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About two months ago, I posted the question, “Is Montgomery Dying?” in this forum. At the time, I had only seen the outlying parts of East-South Boulevard, bits of Atlanta Highway, and the box stores on Taylor road. Now I am going to do something I rarely do, which is repudiate my claim.

I love downtowns, I love high (and mid) rise building. I love little caf

Edited by nowyano
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Hopefully this project comes to fruition.  Sounds like a version of the White Water Center complex in suburban Charlotte. https://www.al.com/business/2019/08/montgomery-planning-40-million-water-

[continued]

Now, as excited as I was I have to bring up my first big negative. There was a lack of people, such a lack that I literally stood in the middle of what should have been two moderately busy streets (Dexter Ave and Lee Street I believe was the second one) to take these pictures.

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Such a lack of people that a Subway sandwich shop right a college (Troy Montgomery), the capital building, and walking distance from other attractions did not even have Saturday or Sunday hours.

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At this point, I had lost track of street signs, but heading up what I think was Court Street (according to the sign that I can barely make out in the photo) at a triangular intersection by the Federal Building I met some very nice people by New South Inc Publishers, and a Smoothie store. They were working on putting up an art gallery, which will be opening next month. I asked the owner if it would have weekend hours, and he said he didn’t know yet. I also saw a few newer (or at least newer to me restaurants, bars, and such). I also wanted to stop into the Civil Rights Museum, but guess what? They’re not open on Saturdays.

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And then more empty streets that should be busy at about 1:00 on a Saturday.

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From there, I headed down towards Lee and Montgomery Streets. Another newer restaurant and a lot of empty buildings by the Troy Montgomery Campus, but a huge amount of work going into the Federal Building.

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Closer to Troy Montgomery was very cool. The Davis Theater had some really cool shows coming including some Broadway Shows (yes it’s the Wedding Singer, and yes I will go to see it possibly spending the night in the Renaissance or Embassy Suits). I would love to see the Shakespeare Festival or someone else put another theater in downtown. Also the Rosa Parks Museum, which surprisingly was open, has a nice urban feel to it.

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I also saw the Montgomery Advertiser building. I wonder if there are any plans for this building (since newspapers are dying and all).

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I finally walked back to Union Station and back to my car before leaving downtown.

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First and foremost, I felt like I was watching stage hands rush to put the scenery together for opening night's first act of a play. People were getting into their places, and the things were coming together very nicely downtown. It truly was as if I was in the middle of something very exciting about to happen. I saw some other buildings that I was too tired to take pictures of, including a really cool building which i think was a Mosque, though it may have been a church. (anyone know what I'm talking about?) Even ASU's campus, which I took no pictures of, was having all kinds of street improvements. The city is really ready to make a big leap, maybe not to the New Orleans, Atlanta or even Birmingham type of status, but definitely to a Chatanooga or Savannah like status. My only downside was after being thrilled by the downtown I still saw the lack of life. I saw very few people eating at the restaurants, and next to no one walking on the streets, and it was a beautiful day. I think Montgomery is maybe two or three years away with its downtown.

However, the rest of the city I was less excited by. I still have not seen Old Cloverdale (could anyone give me an intersection to look for), Five Points (whose construction I don't believe has begun yet), the work going on near the RSA parking deck, or the construction that is happening to the Normandale Mall. I did not venture up to the Capital or the SPL Center because I have seen those enough times, and I'm sure I will be Downtown in a week or two.

Still, the circle (North-East-South) Boulevard is dead or dying. The outskirt malls are still taking a lot of shoppers away from Downtown and with the Museum of Fine Arts, the Shakespeare Festival, and the Zoo so far from the downtown it is going to hinder the growth a bit. I also hope that the downtown stores start to get better (or at least some) hours for Saturdays and Sundays. I walked around from about 11:30-2:00 and most stores were either not open at all, or not open until I left.

On the other hand, I like how the work is being done at a good pace, starting with the River Walk, and moving outwards. I really did feel excited, and almost electric, while walking through what is turning out to be quite an eclectic downtown.

