Alabama House passes car-rental tax bill for BJCC stadium

Legacy Stadium at BJCC.
Birmingham, Alabama, BJCC, stadium
A rendering of Birmingham’s proposed new stadium, via BJCC

With the passing of a car-rental tax to help fund a new $174 million stadium in Birmingham, the state nudges another piece of the financial puzzle into place.

Yesterday the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill to levy a 3 percent tax on auto leases and rentals in Jefferson County. The tax will help fund the new stadium and renovations to the BJCC. It’s estimated to generate $3 million a year.

The renovations and the new, open-air stadium are projected to cost around $300 million. There are many moving parts here, but so far the funding is falling into place.

There’s lots of debate on this potentially game-changing project for Birmingham.

Birmingham, alabama, BJCC, master plan
Another rendering from the BJCC’s updated master plan. Via BJCC.
Not A Slam Dunk

The bill passed 14-3 Tuesday, but it was “fiercely contested.”

The AP reports that not everyone agrees with the mayor’s assessment.

From Mallory Moench, written for the Associated Press:

“Black Democrat representatives from Birmingham argued that most cars are rented by low-income city residents who can’t afford their own vehicles to get to work. They said Birmingham residents would not see direct economic benefits and instead take on debt that cripples communities.”

Birmingham, Alabama, Randall, Woodfin
Photo by Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Mayor Randall Woodfin said that the project will generate millions of dollars and create jobs.

“The action the Alabama House took today puts us one step closer to Birmingham having state-of-the art facilities to better compete for tourism, sporting and entertainment business,” Woodfin said in a statement.

“In addition, expanding and renovating the BJCC will generate millions of dollars over the next decade for the city that will go to neighborhood revitalization.

“This public/private partnership between the city, county, BJCC, UAB and the corporate community will create jobs for residents in Birmingham, and be a significant shot in the arm for our economy for decades to come.”

Birmingham, Alabama, Randall Woodfin, stadium, meeting, BJCC
Mayor Randall Woodfin speaks to the Birmingham City Council about financing a new stadium and upgrades to the BJCC, via WBRC.
Paying For The Stadium

The Birmingham City Council recently passed a resolution of intent to pay $3 million over 30 years for the project, but that’s just one piece of the financing puzzle.

The council has not given their final approval, so keep in mind that there is quite a way to go before a new stadium is built.

Birmingham City Council, Birmingham, Alabama, budget, 2018
Birmingham City Council, via Facebook

According to the resolution, the council presented these stipulations:

  • The city council approves and enters into a mutually acceptable agreement with the BJCC
  • The BJCC completes  a debt offering in 2018 to provide funding for the facility
  • Construction begins on or before Dec. 21, 2018
UAB Blazer Kalin Heath
Kalin Heath via UAB Football
More Hitches

There’s the city’s money, the county’s money and the car rental tax, but what else will it take to make the estimated $300 million deal happen?

  •   Money from the BJCC Authority ($10.7 million per year for 30 years)

  • Money from UAB ($4 million per year for 10 years via sponsorships and/or naming rights

  • UAB would also rent the facility on a longterm basis, according to the BJCC

Oh, and those for the project want it completed before the World Games in 2020. That’s quite a bundle of deadlines. Will all the pieces fall into place, Birmingham? Do you want them to?