Blazer85

BJCC Expansion plans

259 posts in this topic

Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid will submit a new proposal at tomorrow's city council meeting that will increase the city's $5M/year committment up to $8.8M/year. If the new proposal passes, it may just be enough to get some real action going and who knows, maybe even a groundbreaking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Birmingham Mayor Bernard Kincaid will submit a new proposal at tomorrow's city council meeting that will increase the city's $5M/year committment up to $8.8M/year. If the new proposal passes, it may just be enough to get some real action going and who knows, maybe even a groundbreaking.

NBC13 reported last night, the cost is $650 million dollars... NOW. If any excessive delays are encountered, the cost could rise by a millon dollars a month. I don't live in Birmingham, but I did for years, and I still live in the region, and I just can't put my support behind this. This money should be going for transit and other things and not some white elephant on the side of the freeway.

I hate to say this, but I hope this project is killed. There are too many other things that need to be done right now. This can always be revisited in another couple of decades. Maybe by then, there will actually be a need for it.

Birmingham needs things, and this isn't one of them. Light rail anyone?

Edited by EvanK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the cost is $650 million dollars... NOW.

Remember that is just the INITIAL cost, too.

This thing will have to be financed long term, so the annual payments will include a lot of interest.

At 7%, we're talking $50 million or so PER YEAR for the next 30.

Edited by DruidCity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NBC13 reported last night, the cost is $650 million dollars... NOW. If any excessive delays are encountered, the cost could rise by a millon dollars a month. I don't live in Birmingham, but I did for years, and I still live in the region, and I just can't put my support behind this. This money should be going for transit and other things and not some white elephant on the side of the freeway.

I hate to say this, but I hope this project is killed. There are too many other things that need to be done right now. This can always be revisited in another couple of decades. Maybe by then, there will actually be a need for it.

Birmingham needs things, and this isn't one of them. Light rail anyone?

I totally agree...not about the Light Rail (way too expensive and Birminghamsters won't use it anyway) but I agree the Dome should NOT be built. With all that is wrong with Bham, this Dome is the Last thing it needs. Use the money for education, for revitalizing downtown in the right way, etc., but don't built a money drain - Bham will NEVER get a real pro sports team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree...not about the Light Rail (way too expensive and Birminghamsters won't use it anyway) but I agree the Dome should NOT be built. With all that is wrong with Bham, this Dome is the Last thing it needs. Use the money for education, for revitalizing downtown in the right way, etc., but don't built a money drain - Bham will NEVER get a real pro sports team.

Maybe if B'ham has something to go downtown for then it would be the necessary shot in the arm to revitalize downtown. How can you say that B'ham will "NEVER" get a pro sports team. 15 years ago I am sure people thought the exact same thing about Jacksonville and Nashville. B'ham is one of the largest cities I know of without an appropriate stadium and the city absolutely needs a nicer stadium and why not do it the RIGHT way. Giving more $ to education won't mean anything. Until you have the right leaders in charge of the schools then the B'ham city schools are the definition of a money drain. I am sure you could make the argument that every city that has a domed stadium could have used the money on something else, do you think that Atlanta or New Orleans have perfect school systems? Absolutely not. Unless there is a reason to come downtown there is no reason to invest in downtown. The city and county should support this notion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not that the belief that a new stadium is not needed, but major improvements need to made to the already-existing BJCC Arena first. The vast inadequate arena is in major need of improvements such as more private suites, an increase of total arena seats from 19,000 to 21,000, and a possible selling of the arena's nameing rights to help fund this improvements. With the improvements and renovation of the arena they could add to the convention center space and size. I believe at this point Birmingham has a better chance to gain an actual Arena Football not AF2 team and maybe a NBA team, but it's still a long way from gaining a NFL team due to lack of area private investors efforts to do so. When that time comes (which is IMO at least another 15 years away) then the dome stadium would be feasible, but not today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to open up discussion as to what should the Plan B of the BJCC expansion include instead of a dome convention center. Also, mind that the BJCC currently does possess $250 million for expansion, but won't act upon it because they keep wanting to build a dome.

Personally, I would like to see the BJCC Arena expanded along with the current Exhibition Halls and the Concert Hall. I believe that the Arena being expanded and renovated to NBA arena standards with more skyboxes and luxury suites. This would make Birmingham more able to hold more major concert tours and events, the possibility of the SteelDogs being upgraded to the AFL league, and a possible expansion franchise to NBA or NHL.

Edited by Leonard23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree; expand the BJCC arena so that perhaps one day Birmingham could land an NBA franchise (which I think Birmingham could support). I would also do what is being proposed with the dome expansion plan and create an entertainment district near the BJCC so that restaurants, bars, and other amenities are nearby to the BJCC complex. Also, I would also add additional hotel space near the BJCC.

I am beginning to believe more and more that Birmingham just doesn't need a dome, much less the cost to build and maintain such a facility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Well, yeah, with the attitude of the people the way it is in Birmingham, a dome is probably not the best thing. I would love to see the BJCC upgraded and redesigned to be more appealing. An entertainment district would definatly be a plus.

