Even before the first pitch is thrown, the new Regions Field downtown is stirring up a lot of development and interest in the land around it.
While construction workers pour concrete developers are preparing to pour dollars into the land around Railroad Park and the stadium.
The city of Birmingham sold one block Tuesday to an apartment developer and more projects may be on the way. The Texas developer bought the land for $3 million and preliminary plans envision a 245-unit community. Today, Johnathan Austin, the council member representing this district, says it's just the beginning.
"It's just, again, another testament to the investment the city has made. And with this investment it pushes the public private investment to over $100 million," Austin said.
Austin says it took the $65 million investment from the city in this stadium to act as a magnet for private dollars, but now property around the park is some of the hottest in the metro area.
"We'll have an opportunity to develop bars, restaurants, shops and things like that and in five years you probably won't even recognize this area," Austin said.
The Birmingham Business Journal reported Wednesday that a group of investors are buying this Booker T. Washington insurance building across from the Lyric Theater a few blocks away and are looking at the idea of turning it into an apartment building with a bar and grill on the first floor.
"Birmingham is just starting to catch up with where other cities have gone, but learn from the mistakes of the other elements and build on the successes," Austin said.
If the insurance building sale goes through it wouldn't open until 2014 so the Barons may play their first season with cranes dotting the skyline around them.
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