Uptown (originally developed as The Marketplace) is a hotel and entertainment district adjacent to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in downtown Birmingham. The $70 million project was developed by National Ventures Group LLC of Atlanta, Georgia with $57 million in public bonds issued by the BJCC authority and backed by an extension of the city's existing 14% lodging tax, with no additional incentives from the city. In October 2010 the Birmingham City Council approved a measure to extend the city's 3% lodging tax for 30 years to help fund the project.
The project includes a 294-room Westin Birmingham hotel with a Todd English P.U.B. restaurant and Octane coffee shop, and space for as many as 20 restaurants, nightclubs, retailers and other tenants. In November 2011 Bayer Properties announced that the 60,622-square-foot entertainment district could connect to the BJCC and Railroad Park by "green ways" or bike paths. The district itself would cost $15-20 million to build and would feature rooftop bars and other attractions.
Keith Design of Birmingham was the architect for the entertainment district. Brasfield & Gorrie was lead contractor, along with minority-owned partners A. G. Gaston Construction and Monumental Construction. The Westin hotel opened in February 2013, followed by the entertainment district tenants.
On March 17, 2015 the Birmingham City Council voted to allow the Uptown district, including the BJCC, to become the city's first "entertainment district" with visitors allowed to carry drinks outside.
- 2221 Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard North:
- parking deck
- 2301 Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard North (north building):
- 2311 Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard North (south building):
- The Forge (BJCC), an unbuilt proposal for the same site
- DeButts, Jimmy (March 26, 2010) "Lodging tax extension eyed to spur entertainment district." Birmingham Business Journal
- Tomberlin, Michael (May 2, 2010) "$70 million hotel, retail plan proposed near Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (May 10, 2010) "Birmingham Mayor William Bell to unveil hotel, retail BJCC plans." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (June 9, 2010) "Developer shows new sketches of proposed Westin Hotel." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (October 19, 2010) "Birmingham City Council approves hotel funding, gives initial approval on stadium." The Birmingham News
- Williams, Roy L. (January 5, 2011) "Contractors named for Birmingham entertainment district hotel." The Birmingham News
- Stewart, Sherrel (January 24, 2011) "Stage set for groundbreaking for hotel, entertainment center." The Birmingham News
- Tomberline, Michael (April 6, 2011) "Birmingham design panel approves Westin Hotel and entertainment district project." The Birmingham News
- Poe, Ryan (November 15, 2011) "Bayer provides more details on entertainment district." Birmingham Business Journal
- Carlton, Bob (August 11, 2014) "Cantina Laredo Mexican restaurant will open Aug. 19 in Birmingham's Uptown entertainment district." The Birmingham News
- Natta, Andre (March 17, 2015) "Uptown becomes Birmingham’s first open container district" The Terminal