In my opinion, there might not be enough people in the Birmingham area to support a dome. How would you get nearly 8-9% of the population to go and fill it everytime there is something going on. That is almost impossible. Look at the Atlanta Braves, they hardly ever fill a 40,000 - 50,000 seat statium, granted they do have over 100 games a year. The fact is you need people to use the thing to pay for it, and most likely it will not get enough use in Birmingham.

Edited by Shawn35816

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I just e-mailed them at BJCC executive board about my ideas. I hope they take what I said into consideration. It would wiser to fixed what you got and than build something that may not have any real use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as anything else, I hope to see the entertainment district happen - something that locals and visitors alike can enjoy 365 days a year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Entertainment district, another hotel, and simply upgrading and expanding the facilities could be done for MUCH cheaper than the dome proposal. While I'm not against the dome, I am proactive and want something done sooner rather than later. At least get going on what the majority of the public SUPPORTS. Then, if the support is there later (which I doubt), you add the dome on. No reason to DEMAND it be lumped into one grand project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would rather see Legion Field and the area round it renovated and revitalized rather then building a dome stadium. There is too much history at Legion Field for it to be neglected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would rather see Legion Field and the area round it renovated and revitalized rather then building a dome stadium. There is too much history at Legion Field for it to be neglected.

I will say this: football fans (and NFL owners) would rather see football played in an open-air stadium than a domed stadium, especially in the south. Whether or not Legion Field could be renovated and the area around the stadium revitalized is another quandary aside from the BJCC expansion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has said he (and the state) would support expansion of BJCC without the dome. I think it's key to act on this committment now while it's there. The dome idea should be put aside now. The support isnt there, so just accept it and move on with what can and will be a great thing for Birmingham and the BJCC. If the BJCC can get a large new hotel, a new arena, expanded convention space, and entertainment district, etc.... then by all means, go for it now while that support is there. No sense in hanging up ALL of this proposal just in hoping people finally see the light on the dome.

Bottom line: Take what the current leadership is willing to give. If a dome wants to be pursued at a later date with new leadership in place, then fine. I've thought all along that this stuff should have been broken up into pieces rather than one large catch-all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say this: football fans (and NFL owners) would rather see football played in an open-air stadium than a domed stadium, especially in the south. Whether or not Legion Field could be renovated and the area around the stadium revitalized is another quandary aside from the BJCC expansion.

The problem is the Graymont neighborhood surrounding Legion Field. As much as I want to preserve the existing neighborhoods in the city and just revive them, Graymont needs to go. The neighborhood has been a place of a lot of the crimes as of late. If that was to occur, Legion Field and it surrounding area would be safer and could become a entertainment district as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has said he (and the state) would support expansion of BJCC without the dome. I think it's key to act on this committment now while it's there. The dome idea should be put aside now. The support isnt there, so just accept it and move on with what can and will be a great thing for Birmingham and the BJCC. If the BJCC can get a large new hotel, a new arena, expanded convention space, and entertainment district, etc.... then by all means, go for it now while that support is there. No sense in hanging up ALL of this proposal just in hoping people finally see the light on the dome.

Bottom line: Take what the current leadership is willing to give. If a dome wants to be pursued at a later date with new leadership in place, then fine. I've thought all along that this stuff should have been broken up into pieces rather than one large catch-all.

I agree 100%. If Riley is trying to help push the project along w/o the dome then they should take that and run with it. I want Birmingham to see it northside revived. I also want to see Birmingham finally get an updated arena and expanded convention center that can compete with the other Southern cities for conventions, show, and indoor sporting events like NCAA basketball semi-finals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Majority fault latest BJCC plan

Once again another set back for the BJCC expansion. Gene Hallman, Jack Fields, and those other lead heads on the BJCC board are still trying to get that damn dome built. The thing is now going to cost $624 million to build, but they are still trying to do studying to spend at least $185 million to buy land needed for an expansion, street infrastructure, engineering and project management for a dome.

Gene Hallman, whose Birmingham Sports Ventures company is drumming up financial support for the project, said the BJCC wants the county to commit to at least $185 million but he told the commissioners that he didn't know if their financial commitment would lead to a dome.

"We're still discussing the possibility of a multipurpose facility because that is the biggest bang for our buck," he said. He added that the BJCC will have another round of meetings with the county commissioners to address their concerns.

BJCC Director Jack Fields has said the facility would cost $624.2 million to build. Of that, $467.9 million would be for construction and design of a 70,000-seat dome with 230,000 square feet of convention space, and $22.7 million to build a parking deck.

Fields has said $250 million in private financing still is in place to build an entertainment and retail center and a 300-room hotel adjacent to the BJCC. That development will not happen unless the dome is built, he said.

