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About davidzLA

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    Burbank CA
  1. BJCC Expansion plans

    Yeah, why expand the convention center at all, lol. Dreamland BBQ - probably a bad choice - Southside location would likely close. How about something that isn't already in the city center. A concert venue/bar playing up the American Idol connections - I'd recommend thinking post-Idol/Birmingham associations but small club venues and karaoke aren't going away soon. An SEC Sports Bar - surely that would violate NCAA regulations. But sure, a "Hard Rock" of sports bars. A grand meat and three - I'd think some expanding national players are likely, say Smith & Wollensky's.
  2. BJCC Expansion plans

    This is a very positive development, I agree. Very good that it's lead by a private developer, although I wish the mayor hadn't been quoted on the rarity of not granting incentives, lol. Surely this is a working title only. (Houston's comparable development is "Bayou Place.") Off the top of my head, Magic Alley. I always wondered why the Sheraton was such a stepchild in the discussion of a "convention hotel." And here's hoping there's enough business to support that number of hotel rooms year round, as well as existing downtown hotel space; Houston's downtown gained a lot of hotel space in short order after being under-roomed for many years, and a couple of the smaller properties have folded. Now, this was great: I'll be curious to see if a Pat O'Brien's and apartments over retail draw back the Freewills and the Presbyterians.
  3. Century Plaza

    I noticed at Christmas that there was an India Shoppe location on 20th Street I had never seen before - that's a pretty good location for them actually - but at least in December, the store inside Century Plaza was still there and open.
  4. Alabama Retail Development Atmosphere

    They seem to be built on the same model as a SuperTarget, with two entrances, but with a much more limited grocery selection, with perhaps one row of upright frozen food displays along one far wall. Beyond that they supposedly have a deeper product mix overall. My local Target is a Greatland, and I guess I take it for granted - it doesn't seem very "great" sometimes, although in comparison to other Targets I shouldn't complain. Actually they've been on a tear here lately, building a number of 2 level locations and renovating older stores, eliminating some of the garden center entrances unfortunately.
  5. Alabama Retail Development Atmosphere

    In my opinion, with Target's "SuperTarget" and "Target Greatland" concepts you're not missing much; they should just open regular stores. In my experience the Greatland locations are not that special, and the grocery side of SuperTarget had a minimal number of brands. Here's hoping you only like one kind of bread.
  6. The South's next rising star(s)

    ...but wouldn't that cause those states to grow also? I think it's more of a "slam the door behind me" mindset, assuming one moved to a region based on its existing amenities it's distressing to see that 'perfect' scenario evolve. God knows, living in L.A., I'd just as soon 2 million people moved out. But I'm part of the problem as well of course.
  7. Century Plaza

    That would be the India Shoppe, and it's still there, right where you describe it - lower level next to the Sears. Journeys is a straight-up shoe store and there was a location near the center court for many years, I remember seeing the closed location at Christmas but they may have relocated within the mall. Years ago, before my time, India Shoppe was in that center court area and after that, downstairs towards the McRae's end.
  8. Century Plaza

    There's plenty of monied folks nearby, sure. But they don't shop at Century Plaza anymore, because the mall clientele is now predominately black, and that's reality whether it be happy or pleasant or pretty. And the community at large largely shuns shopping centers that have become identifed with a minority. Not just locally but nationally, so it's hardly a "Birmingham issue." Sorry, can't agree with you there. All it takes is one look at Eastwood Mall. Same area, same problems, same trends, (ultimately) same fate - but Eastwood had different management. If they could project a return on the investment, they would have tried something, but Century Plaza is and was well past that point in my opinion. It's unfortunate. So much of my time in Birmingham was tied up in that neighborhood and particularly in that mall. Nonetheless, I wouldn't invest $5 in Century Plaza and ever expect it back. Definitely a case of 'pick your battles'... and not that GP really faced a 'choice' (Which mall will get the bedroom in the attic???) but if they did, I'd have made the same choice. Not that I owe GP or anything, but c'mon - you know better. Galleria management has little to zero responsibility for national closures like Suncoast or regional rebrandings like Parisian, and it's not likely they're blocking a resolution of the Pizitz/McRae's space.
  9. Century Plaza

    Oh, it's dead. I did walk through at Christmas as I anticipated. Three empty anchor locations and many in-line vacancies. The Sam Goody location downstairs has been rebranded as F.Y.E. I took the "F.Y.E. Grand Opening!" signs outside rather cynically but was told that the store had in fact been closed presumably permanently prior. My tradition of buying a half-price calendar was thwarted, as they didn't bother with Century Plaza this year. I was there with a friend, a Birmingham native who spent huge amounts of childhood time at that mall. It was he who suggested that it might be the last time I was inside Century Plaza, and I tend to agree. Aside from a wholesale increase in income levels in surrounding neighborhoods, any store that wanted to be in that mall would be there already. What can management possibly say to convince me Century Plaza is worth the investment? The money that supported the mall is gone and now, so, is that mall. At some point Sears will relocate and the upkeep will become wildly unprofitable. The site will eventually be bulldozed. It took five minutes of standing in line at Chick-Fil-A to place our order with one of the three employees on duty. We were the only customers. Very few people seemed to shop there, period, and judging income from the remaining store mix, not many.
  10. BJCC Expansion plans

