increased its infrastructure little in that time. Its offices are in barely refurbished houses bought over the years from willing neighbors.

Only one circuitous route leads to the preserve, through an eastern Birmingham neighborhood. The entrance is off 81st Street.

With this project, Executive Director Kathy Stiles Freeland said Ruffner will finally appear permanent and established. It will also use the nature center to host weddings or parties.

Still, the preserve's goals don't change, she said: preservation, followed by education and low-impact recreation.

A later phase of the expansion project includes raising money to buy 500 more acres that are available. The addition should allow more entrances on the south, opening into Irondale, and a small parking lot on that side of the mountain.

Upon its completion, the treetop center is expected to be certified as an environmentally sensitive building.

It will include a system to gather its rainwater, take maximum advantage of sunlight and grow plants on the roof to avoid runoff. The furniture will be made mostly of recycled material.

Most of the animals now at Ruffner will be on display in the building: a variety of turtles, birds, snakes and other animals that have been wounded or abandoned there. An 8-foot-by-5-foot turtle aquarium is coming from California. Some of the birds will live in a garden outside.

The building's most obvious feature will be a huge window that allows for bird-watching at the forest, which is a stopover for many Gulf Coast migrants, as well as home to forest birds.

The large window also should invite visitors to move outside and to hike or walk, Freeland said.

Launching pad:

"We wanted it to be a gateway to the outdoors," she said. "We are not trying to get people to come to the building and then leave. We want people to use the building as a launching pad to go outside."

Ruffner has never charged admission. School groups and day camps bring in some revenue, but Freeland said the group is considering fees for entry.

The nature center borders middle-class or impoverished neighborhoods, and Ruffner leaders want to be sure children and others from those neighborhoods can still visit Ruffner, and often.

"We are considering right now how to do that," Freeland said. "We want to encourage people to be regular visitors. A one-time visit is not enough."

Ruffner needs $500,000 to complete Phase I, and at least $16.5 million for future plans.

Freeland said she and her board are glad they began raising money before the recent economic downturn. But she said in her 30-year career she has learned to raise funds in all conditions.

"You just keep working," she said. "People who have the ability understand that we are hit very, very hard, and they tend to be more generous to us in times like this."

Parking lots have been uprooted by the construction but will ultimately have the same 74 spaces as now.

The visitor center is expected to be built in late spring and furnished and open in early summer.

The nature center's funding so far has come from a combination of federal and local sources, including both Birmingham and Jefferson County, as well as private fundraising, particularly through the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and Region 2020.
E-mail: [email protected]
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 05:18 PM   #139
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Benjamin Russell Children's Hosital

I went to the Children's Hospital Gala last night and saw the renderings for the new $450 million hospital. It is stunning!
It's about 12 stories with sweeping curves and purple and blue accents. The planned crosswalks to the existing facility and an existing admin building are curved and create and incredible form from the street.

There was also mention of a greenspace that will connect with the Railroad park.

This is really going to transform that part of town.
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Old November 6th, 2008, 01:35 AM   #140
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17TH STREET IMPROVEMENTS

As indicated in my last post.. Children's Hospital has been working with 17th Street occupants and GA Studios to develop a redevelopment plan along 17th Street between their campus and the Railroad Park. The improvements should coincide with the projected completion of the new hospital in 2011/2012. The combination of all three are going to transform Midtown.
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