By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
When DC BLOX officially opened the first phase of its multitenant data center on Sixth Street South in Titusville earlier this month in Birmingham, CEO Jeff Uphues said the company’s vision was simple: serve locally and connect globally.
Locally meant Birmingham’s historic Titusville neighborhood, home to such luminaries as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The DC BLOX data center project has the potential to be a $785 million investment over the next 10 years and is capable of expanding to more than 200,000 square feet.
“Our vision of serving locally and connecting globally takes on a shared purpose when [people] can work together toward a common goal,” Uphues said. “We commit to you—the people of Birmingham, the community of Titusville, and the state of Alabama—that we’ll continue to do our part … and embrace our community and new neighbors.”
Those new neighbors have welcomed Uphues and his team with open arms.
“DC BLOX is here, so that’s going to bring more job opportunities. … They’re supposed to open up more positions, and I think that will help people in the neighborhood a lot,” said Dellarie Hamilton, 65, who has been living in North Titusville for about 30 years.
Keith Williams, 45, vice president of the North Titusville Neighborhood Association, who has lived in the community for about 40 years, said, “DC BLOX … is a symbol of the vision of North Titusville, and it is bringing an economic giant to the city of Birmingham.”
Titusville, a neighborhood nestled between the University of Alabama (UAB) to the east and Elmwood Cemetery to the west, launched the careers of politicians, college presidents, prize-winning journalists, and international bankers. It was home to prominent local leaders, such as Rice and African American architect Wallace Rayfield, who designed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church downtown Birmingham. It was one of the first neighborhoods in Birmingham where African Americans were allowed to own residential and commercial property.
The site of the DC BLOX data center was once a blighted area that sat dormant for three decades. Now, the redevelopment shows what can happen with community partnerships and collaboration between the public and private sectors, said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.
“Neighborhoods like Titusville have been underinvested in for way too long, so we are grateful that DC BLOX recognizes the potential of this great neighborhood and the city of Birmingham,” said Woodfin, who told Titusville residents last year that strong economic development would lead to neighborhood revitalization.
“We’re keeping that promise,” he said. “The money we made from the soil of this property was the first investment into our neighborhood revitalization fund. Through that investment, streets are being paved, blight is getting removed, and homes are being repaired, but that promise doesn’t just stop at neighborhood revitalization.”
Mayor Woodfin said DC BLOX expects to continue investing and estimates that it can pour approximately $800 million of new capital investment into the city over the next several years—funds that can be invested in students and families that depend on the Birmingham City Schools (BCS) system. Successful economic-development projects like DC BLOX have produced revenue that has resulted in an additional $3 million for BCS in 2019 versus 2018, the mayor said.
The Birmingham location is DC BLOX’s flagship facility and offers access to the company’s full range of services. With the technology and innovation campus now in place, the state of Alabama and city of Birmingham can continue the “renaissance across the iron bridge to its digital future,” Uphues said.
The Birmingham location is the company’s fourth data center facility; others are in Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Huntsville.
“We’re excited about diving in and empowering this new technology and innovation center,” Uphues said. “We’re just really excited to have [customers] here and excited to continually invest in Alabama.”
The DC BLOX grand opening was an exciting day for Birmingham, Jefferson County, and all of Alabama. It was equally as exciting for DC BLOX, Uphues added.
“We christen and celebrate the completion of our phase-one construction [with] this technology innovation campus,” he said. “This city is indeed magical. You’ve got ‘The Magic City’ sign, … [and] the renaissance of Birmingham is undeniable. … What’s happening in this great state of Alabama is remarkable.”
To read more stories about the redevelopment in Titusville, click one of the links below