REV Birmingham turns FIVE this month! To celebrate, we are looking back at all the awesome things Birmingham has accomplished since 2012. We’ll be sharing five-year Birmingham flashbacks throughout the month of November – in our newsletter and on REV’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Stay tuned: We’ll share our neighborhood flashbacks in next week’s newsletter. We invite you to share your favorite memories on social media using #BHMflashback.
Since the strategic merger of Operation New Birmingham and Main Street Birmingham in 2012, REV has been partnering with local stakeholders, the business community and the City of Birmingham to create vibrant, sustainable business districts. REV’s staff works one-on-one with business owners on recruitment and retention strategies and helps developers understand incentives and navigate issues related to revitalization projects.
REV has worked with building owners and developers on a number of downtown projects to give Birmingham’s historic architecture new life. These projects include the Florentine building, the Redmont Hotel, Whitmire Lofts, the Elyton Hotel, Thomas Jefferson Tower and others. REV also assisted with capital access for the redevelopment of the Pizitz building, which was built in 1923 as a department store. The building now houses a mix of high-end apartments, a chic co-working space, and a food hall featuring local chefs who create delicious international dishes.
Speaking of the food hall, we hope you’ve dropped by the REVeal Kitchen stall in The Pizitz to support local culinary startups. REVeal Kitchen is a restaurant launchpad operated by REV that helps aspiring chefs learn the ins and outs of the business. The stall is designed to rotate every few months with new culinary graduates of Create Birmingham’s CO.STARTERS program. REVeal Kitchen’s first tenant was Tropicaleo, a Puerto Rican restaurant concept from Maria Isabel Medina and Gabe Marrero that will celebrate its Avondale brick-and-mortar grand opening this weekend.
Now in REVeal Kitchen is Chef Kimberly Brock, serving up healthy and delicious meals with her whole fruit and vegetable-based restaurant, Bitty’s Living Kitchen. Chef Brock officially set up shop in REVeal in August of this year. You can follow her journey on the Bitty’s Living Kitchen website and social media.
Another downtown favorite: The rainbow-colored Birmingham Lights installations beneath the railroad tracks at 14th, 18th, 19th and 20th Streets. The first installation, designed by artist Bill Fitzgibbons, made its debut in 2013, injecting color and light into a formerly forgettable sub-railroad tunnel that connects the north and south sides of downtown. It was quickly followed by installations by SSOE Group’s John Gill at the three remaining sites. The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham’s Community Catalyst Fund made the project possible.
Finally, we can’t talk about downtown Birmingham without mentioning our favorite green bikes! Zyp Bikeshare, an initiative of REV, was born in October 2015, giving people a new way to get around the city. Since then, we’ve had 124,577 bike checkouts and 157,254 miles traveled by bike. Here’s to many more!
If you believe that Birmingham is a better place to live, work and play than it was five years ago, and you believe that REV has been a part of that, please help us achieve our $50,000 anniversary campaign goal. No gift is too small; no matter the amount, we’ll put your donation to work for the city.
This Friday, May 20th, we will be having a (20th) Street Party (which you can read more about here) to celebrate the end of our Birmingham Green Refresh! While this certainly calls for a celebration, the party doesn’t stop there. We will still be adding some finishing touches to the street after the (20th) Street Party. These additional touches will help make Birmingham’s main street more vibrant, interactive, and efficient! Additions will include smart trash cans, free libraries, street performers, and more!
We’ve talked about sports, but downtown has so much more to offer! Downtown Birmingham has so many experiences in store for you, which can also turn into life-long memories. And lucky for you, we’ve created a tool to make all that exploring so much easier!
We are approaching the finish line for the 20th Street Refresh, which calls for a celebration – and you’re invited! The City Center Business Improvement District (BID), funded by downtown property owners, is partnering with the City of Birmingham and REV Birmingham to celebrate a refreshed Birmingham Green. Come join the party on May 20th from 4 to 8 p.m (with a special celebration happening at 6 p.m.)!