The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday approved a controversial $90 million investment over the next 30 years to renovate the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) including construction of a new downtown stadium.
After hours of public comment, councilors voted 6-3 in favor of the project. Councilors Shelia Tyson, Darrell O’Quinn and Lashunda Scales voted against the measure.
The vote follows a vote in the State House last week where lawmakers approved a 3 percent tax on automobile leases and rentals in the county to help support the new stadium, renovations and expansion at the BJCC.
The city will pay $3 million annually for the expansion. They will be joined by several other outside entities contributing to the expansion including Jefferson County, which will pay $1 million per year for 30 years. The BJCC Authority has also committed $10.7 million, and UAB and its corporate partners will pay $4 million for 10 years.
Following the council meeting, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin tweeted 100 percent of the money generated from this project will go to funding revitalization efforts for all of the city’s 99 neighborhoods.
— Randall Woodfin (@WoodfinForBham) March 27, 2018
The master plans for the renovation include:
- An open-air stadium north of Uptown District with 45,000 fixed seats programmed to be expandable to 55,000 with a pre-designed temporary seating plan. Interviews and program requirements were conducted with stakeholders and potential users of the stadium, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham and ESPN.
- Legacy Arena would get a facelift, with an updated façade on the outside, new entrances, an added suite level and premium club space. The flow of the concourse will be improved and an upper level concourse added. It will also include enhanced food and beverage locations and options and improvements to the overall guest experience for sporting events, concerts and family oriented programming.
- The piazza outside of the arena will be renovated to feature a more open plan that will serve as a natural gathering and prefunction space encouraging activity and anchoring the pedestrial flow around the arena, concert hall and theater.
- Establishing a consistent and effective wayfinding experience throughout the BJCC venues to better guide attendees to their appropriate destinations and creating a stronger sense of place.
The open-air stadium is expected to be the future home of UAB football games. After the council’s vote, UAB Blazers head coach Bill Clark tweeted his excitement and approval.
— Bill Clark (@CoachBillClark) March 27, 2018
Watch live coverage (previously recorded) of the Birmingham City Council meeting: