Irondale to purchase former Zamora Shrine Center

Zamora
Zamora Shrine Center in Irondale (Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

The Irondale City Council unanimously voted to authorize the purchase of the former Zamora Shrine Center at this week’s council meeting. 

Seen by travelers on Interstate 459, the beloved event complex at 3521 Ratliff Road in Irondale, was the home of the Zamora Shriners from 1985 to 2020.  Two years ago, the Masonic organization sold the popular event space for $3.5 million to First Carolina Holdings LLC.

Building Community in Irondale

Irondale Mural
New Irondale Mural on the side of City Hall. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

“The reason we were interested in purchasing the property is because for the last 19 months we’ve been talking about building a community in the city of Irondale,” Mayor James D. Stewart of Irondale told Bham Now. “However, we do not have a community place to meet. When Zamora became available, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to develop that 105 acres — to be something that all of the citizens in Irondale could use to build a  “community” in our city.”

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Front of the Zamora Shrine Center. ( Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Notable for its Moorish-influenced, gold colored onion dome and brightly-colored architectural design, the once popular space includes:

  • 57,359 square-foot meeting hall and events center
  • 2,500-seat arena
  • 500-space parking lot

Over the years Zamora hosted a variety of events — local high school proms, the annual Birmingham Feline Fanciers CFA Cat show and the Tragic City Rollers.

What’s Next

Beyond the authority to make the purchase, there is still a lot of work to be done, according to Mayor Stewart.

“We are going to engage someone to develop a master plan for the entire property by receiving feedback from the citizens to determine what will go on that site. We want to make sure the 13,497 people who live in Irondale  have a voice in what’s going to happen in their city because we feel that this is going to be life changing and will improve the quality of life of everyone.“

Stay tuned Irondale. Watch this space for news about upcoming  public meetings and ways residents can get involved.

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Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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