CrossPlex Village

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CrossPlex Village logo.jpg

CrossPlex Village is 38-acre a hotel, retail and entertainment center at 2337 Bessemer Road, adjoining the Birmingham CrossPlex on the 82-acre site of the former Alabama State Fairgrounds at Five Points West.

The city of Birmingham has invested more than $50 million to develop the athletic facilities and infrastructure in the area, and to subsidize the efforts of private developers to recruit retail, hotel, entertainment and residential operators.

Origins

Fair Park logo.PNG

Shortly after taking office in November 2007 Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford proposed a large-scale redevelopment of Fair Park which would combine athletic facilities with residential, retail and entertainment facilities. The centerpiece of the redevelopment would be indoor track and swimming facilities. On April 8, 2008 the Birmingham City Council approved the use of $48 million in city funds to initiate construction. Langford publicized letters of intent from developers interested in building hotels, a grocery store, and an athletic apparel store in the area as well as a $500,000 commitment from the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which would use the proposed indoor track for statewide championship meets. Later phases would create an "Olympic Village" style residential area with green spaces and high-rise apartments.

According to the mayor's office, $29 million of the city's funding for the project would come from business license fees which were increased in the Birmingham Economic and Community Revitalization Ordinance. Those revenues were earmarked to service bonds for construction of a domed stadium, but bonds would not be issued until 2009. Other funding would come from money earmarked for schools in the Bell Plan (to be used for the athletic facilities), from an economic development fund created by a sales tax increase in the community revitalization ordinance, and from money budgeted to completed or inactive projects and previous allocations to the park.

On June 19, 2008, Langford proposed moving the race track to a site in northwest Birmingham off of Daniel Payne Drive, stating that it didn't fit into Fair Park's redevelopment plan. Demolition of the grandstand began on January 31, 2009 as Langford swung a wrecking ball at the start of a brief ceremony attended by city officials.

The 2010 Birmingham budget showed no appropriations to the project in fiscal years 2009 or 2010. It was later shown that the city had withdrawn money from the city's general fund balance in 2008 to finance preliminary work. Those amounts had been misleadingly factored into the operational budget as part of a "surplus" which turned out to be a deficit.

An August 2009 proposal from Fair Park Real Estate Partners to develop 10 acres of the park as a retail center anchored by CVS Pharmacy and Aldi was tabled by the Council's Administration, Budget and Finance Committee until the developers could produce a comprehensive plan for the site.

Development

On September 29, 2009 the City Council voted to move ahead with construction the Birmingham CrossPlex sports facility without an approved comprehensive plan for the remainder of the district.

Tarver Consulting & Development applied for $4.2 million in tax-free Recovery Zone bonds to construct a hotel at the site in 2010, but that matter was also tabled. In February 2016 the city entered into a development agreement with Bob Nesbitt of Engel Realty, acting as the Urban Community Development Consortium, for a 38-acre mixed use development. The city would install infrastructure and offer a long-term lease while the developer would secure tenants and finance vertical construction.

The resulting proposal, along with conceptual designs from Davis Architects, included offices, retail stores, a 144-unit apartment complex, and a hotel, as well as additional athletic facilities, a 4,700-seat auditorium, and space for an A. G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club. Announced tenants included Walgreen's, Starbucks Coffee, Huddle House, Salon Suites, a Comfort Inn and Ninja's Japanese Steakhouse. The project was expected to begin construction in November 2016 and to open in the Summer of 2017. The city leased the land for a 99-year term and paid for infrastructure improvements. The Birmingham Commercial Development Authority issued bonds to finance the project.

Some neighborhood leaders, however, joined with Birmingham City Council members in raising objections to the proposed new businesses, saying that the district deserved better. With the Council stalling on approval of contracts, the Mayor's office directed the developer to re-open communication with community members to "be sure that the...plan reflects what the community and neighborhood leaders want." After weeks of delays, the Council approved a $3.74 million bid from Chilton Contractors of Clanton for infrastructure work at the site on December 13.

When securing that approval, Nesbitt claimed that total investment in the project had reached $80 million, of which $20 million was invested in capital improvements. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held at the site on January 11, 2017. In February the Birmingham City Council agreed to additional tax incentives for businesses locating at CrossPlex Village, abating half of sales tax obligations, up to $465,000 per year for 10 years for each business. At that time the development no longer included apartments, but a walking trail, stage and amphitheater were still considered part of a future phase.

During the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic Nesbitt's Urban Community Development Consortium was unable to meet its debt obligations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, forcing the city, which had guaranteed the bonds, to allocate $900,000 in the 2021 budget to make those payments, "in anticipation of future under-performance." On October 28 the City Council voted to terminate the ground lease and make a one-time payment of $193,000 for improvements to the property.

Tenants

Former tenants

References

  • Faulk, Kent (February 25, 1987) "New vigor for western area: City plans to revitalize Fair Park, Five Points" The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (April 5, 2008) "Fair Park development includes Marriott, Foot Locker, grocery, Birmingham mayor says." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (April 8, 2008) "Birmingham council OKs Fair Park plans." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (June 20, 2008) "Mayor proposes moving Birmingham International Raceway from Fair Park, providing $1 million to help build new track." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (January 31, 2009) "Groundbreaking gets under way at Birmingham's Fair Park." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (August 18, 2009) "Birmingham council committee delays Fair Park developer pitch; asks for more details." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (September 22, 2009) "Birmingham mayor Larry Langford details spending" The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (September 30, 2009) "Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford and Councilman Steven Hoyt spar over Fair Park project." The Birmingham News
  • West, Ty (October 17, 2016) "CrossPlex redevelopment could take step forward this week." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Kelly, Mark (November 30, 2016) "Two-Star or 10 for West End." Weld for Birmingham
  • Edgemon, Erin (December 13, 2016) "Birmingham approves $3.74 million package for Crossplex hotel, retail development." The Birmingham News
  • Jones, Monique (December 14, 2016) "Construction on Crossplex Village could begin by mid-January." The Birmingham Times
  • Edgemon, Erin (January 11, 2017) "5 more restaurants to join Starbucks, Comfort Inn & Suites at Birmingham's Crossplex."
  • Edgemon, Erin (February 2, 2017) "Birmingham gives Crossplex Village developer $3.25 million in incentives to secure Comfort Inn, Starbucks, restaurants." The Birmingham News
  • Beahm, Anna (February 19, 2020) "See inside the new A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club." The Birmingham News
  • Beahm, Anna (August 13, 2020) "Birmingham to help CrossPlex Village pay bonds in wake of bankruptcy." The Birmingham News
  • "City council terminates ground lease with CrossPlex developer." (October 28, 2020) Birmingham Business Journal

External links