    Agreed, Lakeview & 5 Points are the same "district" in my opinion. Unless the city wants to go all out with Greenwich Village vs. West Village vs. Washington Square style neighborhood naming squabbles. And as you mention this is a very one-dimensional discussion of Birmingham nightlife and how it might develop, considering none of these areas (in my opinion) are particularly strong African-American nightlife zones. If the city does want to go all out to subsidize some dubious "entertainment district," might as well do it in a neighborhood that could really use it, like Ensley (Tuxedo Junction) or Five Points West. Unfortunately I've not spent much time in Tucson - a walk across the University of Arizona campus in 2001, and a stop at a decaying dead mall/outlet center I believe on I-10 West in 2004. Gorgeous scenery.
  11. BJCC Expansion plans

    Then I misunderstood you to mean that Birmingham's nightlife was just too gosh darned spread out. I agree Morris Avenue would make an excellent bar and restaurant zone, and hopefully given the park nearby will become so. Private investment and the city staying out of the way are the answers to that one. And if I understand you, you would prefer not to do so - indicating (to me anyway) adding new options is a zero sum game if and until the population increases. Other districts will lose interest and businesses when new options become available (just look at Birmingham retail.)
  12. BJCC Expansion plans

    Concentrating night life in one area isn't really likely or advisable in my opinion. Besides, how often do people go between nightlife neighborhoods in one night anyway?
  13. The South's next rising star(s)

    That sounds right to me also, although anything's possible with possibly denser development over long timeframes and sunbelt appeal. But I'd think of Miami less resembling New York or London, more like America's Barcelona.
  14. Century Plaza

    I look forward to doing a walk-thru when I'm in town at Christmas, I haven't been inside since this time last year. At that time things were clearly diving down, down down... It's become a bit of a tradition of mine to buy a half-price calendar the week before New Year's, and last year I picked it up at the calendar kiosk downstairs. I had a brief conversation with the 50ish female salesperson about how the mall has changed since my time. "It's changed a lot," we agreed. I worked at Camelot Music at Century Plaza for about 4 years from 1990-1995. I started just as the last renovation was being completed, in fact I had only one walk-thru the old setup earlier that year before the remodel. The Crestwood area at that time was relatively healthy, just beginning to transition down. There was no Summit or later Trussville retail. Century Plaza occupied a fairly comfortable position as the mid-market mall for Birmingham. In that sense, the Riverchase Galleria was a regional destination mall, the pre-reimagined Brookwood Village served non-harried locals, Eastwood Mall was also coming off it's last remodel and mostly full, and Western Hills was the "other mall," rarely visited or mentioned. Century Plaza was JAMMED at Christmas. Many, many a day I parked in the far reaches of the upper parking lot on the hill behind the mall, or on a few select days shuttled from remote parking altogether. But entropy was a harsh mistress for Century Plaza. While it seemed perfectly fine when I started, within a couple of years things were going downhill. Shrink (shoplifting) was way up, so we had to install a Sensormatic tagging system. Local tastes changed. Store vacancies started to stack up. National trends had there impact also - Hickory Farms closed their year-round in-line mall stores, other consolidations. I'm guessing the death plunge of music retail did in that Camelot location during the bankruptcy. The *McDonald's* closed and never re-opened. I was out of town long before Rich's closed, and 2006 saw a crippled mall get it's legs shot off with the close of 2 more anchors. Times change. Whatever happened to Century Plaza cannot be blamed on management - the entire area went to hell, insofar as I can tell on return visits. People were given choices and they chose somewhere else. I have my doubts that turning the Eastwood Mall site into a Wal-Mart Supercenter will do anything more than create another best-avoided, overcrowded Wal-Mart Supercenter. I used to predict that the next mall in Birmingham would be built in the Trussville area, but in fact it avoided that now-gauche form and has a lifestyle center complex instead. Whether retail zones like the Crestwood/Eastwood area deserve active preservation is a matter of debate. If anything I would have recommended keeping Eastwood Mall intact, as the first mall in the state, for what that was worth (apparently very little.) If retail has mostly relocated, maybe those properties are better used for residential or re-purposed commercial real estate. If the area has moved on, maybe it's time people moved on. It's not Pompeii. The signs of death I uneasily anticipate more each year are looking for the Motel Birmingham to close, and to see if the India Shoppe is still doing. My old Camelot store was near ARCADE FOUR, Chick-fil-A & Wolf Camera area for those of you familar with the mall. The store must have closed by 1996 or '97. There was a leather coat shop in there for a while and last time I went by, it was vacant. So many memories in that space.
  15. The South's next rising star(s)

    Then, of course, you have a system where you can trade your vote, and that kids is the United States Congress. :-)