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Skyliner

"Celebrate Alabama"

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The development will stretch more than two miles along Interstate 85, bringing at least 5,000 jobs and a $1 billion capital investment.

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Wow, that is a significant number of jobs. The Auburn-Opelika area is growing by leaps and bounds, mostly conventional sprawl, and I hope this project doesn't turn out to be another massive unsustainable development.

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Wow, that is a significant number of jobs. The Auburn-Opelika area is growing by leaps and bounds, mostly conventional sprawl, and I hope this project doesn't turn out to be another massive unsustainable development.

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It sounds like an enormous development, but I can't help thinking Montgomery would be the logical choice

for an "Alabama-themed" attraction.

The Auburn-Opelika area and just over the line in Georgia have a great

economic future mapped out, but this particular project just seems like an odd fit :

From the first link:

The history of this state is enormous, and that's what this is built on.

It's built on the food, the entertainment, the music, the history, the culture of the state,"

said Larry Silver, CEO of Silver Companies.

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It sounds like an enormous development, but I can't help thinking Montgomery would be the logical choice

for an "Alabama-themed" attraction.

The Auburn-Opelika area and just over the line in Georgia have a great

economic future mapped out, but this particular project just seems like an odd fit :

From the first link:

Generic interstate frontage in Opelika is the best place to represent this state's history and culture ?

The state's music, food, and entertainment ? Opelika interstate exit ?

From the second link:

I realize this is a football-crazy state from one end to the other, but using the term "heroes" to equally describe

college football coaches and Rosa Parks is not something I would do...

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It sounds like an enormous development, but I can't help thinking Montgomery would be the logical choice

for an "Alabama-themed" attraction.

The Auburn-Opelika area and just over the line in Georgia have a great

economic future mapped out, but this particular project just seems like an odd fit :

From the first link:

Generic interstate frontage in Opelika is the best place to represent this state's history and culture ?

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I'm an Alabama alum, but I don't see anything wrong with Shug Jordan or other football coaches being hailed as heroes. What I don't like about the project, and maybe I'm wrong, is that it appears to be a fancy strip mall and big box development with seas of parking lots fronting a six-lane highway. IMHO the theme would be more appropriate somewhere along the I-65 corridor, but I'd be all for it if it had genuine urban character. As it stands now, though, I think "Celebrate Alabama Sprawl" would be a better name for it.

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I'm an Alabama alum, but I don't see anything wrong with Shug Jordan or other football coaches being hailed as heroes. What I don't like about the project, and maybe I'm wrong, is that it appears to be a fancy strip mall and big box development with seas of parking lots fronting a six-lane highway. IMHO the theme would be more appropriate somewhere along the I-65 corridor, but I'd be all for it if it had genuine urban character. As it stands now, though, I think "Celebrate Alabama Sprawl" would be a better name for it.

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I dont understand their whole (get away from the traffic and people theory)

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I was thinking the same thing. Also the developers explanation of the location about traffic and everything is kinda an oxymoron. This is considering their Virginia development is on the most heavily congested cooridor in that State and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Developments like this are going to generate traffic regardless, but it is the sprawl aspect that is quite cumbersome. I'm not saying anything bad about Auburn-Opelika area, which I think this will be a major economic boon for, but this location is just plain peculiar for a state-themed resort.

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I'm an Alabama alum, but I don't see anything wrong with Shug Jordan or other football coaches being hailed as heroes. What I don't like about the project, and maybe I'm wrong, is that it appears to be a fancy strip mall and big box development with seas of parking lots fronting a six-lane highway. IMHO the theme would be more appropriate somewhere along the I-65 corridor, but I'd be all for it if it had genuine urban character. As it stands now, though, I think "Celebrate Alabama Sprawl" would be a better name for it.

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I'm thinking the location is driven in part by the direct interstate access to the economic engine that is Atlanta and the airport on its southside, as well as trying to get ahead (and take advantage) of the growth of the I-85 corridor.

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there are waay to many trees in that area, get rid of them. We want tacky sprawl from Auburn

to Atlanta. Boy I hope they have a Petco, Ross , maybe even a Family Dollar!

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I have a nice article in the Columbus forum about this development from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. It is in the Auburn/Opelika section. I should have put it over here as well.

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I'm all for it boosting the economic development in East Alabama, but this position of the massive development and the fact that suppose to represent the State of Alabama just is poor judgement on the developers' part. I-85 is heavily travelled cooridor, but that stretch west of Metro Atlanta in East Alabama doesn't even compared to the amount of traffic travelled along any stretch I-65 between Decatur and Montgomery even if you compared the raw daily numbers .

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But honestly, how many people travelling from the Hartsfield-Jackson are really thinking about travelling to Alabama by car? Yeah, they would probably travel through Hartsfield-Jackson awaiting a connector flight to BHM or HSV, but not really awaiting to travel by car unless they live somewhere along the I-85 corridor.

I'm all for it boosting the economic development in East Alabama, but this position of the massive development and the fact that suppose to represent the State of Alabama just is poor judgement on the developers' part. I-85 is heavily travelled cooridor, but that stretch west of Metro Atlanta in East Alabama doesn't even compared to the amount of traffic travelled along any stretch I-65 between Decatur and Montgomery even if you compared the raw daily numbers .

