By: Nick Willis, PNC regional president for north and central Alabama

There were several events precipitating the 2007 to 2009 Great Recession, but the role they played in it wasn’t fully understood until years later with the benefit of hindsight. It was that hindsight that helped us better prepare for the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, PNC firmly believes The Value of Downtown Birmingham report and the actions taken because of the conclusions drawn from it, will future proof Birmingham, including as it prepares for its post-pandemic recovery.

The Value of Downtown Report – Why It Matters

The importance of a healthy and vibrant downtown to the economic development of a city and region has been studied many times, always with similar results: A downtown that is vibrant and teeming with green spaces, culture, good restaurants and housing for all socio-economic spheres creates a circular economy where investment leads to jobs, which lead to income, which leads to additional investment and so on.

Birmingham has come a long way in revitalizing its downtown, and The Value of Downtown Birmingham report underscores these efforts. It also gives us the tools to understand the gaps we need to address as we continue efforts to create the sort of downtown ideal that invites more investment and economic development.

This is important, because as the survey shows, as downtown Birmingham goes, so too does the rest of the city, and the region, especially when it comes to employment. The survey highlights downtown’s status as a key employment center, indicating that downtown boasts just 5% of the population, but 63,000 jobs or 37% of the city’s jobs and 13% of those in the region

It also illustrates that downtown is key to Birmingham’s post-pandemic economic recovery. Thanks to the report, we can see retrospectively that downtown Birmingham experienced a steep decline in finance-related jobs during the Great Recession, but thanks to the diversification of its job market with healthcare, food and accommodation jobs, it bounced back more quickly than the rest of the city. In fact, jobs in downtown grew nearly 5% during the years of Great Recession while the rest of the city added no net new jobs. This clearly demonstrates that continuing efforts to diversify downtown Birmingham’s industries will allow it to absorb any shockwaves that result post-pandemic, or because of future events.

For business leaders, there can be no clearer call to action. Investment in downtown is an investment in our future.

PNC is committed to Downtown Birmingham

PNC is proud to have shown our own commitment to downtown starting in 2012 when we entered the market – a commitment which has never been stronger than it is today with our expanded presence in Alabama.

You’ll often hear us say that PNC is a Main Street bank. That means we deliver our strategy locally and as a result, we are focused on the best interests of local stakeholders, customers and communities.

REV Birmingham shares a similar focus and that’s why we are proud to support it as the presenting sponsor of The Value of Downtown Birmingham report. With REV Birmingham’s help, we can both future proof and solidify downtown’s status as a place to play, live, work and invest, because PNC knows that when our Birmingham Main Street grows, so too will we.

PNC is the presenting sponsor of the Value of Downtown Birmingham

Download the full report and take in all the latest data from Downtown Birmingham!

Value of Downtown Report


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