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kayman

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  1. Former MTV VJ and Birmingham native, Alan Hunter along with his brother, Hugh Hunter are the first filmmakers to take advantage of the new state incentives package for films made in Alabama. The name of their film is titled "Lifted" and will focus on a young, talented singer. The state has made the turn on attempting to make a go on the producing films here about stories based here, so here we go, LOL

  2. I went to Tuskegee in the late 90s and while there most of the weekends I had were spent in Atlanta, Columbus, or Montgomery. Atlanta was of course the major draw, and Columbus was a nice interlude, but Montgomery was sort of a mix of the two. A huge step down from Atlanta but a minor step up from Columbus. A good number of my friends ended up living in Montgomery during junior and senior year, and several stayed there when I moved back to Boston.

    Either way I recently moved back to the area, actually much further south of Montgomery but whatever. I was visiting an old college friend, and this was the first time I had been to Montgomery in at least 10 years, maybe longer. I apologize for not knowing neighborhood names, so bear with me. While Taylor Rd has all sorts of development the West Side of the city (Montgomery Mall section) and even a lot of East South Boulevard seemed to be vacant or falling apart. My friend said that much of the business on the West Side had moved to Prattville because of lower taxes.

    When the redesigning of the River Walk was being done I remember reading that it was being developed by the same people who redeveloped Providence, RI. Providence like Montgomery is a state capital, was kind of a hole, but was a major area for that state. I thought that maybe the River Walk (which I haven't seen) would improve the surrounding areas and eventually reach the further out points of the city as it did with the River Walk and downtown in Providence, which is no longer a hole.

    I really felt like I was walking through a time warp of depression era America as I saw several shuttered restaurants along the road where I was eating. It was sad. Is this just me being extremely negative or did I miss something while there?

    Montgomery isn't dying persay rather it is another large city with a large black populous that is still suffering from the major effects of "white flight" where most national retailers and restaurateur chains have decided to follow the majority of the population rather than keeping up with the demographic profiles of the clientele of their businesses. A number of cities including Atlanta, Washington, Baltimore, and Memphis (to a certain extent) has overcame this by improving the quality of their established areas to via infrastructure, taxation exemptions, gentrification. However, the key to this is not to cater to the exurban crowd who vacated the city already rather make it better for the remaining residents and enticing outsiders who aren't familiar with the area to locate there over the suburbs and exurbs. Montgomery doesn't have that type of pull, population, or scope of exposure as maybe other cities mentioned but it can still pull off some of this at a much smaller scale. This does all depend on the State fixing its property laws and tax codes so that redevelopment over "development" is codeword for sprawl will be the thing to do.

    Also take into consideration this is a still a major recession we are in and it will impede any major business developments.

  3. The Five Points South Music Hall is reopening. However, this time it isn't going to operated by Clear Channel like it was from the late 1990s until 2002, but it plans on being a similar operation as it was as it former self. This is great news to hear that the one venue on the Southside that had acts from all genres and was a high profile location.

  4. Main Street Birmingham has recieve a $4,700 grant matching funds from the National Trust for Historical Preservation on the Nixon Cultural Center. The Nixon Building is location of the cultural center is a former NAACP meeting space used during the Civil Rights Movement. Last fall the Alabama State Council of the Arts rewarded Main Street Birmingham $7,000 for the project and also the Alabama Historical Commission Review Board has nominated the site for recognition by National Register of Historical Places by the National Park Service.

  5. Although Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International has seen another month where the annual passengers that used the airport has decline 14% since this time last year, the Airport Authority is moving forward with the estimated $193.3M plan to renovate the terminal. KPS has been selected as the designers of the plan called the Terminal Modernization Program for its 36-year-old facility.

  6. One other upside that I seem to be hearing from event promoters is that the amphitheater at the Railroad Park will provide a centralized space in the region for more musical events aside from City Stages and Schaffers' Crawfish Boil. Hopefully, this will be like Chastain Park outdoor concert venue in Atlanta that does attract quite a number of major artists for outdoor concerts. This could be a huge boon for the everyone always saying there aren't many places aside from the Verizon Music Center in Pelham for outdoor concerts.

  7. Well, construction on the expansion of the Childrens' Hospital of Alabama will began in mere weeks. The 750,000 square-foot expansion will increase the number of bed to 332, and expansion for nearly 100 more beds. Also the hospital will be LEED-standards with walkways and skybridges connecting to the new UAB Womens' and Infants Hospital along with the original Childrens' Hospital structure.

  8. Well, as much as I've had my grievences with Councilwoman Miriam Witherspoon, it is a sad day to hear about her passing and a loss to the City. She was a huge advocate for making the City of Birmingham up to ADA standards. She was one of the main proponents for having the City Board of Education building upgraded to be wheelchair accessible, and I don't blame her for since the City is still be held by the DOJ to upgrade all public facilities to ADA compliance.

  9. Well, all I can say is I kind of saw this coming since there has been no groundwork as planned last fall. The Forge will likely get built elsewhere in the region, most likely in the City either in the Railroad Park District or Lakeview, which are both on the Southside where the majority of the entertainment options are located. Homewood has piss-poor luck with stuff like that just look at SoHo Square which has basically dried up within 2 years of it opening, so if Performa had any sense they will avoid that option. I'm not even trying to knock Homewood because in most aspects they do things right where Birmingham has messed up. The BJCC board would be better off waiting until the expansion is constructed and completed and let a district organically form around it.