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Actually there are destinations in the I-85 corridor that people might reach via ATL - Auburn University, the new Kia plant, the suppliers for the new Kia plant, etc.. AHJIA is the large airport with the quickest access to those locations.

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As true as that is, and I do agree, there are still more people that travel to more places along the I-65 corridor. In terms of interstate use, I-65 takes the cake and then some. It runs the entire length of the state and is the most easy way to access 5 of the 10 largest cities in the state (Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, Huntsville, Hoover, and Decatur), not to mention all the other smaller but still major cities like Cullman, Prattville, Prichard, Bessemer, and the list goes on. Not to mention the other cities that are also easily accessed via interstates that branch away from I-65 (Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Gadsden, Anniston, Oxford, Opelika, Northport,...) that list goes on even further.

I've always viewed the state as being a case of "All Roads Lead to Rome". Except here, they all lead to Birmingham. Now, not litereally all of them. But, in about 3 quarters of the state, most of the roads you encounter in the rural and urban areas are in some way branching away, out of, or towards Birmingham. And of course, Birmingham is the interestate hub of the state, and one of the largest interstate hubs in the 5 state area.

When trying to make a case against putting a huge shopping center on I-65 that "celebrates" Alabama and wanting to put it somewhere else, there's really not much of a sensable argument. You can argue, yes, Auburn-Opelika IS one of the fastest growing areas in the state, it's close to Atlanta and Columbus, GA, it's a fairly large hub of state and U.S. highways, but, it doesn't even compete with I-65. IMO

I just can't help but wonder how much better it could do had they planned to build it between Birmingham and Montgomery. Which, IMO, is the prime location for a development of this sort.

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I think everyone may be taking the name "Celebrate Alabama" too literally. I lived in Richmond, VA, for 6 years (I moved to Auburn last year), and drove by and went to "Celebrate Virginia" in Fredericksburg several times. The funny thing is that I never knew it was called "Celebrate Virginia" until I heard about "Celebrate Alabama". I always only knew it as Central Park, which apparently is just the shopping part of it. There was never any impression that this was anything more than a large shopping center. I never thought of it as some museum/cultural center that celebrated Virginia. That's what Richmond is for! :) And in Alabama, that's what Montgomery and Birmingham are still for. The developer is just selling it as such, so people won't say, "What? Another 'lifestyle center'?"

The reason they chose Opelika and I-85, instead of Birmingham, Montgomery or Decatur/Huntsville and I-65, is because all of those places already have everything "Celebrate Alabama" will have to offer...which in a nutshell is several chain restaurants, a few big box retailers that we don't have here yet, an exhibition center (which this area could use), maybe a hotel or two, and some office space. They are anticipating the growth of this area due to the Kia plant in West Point, GA, and the BRAC relocations in Columbus. Everyone assumes that the people who come for those jobs will live in Alabama (particularly Auburn/Opelika/Lee County), because the schools are better and property taxes are significantly lower. That's why the developer's timeline is 6-10 years. By then, they will be able to tell if the growth is really happening or not.

I think when it's all said and done, you will find that this will only be a destination for the people of East Alabama and West Georgia (and maybe the golfers who play at Grand National on the RTJ Golf Trail). It's not like people will come from all over the state to shop at the same ol' stores, stay at the same ol' hotels, and look at some statues that abut a Red Robin and a Bonefish Grill. :) If you need proof of the artificiality of the concept, check out "Celebrate Virginia" on the web: Celebrate Virginia. In particular, check out the Central Park section. You'll find that there is virtually nothing there that you haven't seen before.

By the way, don't think that I'm trying to be negative about "Celebrate Alabama". I'm sure it will be great for this area. My point was for those of you in other parts of the state to not take offense that they chose Auburn/Opelika for the location. It's just already been done in one form or another in every other part of the state. Thanks for reading all of this! :)

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And by the way, that whole number of "5000 jobs" is misleading, because they don't tell you that it's 5000 jobs that pay $6.00 an hour (plus tips, if you're lucky).

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there are waay to many trees in that area, get rid of them. We want tacky sprawl from Auburn

to Atlanta. Boy I hope they have a Petco, Ross , maybe even a Family Dollar!

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Thanks for the details re: "Celebrate Virginia," shiftyallstar.

The "Celebrate Alabama" theming probably is as you stated :

The developer is just selling it as such, so people won't say, "What? Another 'lifestyle center'?

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Whatever reasons you might have for putting it on I-65 and against the location the developer chose, a post in the Columbus GA UP Forum quotes the developer spokesman as saying...

Further, I don't think it's necessarily the residents of Alabama they're trying to attract (who already have a pretty good handle on the culture and history of the state), but rather some of the drive-through tourist traffic, so the point that your estimate 3/4 of the state's roads lead to B'ham isn't all that relevant. The fact that they have a convention center included in the project also leads one to believe that the easy access to a major airport hub was important.

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It sounds like an enormous development, but I can't help thinking Montgomery would be the logical choice

for an "Alabama-themed" attraction.

The Auburn-Opelika area and just over the line in Georgia have a great

economic future mapped out, but this particular project just seems like an odd fit :

From the first link:

Generic interstate frontage in Opelika is the best place to represent this state's history and culture ?

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