Sunday, February 6, 2011

Some urban planning and development stuff to chew on

OK, who thought it was A'OK for the municipality of Hoover to propose an ideal to convert the former 3-level Macy's at Riverchase Galleria mall into a convention/events center with stage theater?  The project is now on hold, but they wanted to turn the 285,000 square foot space into a public space.

Here's the pros and cons of the project according to Hoover municipal officials:
  • -- The Galleria is one of the largest malls in the state/region and has helped enhance recognition of Hoover.
  • -- There is a relatively large number of restaurants and retail businesses surrounding the mall and throughout the city.
  • -- There's a perception of safety and convenience with parking and accessibility.
  • -- Relative to its size, Hoover offers a large number of hotels.
    • Weaknesses included:
    • -- Hoover has a limited perception as a convention destination, and the city is viewed by some non-locals as a "suburb with a big mall."
    • -- The city lacks a traditional downtown and/or central business district with a density of visitor amenities and entertainment options.
    • -- There are a number of potentially competitive event venues in the greater local marketplace.
    • -- The city is inland, versus on a coast.
    Last time I remember, Hoover is the middle of the socially and fiscally conservative territory, where "socialist" initiatives like that to a minimum or non-existent (remember how you guys didn't even want a measly bus line in your community?).  Now they want to overstep on partial owners General Growth Properties and Jim Wilson to turn their largest vacant space in their shopping center into a "public entity"?  Now the GGP and Jim Wilson  is very actively pursuing finding a replacement for the space that was to become a Nordstrom but thanks to GGP screw up it failed.  LOL  Hoover, you guys kill me because your community has low-range to mid-range hotels aside from the Wynfrey Hotel at Riverchase itself, and that is 1 upper-tier hotel.  Then there is the lack of downtown or central portion of the community to designate as a "downtown".  You are a suburb of Birmingham and that is all Hoover will ever be because its development patterns are incompatible with "hub status" of the region.

    My alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham aka UAB, has finally made up their minds on the design and scope of what they are going to place on the corner of 10th Avenue South & 13th Street South.  It's going to become a visual arts center with classrooms, essentially replacing the nearly 40-year-old George Wallace Humanities Building on the 13th Street of the UAB campus.  At the moment, the corner is a parking lot for the engineering buildings and Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.  Also UAB, has committed to finally placing an on-campus stadium for the UAB Blazers football and soccer teams at 6th Avenue South and 12th Street South.  It will seat 25,000 to 30,000 and will have a large plaza adjacent to the stadium for tailgating.  The stadium is a part of a measure will be presented to the University of Alabama system trustees for approval soon.  The new master plan  also calls for new access roads lining Interstate 65, a new science complex on University Boulevard and 18th Street South, and the eventual elimination of much of the street parking on campus, which would be replaced by parking decks.  Score 2 for UAB and its decision to make some major moves and attempting to produce more dense and coherent development flowing with the urban core of Birmingham this past week.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment


    Related Posts with Thumbnails