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BJCC Expansion plans


Blazer85

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One question. Are there private developers interested in building a new large hotel, to either displace hotel rooms expected to disappear (Redmont conversions, for example), satisfy future demand or because downtown hotels are running at high occupancy?

If not, it's because they expect such a venture to fail. Why would I trust the business acumen of Birmingham and Jefferson County representatives over someone betting with their own money?

I echo what Leonard just said. Birmingham also has one of the highest occupancy rates in all of the southeast.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Public input to be sought on plans for expansion

All of the BJCC board yesterday for the first-time in awhile with new member Jefferson County Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins. <_< There was going to be a vote for these focus group meeting that would be unbiases and involved the average citizen of Jefferson County. However, Collins as usual was the odd man out, saying "I need more informatin before voting on these focus groups." That woman serves absolute no purpose on the County Commission. :rolleyes:

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Public input to be sought on plans for expansion

All of the BJCC board yesterday for the first-time in awhile with new member Jefferson County Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins. <_< There was going to be a vote for these focus group meeting that would be unbiases and involved the average citizen of Jefferson County. However, Collins as usual was the odd man out, saying "I need more informatin before voting on these focus groups." That woman serves absolute no purpose on the County Commission. :rolleyes:

Great. That woman is an idiot. Thanks for the update!

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  • 1 month later...

Is there any update on anything pertaining to the expansion? Hotels, entertainment district, expanded meeting space, etc? Why not simply split the proposals into at least 2-3 separate ones. There seems to be widespread support for expanding and upgrading the BJCC at the very least. The rest can and will come if there is evidence that it will be supported. The most important steps in my opinion are: 1) upgrading and expanding convention space, 2) building at least 1 other large hotel nearby, and 3) starting the beginnings at least of a new entertainment district with bars, restaurants, and other shopping. I hope we can get something going on this project... it's been years now.

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There's an article in today's Birmingham News detailing basically exactly what I've been pushing for. They want to move forward with at least a hotel and an entertainment district. I think it's a very good idea and I'm optimistic they carry through with it this time.

http://www.al.com/business/birminghamnews/....xml&coll=2

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I'm glad they are going about with the hotel(s) and entertainment district. Downtown is in a dire need of more entertainment activities after 7PM.

Absolutely agree. I know alot of people staying at the Sheraton for the Papa John's Bowl and they were upset that there was NOTHING in the immediate area around the hotel where they could go eat or drink or just have fun. An entertainment district is in DIRE need... that much is for sure.

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Just curious, why is the city pushing to build a new from scratch "entertainment district"? Why not focus on Southside and make it even better, or focus or Morris Avenue and bring it back to it's past glory?

All about money... with Morris Avenue or 5 Points/Southside, those would require just general development goals with no particular organization pushing it along or footing the bill. With the entertainment district around the BJCC, the BJCC will obviously be helping foot the bill as well as helping to organize the whole thing. The BJCC/Sheraton area needs some attractions. There are really no nice places to eat or hang out in that part of the city. That lack of entertainment means a loss of potential revenue. Thousands of people stay in that Sheraton during conferences. Thousands attend events at the BJCC every other week or so. Many of the people at these places will not go to 5 Points or Morris Avenue... heck, some might not even know about those places.

5 Points has a separate initiative being taken by Operation New Birmingham to revitalize that area of the Southside. I do agree with you, however, that someone else should pick up on Morris Avenue and help revitalize it. I'm sure that will utlimately become a big hotspot as soon as the Railroad Park begins to come together.

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Just curious, why is the city pushing to build a new from scratch "entertainment district"? Why not focus on Southside and make it even better, or focus or Morris Avenue and bring it back to it's past glory?

If you are familiar with Columbus, Ohio's Arena District north of downtown Columbus, then you will know what type of entertainment district BJCC's pushing. They are trying to give the people who visit the city for major events a place to hang and enjoy around the BJCC (especially if they are unfamilar with Birmingham). Right now, the only thing in the immediate vicinity of the BJCC is the The Furnance dance/gentlemen's club/bar(s) (it has 2 bars in it). However, it is very upper end and somewhat exclusive so it isn't exactly for the common visitor.

