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The Ramble: Heat wave brings surge in development activity news to B’ham


05242006 Catalyst GET IN GEAR scene1.jpg

Pictures, get your pictures here…

Pictures from the Catalyst Get in Gear event at Sloss Docks last night are now available for viewing on my photostream page, courtesy of Smugmug. There are not as many as there are in the set that Curtis Palmer posted earlier today, however it gives another set of images from the event. Let me know what you think of the new site and its options.

Idol fever hits its zenith; we'll know sometime around 9…

The theme throughout the city today seems to be hope. There are quite a few people that hope that Taylor Hicks is successful in his bid to be the next American Idol. Some of them will be gathering at the BJCC beginning at 4:30 p.m (click on Events Calendar). Others will be gathering at WorkPlay as I mentioned in my early morning post. I also mentioned that I would be providing some coverage from their viewing party, beginning after their regularly scheduled WorkPlay Wednesday activities.

Places change, but the people stay the same

There is also hope in the announcement made that Restaurant G will be leaving its location in One Federal Place to take over the restaurant space in the historic Tutwiler Hotel as part of its multi-million dollar renovation come fall of this year. A new name will also result, to be announced in a few weeks. Phrases used in coverage the announcement, covered in both The Birmingham News and the Birmingham Business Journal, lead people to believe that Starbucks could become the next tenant announced to take up residency in the former apartment building turned hotel. The relocation of G to this downtown hotspot guarantees that the stage is set for a new restaurant to enter the downtown scene. The business that chooses this spot will benefit from the project announced by Melaver in March that has been discussed here as well. The renewed development activity in downtown is expanding as well.

Development fever is catching…

There are many that would not consider anything south of the railroad tracks downtown. If anything, this man made dividing line simply separates the “old” downtown from its newer, more health driven section. Additional developments advanced as a result of a vote by the Birmingham City Council, enabling potential development on the former Tom Williams automotive site. The construction of a limited service hotel, coupled with increased residential development and an ever expanding set of hospitals, may finally provide the visual link necessary for the entire area to be viewed as one downtown. The Railroad Reservation Park will serve as icing on the cake if you will.

And spreading…

The bug is also carrying throughout the city, for various reasons. A park proposal is moving forward on the east side of town as well as plans for the world’s largest retailer to create a larger presence in town on the city’s east side, bringing with it renewed interest in the surrounding commercial area. Hopefully some of that will also spill into the neighborhood commercial districts surrounding it as well, providing some relief for small business owners.

and spreading…

Word on the street is that there will also be some new smaller retailers providing services to the Five Points West area soon. And development in the Ensley community, also posted about recently, leads to the promise of a return to prominence for the Magic City. Hopefully you’ll take a look around and notice the changes coming and take a closer look at the positives happening in our region. Maybe you’ll even pass along a lead or two to your friendly neighborhood blogger. Any comments?

I’ll see you tonight,


N.B. All articles linked to in this post were published in today’s Birmingham News, unless otherwise referenced.

Published inAmerican Idol: Season 5civic/service organizationspeopleThe Ramblesurban issuesurban parks