4 ways the BIG Partnership aims to improve your life and attract investors to Birmingham

Birmingham Skyline
Big things are in store for our Magic City. Picture by Jon Eastwood for BhamNow.

The city of Birmingham has made major strides these past few years. There’s no denying that big things are coming to the Magic City!

Last year, Mayor Randall Woodfin introduced the city to the Birmingham Inclusive Growth (BIG) Partnership. This city-inspired, community-focused initiative aims to improve the quality of residents’ lives and produce tangible returns for investors.

1—First Things First. Here Are Some Useful Terms to Know

  • BIG: No, I’m not using all caps to show emphasis. BIG stands for “Birmingham Inclusive Growth”.
  • Opportunity Zone: low-income areas nominated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury in which investors can invest capital gains and receive tax preferential treatment.
  • Opportunity Funds: New investment vehicles that invest at least 90% of capital gains in Opportunity Zones.

2—So What is This BIG Partnership?

Los Angeles Mayor
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin flanked by Mayor Stephen Benjamin(L) and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles in front of the American Life Building site of an Opportunity Zone. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

The BIG Partnership is a public-private initiative led by the Investment Board, Community Investment Board, and the City of Birmingham. The (CIB) is an 11-member team of representatives from local districts. Think of them as a check and balance system to ensure that outside investors aren’t causing gentrification. The overall goal is to improve Birmingham’s residents’ quality of life while providing tangible returns to investors. It’s a win-win for everyone!

This partnership was created to help identify innovative projects in the works that have the potential to attract investment into Birmingham’s 99 neighborhoods.

The initiative will take advantage of the city’s 24 Opportunity Zones. It’s important to note that Opportunity Zones don’t guarantee funding or grants. The tax incentives included in an Opportunity Zone attract diverse investors to some of Birmingham’s local projects.

Through the BIG Partnership, we will be able to identify local projects that enhance the quality of life of our residents. We will also be able to market to national investors, who would have never known about the opportunities in Birmingham.

Randall Woodfin, Mayor of Birmingham

3—A Sneak Peek at Birmingham’s Projects That Are Part of the BIG Initiative

Northside Park

Northside Park Project
The development will transform the northeastern part of downtown Birmingham. Photo via BIG Partnership.

Located just a few blocks from the future site of Protective Stadium, Northside Park will be a mixed-use entertainment district. Corporate Realty is the developer and wishes to introduce retail, dining, housing, hotel and economic development opportunities to the area.

Want to learn more about the project and what will happen to Carraway Hospital? We’ve got you covered.

Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport

birmingham airport opportunity zone
The busiest airport in the state is about to get even busier. Photo via BIG Partnership.

Did you know that Birmingham is one of the few cities in the U.S. to have an airport established as an Opportunity Zone? By doing this, investments are able to flow in and around the airport to grow Alabama’s largest airport’s competitive advantage.

City leaders plan to redevelop over 765 acres of land around the airport. The plan will include commercial and industrial development. If the airport and its surrounding areas grow, so does our wonderful city.

The Frank Nelson Project

Rendering of Frank Nelson Project
One of the largest historic buildings in Birmingham is about to get a BIG upgrade. Photo via BIG Partnership.

Developers, Orchestra Partners, are looking to give one of Birmingham’s largest historic buildings a well-deserved upgrade. Located in the heart of downtown, the 10-story building offers 118,000 square feet of office and retail space.

Orchestra Partners are the same people who brought The Woolworth and Founders Station so you know this development will be great! About 30% of the building has already been leased so act quickly if you want to get your hands on a bomb location for your business.

Hardware Park

Hardware Park
Matt Fitzgerald and Arnar Thors in front of their development, Hardware Park. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now.

Hardware Park utilizes the historic Long-Lewis building as a co-working and collaborative technology space. It’s a tech startup’s dream. Tenants work together on projects and share state-of-the-art equipment to save time and money. 3D printers? They have that. Plasma cutting tables and robotics? Yep. They’ve got those too.

Hardware Park offers space for engineers, problem-solvers, and manufacturers to collaborate under one roof. They also provide training and the industry expertise needed to grow a start-up. The company is always looking for new entrepreneurs, companies, and investors to join in on the fun.

Rising Tide Affordable Housing

Rising Tide Housing
Rising Tide aims to provide affordable workforce single-family homes in Birmingham. Photo via BIG Partnership.

Established in 2014, Rising Tide Homes LLC purchases, renovates, rents, manages and sells single-family homes. They focus on central Alabama’s low to moderate-income market.

Rising Tide is vertically-integrated which is rare when it comes to the residential single-family rental market. This is just a fancy way of saying they don’t need to pay a middle man because they own their own construction crews and leasing agents. The company hopes to make homeownership obtainable for more Birmingham residents.

Introducing Grocery Stores into Western and Eastern Birmingham

Grocery Store Project for east and west birmingham
More grocery stores = fewer food deserts. Photo via BIG Partnership.

The City of Birmingham is working to find sites for grocery store investments around the city. The search for investors, developers, and grocers that may want to expand in the metro area is on.

City leaders are exploring the idea of introducing a grocery store to Crossplex Village in Western Birmingham. They are still looking for potential sites in Eastern Birmingham so be on the lookout for those plans to unfold.

4—How You Can Get Involved With the BIG Partnership

What do you want to see in Birmingham? What about in your own community? The BIG Partnership needs your input to be successful. Why? No one knows your community better than you!

BIG Partnership leaders hope to harness the opinions of 500 residents by June 1, 2020 to help them guide projects.

You can sign up by clicking here and take their survey so your voice can be heard.

What are you most excited to see come to Birmingham in 2020? Let us know on social @BhamNow.

  • Chaise is a brunch-loving Content Producer and helps manage the Bham Now Instagram account.