By Monique Jones
The Birmingham Times
Construction on the Crossplex Village in Five Points West could begin as soon as mid-January, said Developer Bob Nesbitt of Engel Realty.
Nesbitt made the announce after the Birmingham City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved $3.7 million for site infrastructure for the Crossplex Retail Development Project.
“I feel much better knowing that that approval is behind us,” Nesbitt said. “It will probably take the infrastructure contractor a month to fully mobilize on the site which means the actual construction work will start mid-January. That will open the doors for us to start to close out our financing and to start to build vertical buildings.”
The development will provide Five Points West with a 101-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a Starbucks in Phase One as well as retail shopping and restaurants, walking trails, an amphitheater seating up to 4,000 people.
Investment in the Crossplex has reached $80 million, Nesbitt said.
City Council President Pro Tempore Steven Hoyt, who represents the district, said that within the next 30 days, a notice to proceed will be issued for construction to begin. “We’re farther along than we’ve ever been with the Crossplex,” Hoyt said.
There are “no words” to describe the impact the Crossplex Village could have on Five Points West and surrounding areas, he added.
“Downtown Ensley would be infused by what we do at the Crossplex,” he said. “There are any number of areas, I think, could benefit from that.”
“We want to thank the mayor and the council for their support,” he said. “I could not have done any of this without the council, the mayor, and the [Five Points West] neighborhood.”
The Five Points West neighborhood includes Central Park, Bush Hills, Fairview, Green Acres, Ensley Highlands and Belview Heights.
The development will support the Crossplex, a 750,000 square-foot sports facility complete with six-lane track and Olympic pool.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Central Park Neighborhood Association President Susan Palmer said residents were excited about plans.
“It’s something we started supporting years ago and now we’ve finally gotten the opportunity to see the vision start coming to pass,” she said. “We’re glad to know we’re moving forward in Five Points West for a brighter and more successful future.”
Palmer said there were concerns; however she was confident those would be addressed including the availability of a proposed outdoor warm-up track to be open to residents when the Crossplex isn’t holding events.
Palmer also made clear that those who were opposed to certain parts of the development, such as the proposed Comfort Inn and Suites for not having a restaurant and bar, didn’t speak for the community.
“We are not the neighborhood that is protesting this project,” she said. “Those people that you hear in the media do not represent Central Park, nor the Five Points West residents. They do not live in our neighborhood and they do not have the right to speak on behalf of our neighborhood.”