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.
The Rainbow Viaduct, one of Birmingham’s oldest bridges, has been transporting people between the south and north sides of downtown for more than 130 years! Now as we look toward its future, you’ll see a pilot project on the bridge to make it more pedestrian and cyclist friendly while we determine the best next steps.
NiEl' Atelier Grand Opening Showcases Inspirational Journey of Ukrainian Family Achieving the American Dream
In less than a year after arriving in the United States, the Vyshyvanyuk family, who recently fled from Ukraine, is now launching NiEl’ Bridal Atelier, a custom wedding dress and alterations business in Forest Park. Olena and Mykola Vyshyvanyuk, along with their three children – Viktoriia Vyshyvanyuk, Eva Vyshyvanyuk, and Loanna Vyshyvanyuk – made the courageous decision to leave Ukraine on November 7, 2022. This family’s inspiring story serves as a testament to the boundless opportunities that small businesses can achieve in Birmingham.
Are you a startup looking for a foot in the door? Did you know we have an accelerator program that helps founders begin their entrepreneurial journey right here in the Switch district? TechStars is a dynamic three-month program that empowers entrepreneurs in their quest to discover product-market fit, gain traction, and access both capital and global mentorship. Operating in more than 30 cities worldwide, Techstars added Birmingham as a host for their energy-focused cohort.