Imagine arriving downtown through a grand central station that takes your breath away with its Beaux-Arts architecture and authentic glamour. That’s what it was like in 1909 through the 50s when Birmingham’s terminal station featured a 7,600-square-foot central dome, intricate tile work, marble walls, chandeliers, and, of course, the iconic original Magic City sign outside. The terminal acted as a distinct and beautiful front door to Birmingham (that we still are talking about all these years later!).
The doors that welcome you downtown are different now. The terminal building was demolished in 1969 to make way for the Red Mountain Expressway to connect the surrounding suburbs to the city. Today, the exits from the expressway and other major interstates like I-20/59 and I-65 are the gateways that greet visitors and residents.
(Photo inside The Terminal Building in 1909)
When you arrive at a district’s door, first impressions are formed and affect how you view the overall place. Once you’re inside the district’s core, the spaces and experiences and other people ultimately set your opinion of that place – how you’ll talk about it and whether you’ll be back.
The goal is to keep attracting more people and new businesses. Creating jobs, filling vacant spaces with retail and restaurants, and promoting “city living” will help grow Birmingham into a city of possibility where anyone can realize their dreams.
As we begin 2023, that “door and core” philosophy is influencing our thinking about how we carry out our mission to create vibrant commercial districts in Downtown and Woodlawn. We know that REV’s team is good at creating high-quality places, preserving historic buildings and avenues, generating inclusive economic growth, casting the overall vision, and setting good first impressions of Birmingham. We are working toward a more inclusive and thriving city – and we’ve developed a three-year strategy that draws on our strengths to help our focus districts get there.
Our efforts have already helped bring new life into Birmingham. REV has helped developers, small and large raise more than 400 million dollars in development capital, fill more than 180 vacancies, and work with thousands of startups. And we aren’t stopping anytime soon!
Birmingham continues to hit new strides every day, and it’s only possible with the help of Yaysayers like you! Adding vibrancy, magic, and excitement to the city is easier when there are people who believe in our work and want a brighter Birmingham.
Our values and mission will remain the same in 2023. REV is executing our strategic plan to support small businesses, create great experiences, and strengthen historic places. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for The Magic City this year, and we hope you follow along with our journey.
We are so excited to announce that the Woodlawn Street Market is here to stay in 2023! The tenth season will kick off April 1st on 55th place, featuring over 60 vendors. The WSM has been a staple for the Woodlawn Community for years and has helped stimulate entrepreneurship in The Magic City.
Have you tried Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, located right outside of downtown? With over eight different flavors to choose from, NBNKC is the perfect snack to satisfy your sweet OR salty tooth. However, NBNKC is more than just popcorn; Tanesha Sims-Summers, owner and founder, believes “We make Birmingham sweeter one kernel at a time.
Meet Lauren and Marina Moore! These sisters have lived at The Watts residents for the past two years. Learn why the Moores choose to live downtown rather than stay in the suburbs.