Vestavia Hills passes plan to create a “new gateway” on Montgomery Highway

Vestavia Hills
Recently shuttered Days Inn and Bar 31 in Vestavia Hills. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The Vestavia Hills City Council passed a measure to purchase and demolish the former Days Inn and Bar 31 making way for plans to enhance the town’s “gateway” at the southern end of Montgomery Highway. 

The vote by the council was unanimous.

Improving the South End of Highway31—a Vestavia Hills Strategic Initiative

“As a part of your (city council) annual strategic planning, you said as a strategic initiative, do something to improve the parts of the south end of Highway 31,” stated Vestavia Hills City Manager Jeff Downes, addressing the council. “It was a key component in your strategic plan. From a staff perspective, we took it to heart.”

Even before the strategic plan, Downes and the city’s staff had been seeking ways to improve the southern end of Montgomery Highway—an area he called a “gateway” to the city.

“Nearly two years of efforts have gone into exploring what is the best way to potentially put under city control the future of our arguably most important business corridor, the one that generates more revenue than any other. What is being presented to you tonight is the conclusion of this effort,” added Downes. 

The Council passed the measure which will do the following:

  • Purchase the Days Inn property at $3.6 million plus closing costs
  • Demolish the hotel and bar at cost of  approximately $385,000 (it will go through a competitive bid process)
  • Begin a public process by the city to seek a higher and better use of the property

The initiative is funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this sale, this purchase by the city will improve this area and will serve as a catalyst for new development in other areas,” said City Councilor Kimberly Cook. “It will lift all the businesses in this area. I’m very excited about the purchase.”  

Additional Redevelopment Nearby

Vestavia Hills
Former Motor Lodge property on Montgomery highway in Vestavia Hills. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Along with the development of the The Days Inn property there are plans to redevelop the nearby former Motor Lodge site by Ward Neely and John Michael Bodnar, a local developer.  

Bodnar told Bham Now last month that they are looking at multiple popular tenants for the location including Waldo’s Chicken and Big Bad Breakfast. 

Tell us what you think of Vestavia Hills’ plans to re-invigorate their southern end of Montgomery Highway. Tag us at @bhamnow.

Pat Byington
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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