New development slated for downtown parking lot | News
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA)- Downtown Montgomery's skyline could soon look a lot different. The corner of Bibb and Commerce streets in downtown Montgomery is a space city leaders have been working to develop for years. They originally thought another hotel would go there, but plans didn't work out.
Right now it holds a single-level parking lot. But, some Birmingham developers have big plans for the space.
The city signed a letter of intent with developers looking to put a mixed-used building there for retail and residential units.
While the plans aren't set in stone development officials believe it's only a matter of time.
"90 days," says Montgomery Development Director Chad Emerson.
That's how long Emerson says developers have to make up their minds--to build there or not.
"We'll either have a firm purchase and sale agreement to take to the city council or we won't."
Emerson has no doubt the company will decide to move forward.
"We have every reason to believe that it makes financial sense for all sides."
Retail specialists--a company out of Birmingham--developed a similar project there in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Emerson says they want to bring the same model to the capital city.
"We know that this would be a real signature project for downtown Montgomery."
"You hear other people talking about other cities, what they have to do, and there was none of that here," says longtime Montgomery resident Willis Walker.
Walker remembers when downtown was a ghost town. He's glad things have changed.
"It's growth. It will keep the people here...keep me here."
There have been mixed feelings, though, about the city's efforts to revitalize downtown.
Many business owners have recently expressed concerns that the downtown area gets all the attention.
Willis hopes helping one area helps all.
"East Chase is booming in that area, but I think we need to really develop like they're doing here the heart of Montgomery. And anything that they can do, or we can do as Montgomerians to get people here helps the city."
If built, the mixed-use project is expected to be roughly 15,000 sq. ft. and could be a more than $15-million dollar investment.
Emerson says if the company decides to develop it, the city would require them to begin construction soon.
Because the property is city-owned, any purchase agreement must be approved by the city council.
The city recently approved a similar development for the skate park property adjacent to the parking lot.
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