When are they going to realize that we don't need a dome, but an improved BJCC arena, exhibition halls, more hotels, and an entertainment district? I will be writing a long letter to Mr. Hallman this week myself to tell him otherwise. I am getting really sick of those idiots trying to avoid Plan B and just shove a dome down out throats.

Edited by Leonard23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Majority fault latest BJCC plan

Once again another set back for the BJCC expansion. Gene Hallman, Jack Fields, and those other lead heads on the BJCC board are still trying to get that damn dome built. The thing is now going to cost $624 million to build, but they are still trying to do studying to spend at least $185 million to buy land needed for an expansion, street infrastructure, engineering and project management for a dome.

When are they going to realize that we don't need a dome, but an improved BJCC arena, exhibition halls, more hotels, and an entertainment district? I will be writing a long letter to Mr. Hallman this week myself to tell him otherwise. I am getting really sick of those idiots trying to avoid Plan B and just shove a dome down out throats.

I guess I am an idiot but 40 years ago the 'intelligent' people were saying Birmingham doesn't need a civic center. But now, where would this city be without the BJCC?

This city desperately needs an improved civic center, an entertainment district, more hotels and a dome. I have to wonder if people here realize how far behind we really are. This is not only about entertainment for the city, it is about a commitment to the future to attract interest from prospective business and employers that want to locate in a progressive city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I am an idiot but 40 years ago the 'intelligent' people were saying Birmingham doesn't need a civic center. But now, where would this city be without the BJCC?

This city desperately needs an improved civic center, an entertainment district, more hotels and a dome. I have to wonder if people here realize how far behind we really are. This is not only about entertainment for the city, it is about a commitment to the future to attract interest from prospective business and employers that want to locate in a progressive city.

I used to agree about the dome stadium, but that's before the price jump nearly 20% over the last 3 years. I think the dome talk is a wrap, but the discussions of a Plan B that could bring a vastly improved and renovated BJCC Arena that is to NBA, AFL, and NHL standards and possible corporate naming rights. Plus on top of it most cities nowadays aren't building full enclosed dome stadiums anymore, but stadiums with a retractable roofs. I want Birmingham to move forward and become a very viable destination for conventions and exhibition show, but a major expansion without a dome would be the solution.

In addition, most stadiums (not arenas) are nearly always fully funded by private investors. That is something that hasn't obviously been a proponent in this situation.

Edited by Leonard23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was strongly in favor of a dome for the longest time but now agree that a scaled down but still major renovation of the arena along with increased convention space and a new hotel and entertainment district is a much better plan. An outdoor stadium can be built at a later date with private money IMO (and in another area of downtown....perhaps midtown?).

On a side note, I think a dual purpose open air stadium would be a better option for downtown (somewhere in midtown preferably somewhere between 20th street and the Red Mtn Expressway....in other words tear down/buy out a large area of low rise buildings and build it there.). I'm thinking more in the way of a smaller sized stadium with tons of expansion possiblities built to accomodate large concerts, an MLS franchise, or even a bowl game/NFL franchise. The MLS franchise in particular is far from a pipe dream when you consider that the sport is slowly but surely growing in popularity in the US and Bham has a strong soccer reputation among Southern U.S. cities. Personally, I'm not much of a soccer fan but I've heard Bham mentioned is some impressive company when it comes to soccer in this country. Imagine a sweet, sparkling 35,000 to 40,000 seat stadium with low level/open ended endzones (which would provide major expansion potential if ever needed). You could develop an entertainment district around it as well while provided an incredible concert venue and large event facility in a fairly nice part of downtown. Though I'm a Bama grad/fan and not fond of a program (UAB football) that is openly hostile towards the main campus, I would think they could use such a facility as well. This would be totally separate from any convention/arena renovation/entertainment/hotel project at the current BJCC site. I mention the open air stadium idea in light of Blazer85 mentioning of a possible private "dome" development in Gardendale. I think my suggestion wouldn't be any crazier than what could happen in Gardendale. Just some food for thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rumors are that there may be a similar proposal as this for an area near Gardendale (north of downtown Birmingham).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rumors are that there may be a similar proposal as this for an area near Gardendale (north of downtown Birmingham).

I hope this doesn't come to fruition. All this will do is push to make Greater Birmingham into another Metro Detroit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was very supportive of the dome myself, me being a birmingham native, but now I am getting the impression that the dome proposal should definitely be shot down. But I fully agree that an expanded BJCC arena, (probably to 18,500-20,500 seating capacity), an entertainment district, additional hotel rooms, and expanded exhibition space would do very, very well for B'ham and the entire area. I like to use Oklahoma City as a example and what they did to revitalize their city with a new downtown arena and an entertainment district http://www.visitokc.com/mapsprojects.html. This would be a good example for B'ham to use, and I think the public would (SHOULD) support an expanded BJCC and entertainment district. In a matter of time, the Steeldogs are upgraded to AFL, and possibly a NBA or NHL franchise would be soon to follow if an expanded arena, additional hotel rooms, entertainment, and area support were to be offered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.