Honestly, the Southside/Five Points South and Lakeview areas could coexist with another entertainment district in the downtown areas. In a matter of a fact, the more entertainment the merrier as seen by many including myself that is in the 18-34 age range. :D It would help Birmingham pull and maintain those who enjoys the nightlife in the city against competing cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Memphis.

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I don't know, would an entertainment district attract enough business to justify it being built? People staying at the Sheraton for a convention would go to these places but who else? Unfortunately, people don't go to the North Side. Well, if it ever is built hopefully they will include a Dave and Busters. Speaking of which, the ideal spot for a Dave and Busters would be the former Galleria 10. This would be a huge draw.

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I don't know, would an entertainment district attract enough business to justify it being built? People staying at the Sheraton for a convention would go to these places but who else? Unfortunately, people don't go to the North Side. Well, if it ever is built hopefully they will include a Dave and Busters. Speaking of which, the ideal spot for a Dave and Busters would be the former Galleria 10. This would be a huge draw.

The reason why nobody ventures to the northside is because they don't have a reason to be on the northside. An entertainment district would be draw enough interest so that people would have a reason go there. Dave & Buster's is mostly a suburban establishment because Atlanta area locations (Marietta and Duluth) and Charlotte area location is in Concord Mills which are way into its suburbs. If they did open a Birmingham area location it would likely be in either Trussville or Riverchase.

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If you are familiar with Columbus, Ohio's Arena District north of downtown Columbus, then you will know what type of entertainment district BJCC's pushing. They are trying to give the people who visit the city for major events a place to hang and enjoy around the BJCC (especially if they are unfamilar with Birmingham). Right now, the only thing in the immediate vicinity of the BJCC is the The Furnance dance/gentlemen's club/bar(s) (it has 2 bars in it). However, it is very upper end and somewhat exclusive so it isn't exactly for the common visitor.

Honestly, the Southside/Five Points South and Lakeview areas could coexist with another entertainment district in the downtown areas. In a matter of a fact, the more entertainment the merrier as seen by many including myself that is in the 18-34 age range. :D It would help Birmingham pull and maintain those who enjoys the nightlife in the city against competing cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, and Memphis.

I'm very familiar with this area in Columbus. I'm also familiar enough to know that this area is in between downtown and the upper income neighborhoods of Columbus. I think many Columbus locals go out in this area, as well as visitors. The university is also nearby.

Birminghams situation is much different. No upper income neighborhoods in the immediate BJCC area. No university. (UAB is closer to 5 Points South). I can't see this entertainment district surviving on hotel guest alone. This was my reasoning for thinking the money would be better spent pumping up Southside.

Edited by gsupstate
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I'm very familiar with this area in Columbus. I'm also familiar enough to know that this area is in between downtown and the upper income neighborhoods of Columbus. I think many Columbus locals go out in this area, as well as visitors. The university is also nearby.

Birminghams situation is much different. No upper income neighborhoods. No university. (UAB is closer to 5 Points South). I can't see this entertainment district surviving on hotel guest alone. This was my reasoning for thinking the money would be better spent pumping up Southside.

Well, the city had its chance to pump up Southside a long time ago, but once again lacked vision. Had they made 5 Points an entertainment destination (blocking traffic at night and not allowing things like Schaeffer Eye in the most valuable real estate), and creating a shuttle directly from UAB's campus at night, things may be a little different now. I'm pretty sure both UAB and the city put on blinders to the fact that college students don't drink. And once Highlands was rated the #5 restaurant in the country, the city should have invested more in that area. Period.

Now, I haven't been to Columbus to hang out, so I'm not sure how far these "upper income" neighborhoods are in comparison to the nightlife, but if they are a couple of miles, then that's about the same as to Homewood, Forest Park, Redmont, etc., which last time I checked, are "upper income" neighborhoods. If you dispute this, please look at housing prices and check back. Some of the wealthiest people in Alabama live in these areas.