Edited by nowyano
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I'm wondering if anyone knows any stores that are planning on locating to Downtown. I was mostly wondering about museums, entertainment complexes (Jillian's, Dave and Busters). And I was also curious if anyone knows if the Downtown businesses are ever planning on having better weekend hours. Also, ice cream. I was craving ice cream and there was no place to get ice cream downtown (closed, open, or otherwise).

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I'm wondering if anyone knows any stores that are planning on locating to Downtown. I was mostly wondering about museums, entertainment complexes (Jillian's, Dave and Busters). And I was also curious if anyone knows if the Downtown businesses are ever planning on having better weekend hours. Also, ice cream. I was craving ice cream and there was no place to get ice cream downtown (closed, open, or otherwise).

I havent heard any serious decisions on other businesses locating downtown other than one more nice restaurant at the Alley and a country music venue that is in the plans for the Alley but the developer is waiting for more traffic. Thats the deal. It will take a good amount of time before more foot and auto traffic fills the streets again. Developers that are less risky are holding out for more people and consumers are waiting for more businesses. More lofts and apartments will definitely help.

I really wish they could build levees or whatever they need so that the river can be managed during flood seasons. So that the land across the river can be build up. It would be awesome to have riverside lofts right across from the stadium have a foot bridge to get across to downtown. Build a park.

But it can't since its flood plains.

nowyano

I have to say that that was a great writeup. I like reading about my city from a different perspective.

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nowyano

That was a great writeup. I love to read about my city from a different perspective. I am hopeful that in a decade this city really will shape up.

I must say I was in Birmingham this past weekend for the Barber Vintage Festival and after I was through on Saturday by 2 pm. I and my two friends could not find a thing to do besides kill time at the Summit. We didnt have time to go downtown but even then I dont think there is anything downtown Bham on a Saturday afternoon. We stayed on 280 the whole day. Its the largest city in the state but its no ATL or even Nashville.

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I actually just did a post about thriving downtowns in the South Forum. I can't think of too many Southern cities that do have big drawing downtowns other than ATL. I had a friend in Birmingham who went to school at Auburn, and after we graduated I came down to visit him. I remember asking him what there was to do, and him replying that it was just a bigger Auburn. You could go shopping at The Summit, or go to the movies and that was about it.

Montgomery has the potential right now, depending on what they put downtown to change that. I am a big believer in museums and walking tours. Montgomery's history could make for a great walking tour (Civil Rights, Pre Civil War times, Confederate History) and the warehouses could easily be converted into museums, or nightclubs. This could make for an interesting downtown.

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When I left Alabama in 2002 the Poarch Creek Indians in Wetumpka had just finished their bingo hall with a bit of fanfare. Last I heard they had planned for a 140,000 square foot casino, with the help of Harrah's. Did this happen? I imagine not as I could not find any information on it. I did however see they had a small hall in Montgomery now. If this didn't happen, I'm curious as to why it did not. I know that Victoryland in Shorter has switched to bingo machines, which Bob Riley is against.

Are there still plans for this casino to happen? And if so what effect could it have on Montgomery?

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  • 3 weeks later...

MATS has added an "Entertainment Route" which will be runnig from Maxwell through Downtown and Cloverdale.

http://www.montgomerytransit.com/Maps/EntertainmentRts18_19.pdf

I really do like what MATS as done in the last few years, they are slowly bringing back buses, and while there is no news on streetcars the buses are a good step. The city of Montgomery, has also been very good about trying to incorporate Maxwell into Downtown, whether this be the attempt to rename and renovate Bell Street or this I think these are positive signs.

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WSFA 12 News has also learned that a private developer in Florida is investigating the possibility of building an aquarium off Bell Street near the Alabama River.

http://www.wsfa.com/global/story.asp?s=11472480

Thanks for that posting, I think it serves as a real reality check. Greenville is still working on their revitalization after 30 years, and Montgomery is just 7 years in. I don't want to wait 30 years, but until merchants fully buy in, like in Greenville, there will be a whole lot of slow work being done. For the record, I think what Montgomery has done so far has been amazing. Out of curiousity, does anyone know the approximate timeline of the Chatanooga revitalization?

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Does anyone know who bought the old Alabama Theater on N. Perry and Monroe? It is not a property that was owned by the city like 71 and 11 Dexter (which have also been bought). There was a for sale sign on it for the longest time, but now there is a sale pending sign. Just curious to know if anyone knows who the potential buyer is.

