BJCC stadium

From Bhamwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The BJCC stadium is a proposed open-air stadium to be constructed adjacent to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex north of I-59/20 in downtown Birmingham. It would host home games for the UAB Blazers football team as well as the annual Birmingham Bowl and Magic City Classic football games.

The stadium, projected to cost $174 million, was proposed as part of a larger $300 million renovation and expansion of the BJCC that was outlined in a master plan commissioned from Populous architects and released in August 2016. The plan followed a long sequence of domed stadium proposals, many of which were described as "enclosed multi-purpose stadiums", which would have been able to host large indoor exhibitions and events in addition to sports.

In his 2017 State of the City address, Birmingham mayor William Bell alluded to a $200-225 projected cost for an open air stadium and a $450 million-plus cost for an enclosed stadium, which he would prefer. He hoped to secure a public-private partnership to finance the project and said that an announcement could be expected "fairly soon." Bell's defeat in the 2017 Birmingham municipal election effectively ended those efforts.

By the end of 2017, the BJCC Authority projected being able to cover an additional $10.7 million per year from its own revenues to service new debt for improvements. The Jefferson County Commission voted in January 2018 to commit to $1 million a year for 30 years as its contribution to debt service on the proposed new facility. New Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin requested that the City Council commit $3 million a year for 30 years as an investment in revenue-generating infrastructure. The Birmingham City Council approved that proposal, with a stipulation that "revenues" from the BJCC expansion would go into a Birmingham Neighborhood Revitalization Fund, on March 27. UAB and corporate partners have also committed $4 million a year, part of which includes leasing the stadium, along with sponsorship deals and naming rights.

In consultation with the BJCC Authority, one of the primary goals for Populous' 2016 Master Plan was to "investigate the development of a 45,000 seat open air NCAA football stadium to host UAB and multiple bowl games as well as the Magic City Classic", and for the stadium to be, "capable of accommodating 10,000 additional temporary seats." As illustrated in their resulting report, the new stadium would be located on the four-block area between Richard Arrington Jr Boulevard North and 12th Avenue North, and between 22nd and 24th Streets. Its main entrance, facing south, would open onto a large open "event plaza" flanked by retail/restaurant strips serving as an extension of the Uptown entertainment district. Luxury suites and press areas would be clustered on the west side of the stadium, accessed from a "VIP entrance" and from a sky bridge connecting to the BJCC's East Exhibition Hall near the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The 10,000 additional "temporary" seats would extend above the top rows of the 45,000-seat concept. An image distributed by UAB after the Birmingham City Council vote featured a more detailed rendering of a proposed stadium for Colorado State University superimposed in front of Birmingham's skyline under the heading "Dreams Become Reality".

Financing for the stadium and arena expansion was obtained through the BJCC's sale of bonds on July 18, 2018. Ground was broken for the new facility on Thursday, December 13, 2018.

References