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DruidCity

Tuscaloosa Developments

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an urban campus like UAB is at an advantage when it comes to student housing, for sure. you can live in the halls at UAB and be at al's or formaggio in moments. that kind of instant access isn't such an option in auburn or tuscaloosa. i'm actually in a similar situation - i may be starting a grad program at UA in the fall, but i will live in bham if i do - i have no hope of finding a full-time job in tuscaloosa that aligns with my field, but in bham there are many choices. my compromise is to commute and go to school part time, for now.

21 per cent to 25 per cent seems like a reasonable near-term goal, especially if president witt boosts the enrollment, as he intends.

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lol - well, if i end up at alabama, it will be IT / library science.

my background is in writing and print media design, though (with a couple of years in architecture school thrown in), and i'd probably shoot for a job in that line of work while i'm in school. bham has a good deal more to offer on both fronts. i wouldn't turn down a job in tuscaloosa; i just don't expect to walk into one.

Edited by convulso

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It's been nice sharing development info here the last few years, but it looks like I'll be moving from my lifelong

home of Tuscaloosa within the year, because of my brother losing his job at UA.

The city has a lot going for it in the next few years, but here's to new adventures in a new

place, as yet unknown :good:

One last development scoop (not in any media outlet yet) is that the proposed 100-acre, mixed-use,

North River Town Center project on the north bank of the river, just east of US82, plans to

include such retailers as Dick's Sporting Goods and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Edited by DruidCity

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^Damn..... Just after Midtown Village? My goodness, I hope the supply is justified by real demand. But with Tuscaloosa having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world (top couple of %) I would not be surprised. I think Alabama will add 75k new residents this year and a decent fraction of that will be in the T-town area. And combine that with 5% GDP growth and 3-4% real wage growth and you do equal additional demand; but how much I do not know.

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One question I have for people in the know about T-town........ What is with the taxes? I am hard pressed to find a similar sized city in the deep south with such high taxes (outside of the uppity suburbs of the Ham or Atl)...... I have never paid anything more than 7% sales tax before and here it is 9%, and the property taxes are not low either.

So my question is, is there a temporary tax that is being used for a special purpose (I would guess a 1% sales tax for school capital improvements) that expires some time, or are the taxes at the current rate permanently?

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Yes, I think 1 cent of the local sales tax is supposedly "temporary" to pay for the last

round of K-12 school construction. I say "supposedly" because temporary taxes have a

nasty way of hanging around indefinitely.

My goodness, I hope the (retail) supply is justified by real demand.

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One question I have for people in the know about T-town........ What is with the taxes? I am hard pressed to find a similar sized city in the deep south with such high taxes (outside of the uppity suburbs of the Ham or Atl)...... I have never paid anything more than 7% sales tax before and here it is 9%, and the property taxes are not low either.

So my question is, is there a temporary tax that is being used for a special purpose (I would guess a 1% sales tax for school capital improvements) that expires some time, or are the taxes at the current rate permanently?

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Does anyone know if there will be alumni condos going up between campus and the hospital? My daughter goes to the dreaded Univ of South Carolina and they have alumni condos sprouting up all over the area around the stadium edge of campus.

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The one closest to the hospital is http://www.crimsonplace.com/fw/main/Home-36.html

The university has also started a "Crimson Choice" program of university-related rental properties:

http://crimsonchoice.ua.edu/pages/properties.html

DruidCity, could you tell us more about the alumni condo market in T-Town?
Edited by DruidCity

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http://blog.al.com/breaking/2007/07/ua_ext...to_map_sit.html

An archaelogical dig by UA in Tuscaloosa is being extended because the remains of two antebellum dorms have been found.

The university is also going to begin a campus transit system in the Fall, which will alter traffic flow around the campus making way for buses. Work will also begin in 2008 on creating a plaza between Gorgas Library and Clark Hall. Some or all of the original dorms on the campus are expected to be beneath the area being created for the plaza, which is now occupied by Capstone Drive.

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Also, according to the Tuscaloosa News (7/7/07), several proposed local projects have applied for GO Zone

funding from the state, although probably not enough funding is available for all the proposals.

The largest local proposals (by total amount, not just the fraction that would require GOZone) :

* Hunt Oil refinery expansion, $400-500 million

* North River Town Center, $128-million mixed-use riverfront development (Note : I live near this thing,

and there is huge opposition from neighborhoods, so there might be significant changes in style or scope.)