  10. Kimco Developers is listing the Target location at over 191,000 sq. ft. which clearly puts it in the size range of a SuperTarget. Regular Target stores with the small food sections generally run 110,000 to 130,000 sq. ft. (the Target at Tannehill is 127,000). It's also clearly marked on the marketing information for The Grove that it is a SuperTarget.

    Wow, that is excellent! I'm glad to see that Target is back to opening SuperTargets in the region. Now if we could only get Colonial Properties would finally decide what they will do with the redevelopment of the Brookwood Convenience Center. I'm hoping that Target would consider that locale if it is still in the mode to open a store in the core of the region.

  11. Encouraging news on some area shopping centers to open even with the upsetting economy:

    • The Grove, a SuperTarget-anchored center in Hoover at AL 150 and I-459, should be complete this fall. The center has commitments or is in negotiations with Lowe's, Kohl's, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, Hibbett Sports, Petco, Dress Barn, Maurice's, Shoe Carnival, Dots and Fontera Mexican Grill. Smaller portions of the center and stand-alone sites are slated to have Compass Bank, Superior Bank, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, Burger King, Beef O'Brady's, Mattress Firm, Diamond Nails, Massage Envy and a salon.
    • The final phase of The Summit will include 50,000 sq ft of retail space along with 50,000 sq ft of office space when it is complete in late summer or early fall.
    • A center with three restaurants and a separate strip center are being built with stand-alone locations of a CVS Pharmacy, Legacy Credit Union and Alabama Telco Credit Union at the Chace Lake community on US 31 in Hoover.
    • Nordstrom is still targeted for a spring 2012 opening.

    More info here: Store bankruptcies, closings may wreak havoc in economy

    I am excited, especially about Nordstroms not changing their date, and The Summit still pressing forward on it's new expansion. I guess the money-makers are still going to be doing (upscale) luxury shopping in the area. Now I just wonder what's coming to The Summit.

    Well, the thing that I'm inquiring about is whether or not the new Target store to open in the Grove is going to be an actual SuperTarget or just another Target with grocery section without a full bakery, meat, deli, and seafood counter? I know that the last SuperTarget was opened in 2004 at the Tutwiler Farms in Trussville.

  12. This is probably a very wise idea considering how screwed up the credit markets are because of the slump in the economy. In addition it would probably wiser for them to build it in phases to see how successful this project is before they construct an entire complex where it has more empty storefronts than tenants. Also I've yet to hear anything about a second hotel to anchor this place as originally planned, so starting smaller is smarter.

  13. ^^^ I agree... Someone will jump on that space if it opens. I have no doubt.

    I'm much more interested in seeing what lands at Habert Plaza downtown.

    Oh, I heard the one of levels of the former Belk/Parisian will be a restaurant, but the othe level is still to be announced.

  14. Well, for one the store to my knowledge wasn't a full-line Saks anyways because most other locales had a much broader selection, so Saks half-assed with this store to be in the Summit. Also I do believe it make just wind up with Crate & Barrel in space if it shutters because the talks between GGP and them have stalled, but they are still actively pursuing a locale here. Although Nordstrom has just signed a letter of intent, I doubt they will change their mind on location because if they were going to the Summit they would have jumped at it when Phase III was being developed because Bayer would have most likely accommodate their wishes and made more space for a large space for a location.

  15. That would a nice addition and draw to Downtown Huntsville considering the place is practically dead after 5PM. Also the economy has taken a toll on most major projects across the nation including the Constellation due to the credit crunch. Until the credit market is better and bonds can be issued then projects like the Constellation will only progress at a snails pace.

    On the downtown movie theaters, Birmingham has bee trying to land one for awhile now since independent films practically aren't shown in the Greater Birmingham region after Regal Galleria 10 folded in 2006. Also numerous in the community just want to independent movie theater here so that controversial and non-mainstream ones like Bill Maher's film Religiolous and gay-oriented ones will be seen in Alabama.

  16. BJCC board members voted unanimously to select HOK Inc. to design the dome. Last week HOK was the only firm to provide images and a model of its proposed design. Officials estimate it would take 12 to 18 months to finish the design and another 32 months to build, with construction beginning as early as July 2010.

    Mayor Langford said he will ask the city council next week to commit it's part of the financing for the project. It'll be interesting to see how that goes with the council next week.

    BJCC picks HOK to design proposed dome

    After examining the plans and design sketches today while on lunch break, I wouldn't exactly call this a "dome" anymore since the roof of the facility is flat. Honestly, Birmingham does need a more space at the BJCC, so I've changed the title from "dome" to "multipurpose facility" which it truly going to be.

    I believe it will likely pass, but the fact that construction is still nearly 18-24 months away at the earliest.

  17. Also yesterday the City officials announced the landing of the first round of the Davis Cup, which is the largest US tennis tourney outside of the US Open. Birmingham beat out cities like Las Vegas, Greenville, and San Antonio competing for the landing this major sporting event. It will take place at the BJCC from March 6-8, 2009. Major tennis stars such as Roger Feder will likely be competing, so this will be a major opportunity for Birmingham to gain nationwide as well as worldwide exposure.

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