Growing up in the suburbs of Vestavia, I didn’t venture much over the mountain into the vast unknown of downtown Birmingham. Maybe I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to, or maybe there was really nothing to go experience in downtown 10 years ago.
Years later, getting out of college and beginning my career, I was very aware it was not cool to live with my parents being a young professional- I knew I needed a new place to call home. I didn’t even think twice- the suburbs were not for me, and I was destined for an urban lifestyle. Living in this city never ceases to amaze me!
Today, Birmingham seems to be alive-breathing in new developments, fresh faces, and a myriad of entertainment options. Two words: the best. The city hosts the best restaurants, the best bars, the best music venues, the best parks, the best views, and the best baseball with the addition of the new Regions Field. I have drunk the Kool Aid that Birmingham has to offer.
Although downtown Birmingham is lacking a few things: a major grocer, an innovative rooftop bar, and a laser tag venue (ok, kidding about the laser tag, but it would be neat), it is continuing to grow, develop, and attract more people who want to return to the city. I see more and more young professionals, singles, empty-nesters, couples with young or no kids, and even some families who are moving to the city, or they are making Birmingham their next move.
I think people are more passionate now about revitalizing Birmingham and giving it a heartbeat. Developers are avidly focusing on projects for the city that it needs (multi-family, mixed use projects, cool office space, more retail), city officials are involved now more than ever, and new legislation encourages the renovation of historical properties and also promotes new market projects. I know I want to continue to be involved in redevelopments and developments that continue to make Birmingham a fabulous place to live, work, and play.
Despite all of its problems, our city has made tremendous advances the last couple of years. With our innovative leaders and entrepreneurs, I cannot wait to see all the wonderful things that are going to happen in our city in the near future!
-Ali Wilburn, Shannon Waltchack