The The Star at Uptown Amphitheater, also called Carraway Amphitheater is a planned $50 million, 9,000-seat outdoor concert venue first proposed in September 2022 for Birmingham's Norwood neighborhood. The venue would serve as an anchor for Corporate Realty's "The Star at Uptown", a mixed-use redevelopment of the former Carraway Hospital campus
Based on prior negotiations, the amphitheater, if built, would be owned by the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority and operated by LiveNation of Beverly Hills, California. It would replace LiveNation's 12,000-seat Oak Mountain Amphitheater in Pelham, which the company would put on the market after 2023 with a restrictive covenant against its continued use for live music performances.
The proposal was first introduced to the public by Jimmie Stephens at a regular meeting of the Jefferson County Commission. He told the group that the project would require a $5 million up-front commitment from the county, to be matched by the City of Birmingham, the BJCC and LiveNation. The remaining $30 million would be raised through public bonds issued by the BJCC and financed by venue proceeds, and from revenues generated from payments in lieu of tax (PILOT) earmarked to the BJCC from businesses in the Uptown entertainment district. Under an agreement between the BJCC and the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, its revenues from hotel taxes, amounting to approximately $900,000 per year, would also be transferred to the BJCC bond fund, offset by a $3 million "bridge" grant to the CVB from the State of Alabama.
Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin and Alabama State Representative Jabo Waggoner, who served on the CVB board, soon went on record supporting the project. County Commissioner LaShunda Scales criticized the project as a low priority for residents compared to sewer bills and crime.
LiveNation projected that the amphitheater would generate a gross annual revenue of $7 million from ticket sales, assuming 120,000 tickets sold to 15-17 shows per year. The projected overall economic impact would also include hotel rooms, meals, entertainment and services consumed by local attendees and visitors.
The Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority voted on February 15, 2023 to approve purchasing 13.4 acres just west of the former hospital for construction of the amphitheater. The parcel would include the former LifeSaver 1 helipad and a 380-space parking deck, as well as parts of the right-of-way of 23rd Street North and Walnut Hill Circle.
- Johnson, Roy S. (October 18, 2022) "Proposed $50 million amphitheater at Carraway tests regional cooperation for economic development" The Birmingham News
- Johnson, Roy S. (October 18, 2022) "Proposed $50 million Carraway amphitheater would replace Oak Mountain’s: What it might look like" The Birmingham News
- Paepcke, Jon (October 19, 2022) "Jefferson County proposing $50 million North Birmingham amphitheater". WVTM13.com
- O'Leary, A. J. (October 24, 2022) "BJCC commits funding for North Birmingham amphitheater." Birmingham Business Journal
- Johnson, Roy S. (February 15, 2023) "BJCC approves purchase of 13.4 acres for Uptown amphitheater." AL.com
- Parker, Illyshia (February 16, 2023) "13.4-acre acquisition will serve as Uptown amphitheater site." Birmingham Business Journal