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$50 Million Amphitheater Adds Another Attraction to Birmingham’s Uptown Entertainment District

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On Monday, the BJCC, along with city officials and amphitheater operator Live Nation, broke ground to begin construction on a new 9,380-capacity amphitheater in Uptown. (Artist Rendering)

By Barnett Wright | The Birmingham Times

Birmingham’s booming Uptown Entertainment District got another boost on Monday when the BJCC, along with city officials and amphitheater operator Live Nation, broke ground to begin construction on a new 9,380-capacity amphitheater on the city’s north side.

Recently, forbes.com, a national business media and publishing company, named the Uptown Entertainment District, with its Protective Stadium, renovated Legacy Arena and dining and shopping options, as a Neighborhood to Watch.

And that review came before Monday’s groundbreaking. The $50 million amphitheater will be located near the former Carraway Hospital which is being redeveloped to bring other entertainment, dining, retail, and residential options to the Druid Hills neighborhood.

It also follows historic investments in BJCC venues, including a major upgrade to Legacy Arena and the construction of Protective Stadium.

“The amphitheater rounds out the venues in the state’s largest entertainment district, and it will bring more people to enjoy the amenities across the county,” said Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens.

(The Black Contractors Association of Alabama and two other plaintiffs last week filed a lawsuit accusing the BJCC of failing to adhere to all or part of the terms of the resolution and agreements with the city and county as it relates to the inclusion of historically underutilized businesses, which BJCC officials denied.)

The amphitheater will host a variety of events and concerts and is expected to host around 20 shows each summer concert season and accommodate a variety of festivals, community gatherings, special events.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, third from left, joined by members of the Birmingham City Council break ground on the $50 million amphitheatre in downtown Birmingham. (Provided)

“This is a day that’s made possible by the hard work and commitment of so many individuals and leaders in our community,” BJCC CEO Tad Snider said. “We’re proud of the collective effort put into building a new entertainment venue that will serve local residents and give visitors yet another reason to come to Birmingham.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin said the venue “will be an anchor that will spur other development that will improve the quality of life for residents in the area and for the city as a whole … As excited as we all will be to have a new place to see concerts, I’m most excited about what this will do for all of our Northside neighborhoods.”

Darrell O’Quinn, president of the Birmingham City Council, agreed. “We know that our investments in community infrastructure like this create a ripple effect that adds new life and vitality to our city. They also generate new resources for city services and investments that touch all corners of the city and county.”

BJCC board chair Michael Keel said the addition of the amphitheater comes at a time of historic success for the complex.

“We have broken every kind of record in recent months, thanks to the community’s support and investments in our facilities, and the hard work of our staff,” BJCC board chair Michael Keel said. “The BJCC is a community asset in every sense of the word, and the amphitheater will ensure that we can serve our community even better in the future.”

The ceremony came after a lawsuit filed by the Black Contractors Association of Alabama and two other plaintiffs asking for construction to be halted for failing to include historically underutilized businesses.

In a statement Snider said, “under the amphitheater construction bid we awarded in May, more than 26 percent of eligible spending will go to minority- and women-owned firms. That includes a $3.1 million site- grading contract that went entirely to a minority-owned firm.

“In addition, more than 33 percent of the design work on the project went to minority- and women-owned firms … these results reflect the good-faith effort we have made and continue to make to achieve strong minority participation …”

A hearing on the issue is scheduled to take place at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.