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Accentuating the positives of the Magic City on a Friday

For all of the times that we claim that “it could be better” or “well, (insert issue here) will never be solved,” there are many things that transplants and natives have to be thankful for in Birmingham, Alabama. Things have definitely picked up around here.

I’ve been in several conversations this week about the future of the city. I believe at this time last year we were also taking into account what was about to happen as Birmingham re-entered the scene if you will. Taking a cue out of our friend Charles’ post about what he loves about Birmingham, we’re going to attempt to create a list of 101 things that we like about the city. It’s going up either Sunday or Monday (since we here at the Ramblings office have not as of yet made the home office very festive).

In anticipation of the list, I encourage you to visit, and pass along, this incredible article written about the Magic City that has been published in today’s New York Times.

Birmingham Has a Lot on Its Plates These Days, The New York Times, December 15, 2006

This article written throughout the past two months, delves into one of the things that makes living in Birmingham great (as well as makes it hard to get back into shape); food. It also talks about several other positives in the arts and culture scene in town. Some of you may have already seen the article due to links from Charles and others that are proud of the area. I’d encourage you to send it to someone who doesn’t know anything about the city to see if we can get a few more folks to come and seize the dream.

Tell your friends that they’ll have plenty of options insofar as places to stay by the end of 2008. There are several long time hotels that are undergoing extensive remodeling efforts, including the Tutwiler downtown and the Pickwick in Five Points South. Add to the mix a new Residence Inn to be located in the heart of the UAB Southside area and a Hyatt brand property to be completed in late 2008 on the site of the former Tom Williams Cadillac showroom. These hotels will increase the number of committable rooms that the CVB can say are available for conferences looking to the city as an option, as reported during yesterday’s ONB monthly breakfast briefing. There was a claim by one of the attendees that REVPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) was up 16% for the area this year. The industry experts are claiming that it will continue to rise an additional 9% in the coming year nationwide, the highest since before 9/11. The talk leaned towards the untapped potential of the region, especially good at a time when people are talking more about the negatives associated with the city than its attributes.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to an article in today’s Birmingham News:

City hotel projects edge to $100 million, The Birmingham News, December 15, 2006

The future for hotels rooms could be very bright indeed as the SWAC Championship, the Bowl continue to grow and UAB football continues to expand its fan base. A sustained base from which to grow a potentially exciting tourism industry does exist in town as well, with our local civil rights district recently given national designation and current awards received for the restoration of Vulcan Park. Every once in a while it’s nice to accentuate the positive. It also doesn’t hurt to have lived in the land of Mercer where that adage can be followed (or to have lived down the block from his former home).

If any of you have votes on the good things in town (and no, you cannot vote for the radio stations), post a comment and we’ll get this thing up.

Enjoy the weekend everybody.


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