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  • 1 month later...

I realize that I am apparently the only person who regularly seems to check this page out, but just in case there is anyone else...

Montgomery is changing One Court Square into Questplex, which will be a library and children's museum at the bottom of Dexter Ave. They have also sold a bunch of the buildings down on Dexter Ave and hope to connect Lower Dexter to the Alley and the Riverfront.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20110219/NEWS01/102190305/One-Court-Square-gets-new-name-

I realize I haven't posted any new Montgomery pictures (again mostly for me) in almost 2 years, so I'll add pictures in a few weeks of the work on Dexter Ave and the area in general. Montgomery's downtown is coming along nicely, despite economic hardships --or perhaps because of them-- maybe people will start visiting it again soon.

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I realize that I am apparently the only person who regularly seems to check this page out, but just in case there is anyone else...

Montgomery is changing One Court Square into Questplex, which will be a library and children's museum at the bottom of Dexter Ave. They have also sold a bunch of the buildings down on Dexter Ave and hope to connect Lower Dexter to the Alley and the Riverfront.

http://www.montgomer...-gets-new-name-

I realize I haven't posted any new Montgomery pictures (again mostly for me) in almost 2 years, so I'll add pictures in a few weeks of the work on Dexter Ave and the area in general. Montgomery's downtown is coming along nicely, despite economic hardships --or perhaps because of them-- maybe people will start visiting it again soon.

I check it whenever i see a new post..looking forward to seeing more of your pics.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fresh Market is moving it's store to the former Bruno's on Perry Hill Road. The Mayor confirmed the move on Tues. March 8. A coming soon sign is placed outside the new location. The current site gives the store 19k square feet. The new location will be much larger and give them an opportunity to redesign the store.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20110309/NEWS01/103090360/Fresh-Market-to-move-to-new-location

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The Fairview Avenue farmer's market had been threatened to be shutdown to save the state money recently but the city has agreed to let ASU purchase the site to use to trained students how to run a business. The MPD will rent space on the site for 4-5 officers on site. The city has been looking into building a police substation on Fairview. The rented space will not be the location for the substation but just a police presence.

http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20110309/NEWS01/103090359/Agreement-keeps-Fairview-Ave-farmers-market-open

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  • 2 weeks later...

The city of Montgomery will build a new residential development on the west side. City planners believe the affordable housing development will help revitalize the area and make it attractive to private investors.

Named Lanier Place, the development will be built in three phases at the site of the former Lanier Court apartment buildings. The first phase will include 19 traditionally designed homes on Liberty Street, which is being extended to intersect E.D. Nixon Avenue, formerly Goode Street.

The first three homes in Lanier Place are nearly complete.

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  • 1 month later...

Montgomery... sold a bunch of the buildings down on Dexter Ave and hope to connect Lower Dexter to the Alley and the Riverfront.

As part of an effort to redevelop lower Dexter Avenue, the city sold several properties to developers in recent weeks. The new owners of 58 Dexter Ave plan to demolish part of the rear of the building and add one or two stories to the original two. The first floor will be retail or restaurant space, with residential and/or office space above. The new owner of 78 Dexter Ave plans to open a Latin-themed restaurant in the corner building. City Drug will remain at 11 Dexter and the new owner plans to live above the drugstore. The empty lot at the corner of S. Perry and Washington Ave, just up the block from 78 Dexter, will be the site of a new four-story building with retail and office space.

Kudos to the city for buying these properties and then getting them into the hands of owners who want to do something with them.

City sells downtown property for redevelopment

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The owners of 82 Commerce Street received a $165,000 grant to update the building's facade, and plan to build ten loft apartments on the upper floors. The building, located at the corner of Commerce and Bibb, is home to the Sous La Terre lounge and Choices Chinese restaurant. Improvements will include cleaning the brick, painting and repairing windows.

Grant to help 82 Commerce St.

Building on the left:

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Photos of three of the properties mentioned in post #248:

58 Dexter Ave - not sure which side, could be both.

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78 Dexter Ave

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Corner of S. Perry and Washington Ave

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The building that was torn down there to make way for a parking deck:

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I'm guessing that the replacement will be much more attractive.

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