* Municipal projects, $50 million (parking deck, Hyatt Place hotel, convention center )

* Rice Mine Loop commercial development, $28 million (Cambria Suites, Staybridge Suites, stand-alone restaurants)

* Townes of North River office buildings (24,000 sqft of space, developer asked for $4 million in

GO Zone financing, but cost of the total project hasn't been announced)

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After they split, Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler will still cooperate, including sharing some electrical systems, SUV chassis parts, safety systems, diesel technology and fuel cells. Chrysler will supply the Alabama Mercedes plant with axles beginning in 2010.

The Alabama plant is considered the cradle of Mercedes SUVs, which accounted for 28 percent of the automaker's U.S. sales last year. The plant doubled in size in 2005 with a $600 million expansion, and launched three vehicles in 2005 and 2006. Mercedes officials said no expansions are expected at the plant in the near future.

Autoweek: Teamwork in Tuscaloosa: Alabama factory at the center of Daimler, Chrysler cooperation

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Also, according to the Tuscaloosa News (7/7/07), several proposed local projects have applied for GO Zone

funding from the state, although probably not enough funding is available for all the proposals.

The largest local proposals (by total amount, not just the fraction that would require GOZone) :

* Hunt Oil refinery expansion, $400-500 million

* North River Town Center, $128-million mixed-use riverfront development (Note : I live near this thing,

and there is huge opposition from neighborhoods, so there might be significant changes in style or scope.)

* Municipal projects, $50 million (parking deck, Hyatt Place hotel, convention center )

* Rice Mine Loop commercial development, $28 million (Cambria Suites, Staybridge Suites, stand-alone restaurants)

* Townes of North River office buildings (24,000 sqft of space, developer asked for $4 million in

GO Zone financing, but cost of the total project hasn't been announced)

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I've been in Texas more than Alabama the last couple months.

Midtown is filling in pretty nicely: http://midtownvillagetuscaloosa.com/village_directory.html

I think the "grand opening" is supposed to be around March.

The Barnes & Noble and Panera Bread always have a crowd. Some of the other stores

just moved from other shopping centers in town.

The main positive of the development, though, is that it keeps the main retail focus close to the middle of town.

The proposed North River Town Center project is dead. As proposed, it would've been a big-box-anchored,

100-acre development on the river. I live near this site (which is roughly between Rice Mine Road and the river,

east of US82), and the original proposal seemed like a poor fit from the beginning. However, the local property

owners still hope to find a developer for their land, which totals 162 acres along the river. Whatever

eventually goes there will likely be one of the largest developments in the metro area. Hopefully, their revised

plans will fit better with the river, area neighborhoods, and the environment.

One residential development that seems to be doing well is the "new urbanist-inspired"

Townes of North River (not related to the above-mentioned project with a similar name).

Eventually, there will be a 20-acre "town village" section with retail, but so far, it's just houses:

http://www.townesofnorthriver.com/location.php

Overall, the local economy is hanging in there pretty well. The Hunt Oil expansion is a "go," and the $650-million

project (40 jobs) should be complete in 2010. Southern Heat Exchange (subsidiary of a New Zealand company) also announced an expansion that will add 50 or so jobs. Mercedes is phasing out the R-class, but will add a hybrid

M-class, so current employment level should stay the same.

Downtown/Riverfront, construction is coming along nicely on a 4-story, 100,000sqft, $25-million complex that will

include office space for a law firm, an accounting firm, and a bank.

Although a lot of the planned upscale condo projects have been delayed or abandoned, a few condo projects

are moving forward : http://www.thechimescondos.com/progress1.html

Assorted local projects: http://www.amason-associates.com/news.html

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Article from the Tuscaloosa News today:

CONSULTANT HIRED FOR AMPITHEATER

The city of Tuscaloosa has hired a consultant to help it decide what type of ampitheater to build, how to build it, and how to operate it once it is built. Plans call for it to be built along the riverfront next to the Hugh Thomas Bridge in downtown. The consultant is from Red Mountain Entertainment, and was part of the development of the wharf in Orange Beach.

I hadn't heard of this before but it sounds like a wonderful idea. An attraction in that part of downtown could do a lot. The area is very walkable, but I would like to see the riverwalk connect and close that void in the middle where those industries and the Army Corp of Engineers are located.

ARTICLE:Consultant hired

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^ An amphitheater would be a great addition to the riverwalk and would help draw people downtown -- hope it's done well. Are there any other plans for that part of the riverwalk?

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Thanks for taking the time to research this update, DruidCity!

Good to hear that the gap in the riverwalk will be filled. I really like the idea for the farmer's market under the bridge. Where will the parking deck/intermodal facility be built?

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