BREAKING: Birmingham amphitheater funding clears first step

Amphitheater
A rendering of the amphitheater in North Birmingham. (Direct Communications)

Last week, Birmingham erupted in equal parts excitement and frustration with the announcement of a proposed $50 million amphitheater in North Birmingham. On Monday, October 24, local leaders reached an agreement with the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau to support the amphitheater—clearing the first step in the process.

Refresher on the North Birmingham Amphitheater

Birmingham Amphitheater
A rendering of the amphitheater in North Birmingham. (Originally shared by WVTM 13)

In case you missed it, a $50 million amphitheater was proposed for North Birmingham last week. Located at the The Star at Uptown—a massive mixed-use development located at the former Carraway Hospital campus—the amphitheater will:

  • Include between 8,500 to 9,000 seats.
  • Be funded by $5 million each from Jefferson County, the city of Birmingham, the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) and Live Nation, Inc. The remainder of the funds would come from a $30 million bond, paid over the next 30 years.

However, the $50 million amphitheater could not move forward without an agreement between the BJCC and the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), in which the CVB would relinquish hotel tax payments from the BJCC. The board of the Convention and Visitors Bureau today approved the agreement, allowing the BJCC to retain those funds to support an amphitheater.

“Bringing this new asset to our community will be a big win, and having a full range of stages and venues will allow us to bring more visitors from outside of Jefferson County to experience our great amenities in our city and county. We are happy that we were able to reach this agreement and move this project forward.”

John Oros, President and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau

What Birmingham thinks about the project

Birmingham Amphitheater
A rendering of the amphitheater in North Birmingham. (Originally shared by WVTM 13)

As soon as the proposed amphitheater was announced, people from Birmingham and surrounding municipalities had many thoughts. Some people loved the idea of opening a new amphitheater closer to downtown Birmingham, while others hated the prospect of losing Oak Mountain Amphitheater. Others are worried the proposed amphitheater will compete with the recently-opened Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville.

Bham Now recently polled our audience on LinkedIn to hear their thoughts. Of 719 responses:

  • 43% of responders approve of the amphitheater.
  • 22% of responders do not approve.
  • 13% of responders are undecided.
  • 18% of responders have not yet heard of the project.

Similarly, Bham Now’s audience on Facebook had a lot to say—sharing nearly 500 comments on the article about the proposed amphitheater. Here are a few examples:

Note: On October 20, the City of Pelham shared on Facebook that Live Nation had reconfirmed its commitment to the Oak Mountain Amphitheater, stating: “Live Nation enjoys bringing shows to music fans in the greater Birmingham area. Birmingham is a vibrant live entertainment destination and that is why we are exploring additional opportunities in the region. We will operate and book Oak Mountain Amphitheatre for the 2023 season and are still evaluating the future of the venue. We are appreciative of the great partnership we have with the City of Pelham.

What’s next?

Birmingham Amphitheater
A rendering of the amphitheater in North Birmingham. (Originally shared by WVTM 13)

With the approval of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, local leaders will continue to work together to move forward on the amphitheater project. According to a press release, an amphitheater has long been discussed as part of the plans for redeveloping Carraway into The Star at Uptown. 

“This is a great opportunity to bring a new entertainment asset that will serve our residents and bring visitors to Birmingham to support our local businesses. This will also be an important to the overall revitalization of the Carraway property, which is a key priority for neighborhoods in north Birmingham.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin

Corporate Realty—the Birmingham firm that is overseeing the transformation of the Carraway Hospital campus—said many partners were required to make the new entertainment venue a reality.

“Today is about community and leadership coming together with a common voice. A project of the size, scope and scale has every element: Quality and attainable housing, retail, hospitality, medical services and parking assets. With the urban anchor now in a position to move forward, this marque entertainment facility will draw people from all over our region and showcase the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County, enhancing the quality of life for our residents, reviving a once-thriving area and creating a destination people will want to visit.”

Robert Simon, CEO of Corporate Realty

Excited to see the amphitheater project move forward? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know what you think!

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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