Personally, I think the BJCC will need something like a Dave & Busters to draw out of towners in, as, quite frankly the bars in Birmingham suck, with a few minor exceptions. By the way, Nana Funks next to Innisfree -- worst bar on the planet. Birmingham needs more bars like The Garage, The Nick, and Bottletree to ever have a chance. I agree with Leonard23 -- after moving back from Denver last year, the one thing I miss is the CHOICE to go to many places. Birmingham has only a handful of bars.

And my final thought is just kind of shoved in here, because I didn't think of it until now, but we also have a huge problem in the fact that so many areas are competing to be an entertainment district. It's not only confusing for tourists, but also expensive. Cabs ain't cheap.

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Now, I haven't been to Columbus to hang out, so I'm not sure how far these "upper income" neighborhoods are in comparison to the nightlife, but if they are a couple of miles, then that's about the same as to Homewood, Forest Park, Redmont, etc., which last time I checked, are "upper income" neighborhoods. If you dispute this, please look at housing prices and check back. Some of the wealthiest people in Alabama live in these areas.

I should have said (and since gone back and edited) "no upper income neighborhoods in the immediate area to the BJCC." Lets face it, the area around the BJCC (to the north) isn't that great. Seems maybe the city should focus on getting more RESIDENTS into this area....lofts, etc before trying for an entertainment area. If the city can make an entertainment district work, then I'm all for it. I just know there is already an entertainment district (Southside) that could be improved greatly, so not sure why city government would want to try to create yet another district, until the one they have is top notch.

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Well some of this is a chicken vs. the egg idea. Do you need the residents first, or do you need the entertainment? Why would many residents move in if there weren't something first there to draw them in (ie, entertainment)? Personally, I think the entertainment has to come first... restaurants, bars, shopping, etc. Then developers take an interest in the area and build new residential units. Makes sense to me.

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I should have said (and since gone back and edited) "no upper income neighborhoods in the immediate area to the BJCC." Lets face it, the area around the BJCC (to the north) isn't that great. Seems maybe the city should focus on getting more RESIDENTS into this area....lofts, etc before trying for an entertainment area. If the city can make an entertainment district work, then I'm all for it. I just know there is already an entertainment district (Southside) that could be improved greatly, so not sure why city government would want to try to create yet another district, until the one they have is top notch.

I agree with this completely. As others on here have stated, one of the problems with Birmingham's night life is that it's too spread out (Lake View, Five Points, Pepper Place). Due to the lack of public transportation in the city, it'd make things a lot nicer if everything was concentrated in one area. I would really like to see the 20th St. corridor be developed as a commerical and entertainment district.

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Birminghams situation is much different. No upper income neighborhoods in the immediate BJCC area. No university. (UAB is closer to 5 Points South). I can't see this entertainment district surviving on hotel guest alone. This was my reasoning for thinking the money would be better spent pumping up Southside.

sure would be nice if that convention space weren't already on the extreme north side of town. maybe somewhere midway down the street corridors, and a few blocks west of the supposed 'arts' district? lofts aplenty in all directions from there, and sandwiched between two sections of town that aren't...totally...dead. oh, and better proximity to UAB, AL theater, mcwane, etc. then again, that would put the business district, advent church, linn park, et. al. even closer to the unwashed just north of town with no huge convention complex barrier.

no, i'm not serious. but funny how geography and economic stagnation (i.e., leadership's back-turning on major dev't / renewal in the hood just north of BJCC) work against - and blame each other for - doing things the right (read: hard) way.

and i confess, i have never heard of dave & buster's. a bar chain, it seems. anything noteworthy about it? why in bham as oppsed to all the other such chain phenoms that could be wooed?

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and i confess, i have never heard of dave & buster's. a bar chain, it seems. anything noteworthy about it? why in bham as oppsed to all the other such chain phenoms that could be wooed?

D&B is basically a Chuck E Cheese for adults. Food and games rolled into one. They had them in Denver, and while expensive, they were a lot of fun. Check it out...

Dave & Busters

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