Birmingham Secured 24 Opportunity Zones Double the Amount of the Next Highest City in Alabama
Opportunity Zones touch 77 of our 99 neighborhoods. Although we didn’t get every zone we wanted, there are plenty of opportunities to invest in Birmingham. From one of the only X airports in an opportunity zone in the country, to the historic Civil Rights District, to the Innovation District, downtown and many neighborhood-based commercial business districts, Birmingham is ripe with opportunity.
The Birmingham Approach: A Community Asset-Based Model
The Investing in Opportunity Act stated that the Chief Executive Officer of each state could select no more than 25% of eligible OZ areas for designation. We learned this and immediately began working with partners in the private sector, major academic institutions, community leaders and small business owners to co-create a model that would place Birmingham in a position to secure as many Opportunity Zones as possible.
Birmingham had approximately 69 eligible census tracts. To ensure that the Opportunity Zone program was focused on neighborhood revitalization and quality job growth, we identified and inventoried seven different categories of community and economic development assets throughout the our city. These were assets we determined could catalyze development and attract investment.
Post-Secondary Education Institutions
City Assets & Brownfield Sites
Accelerators, Incubators & Co-Working Spaces
Bus Rapid Transit Line
Commercial Business Districts
Foreign Trade Zones
Importantly, we also wanted to make sure we didn't exclude areas that had been severely distressed in the past, so we made sure poverty did not bias our model.
Our proposal was submitted to the Governor's office with 28 letters of community support. See full proposal here. See our Map here.
Maximizing Opportunity: Introducing the Birmingham Inclusive Growth Fund (BIG)
An innovative public-private partnership with the goal of leveraging Birmingham's 24 Opportunity Zones to (1) enhance the quality of life of our residents and(2) produce tangible returns to investors.
The BIG Fund is privately organized, led and managed. Governed by experienced institutional investors and Opportunity Zone experts who love Birmingham. the Fund’s Investment Board will focus on assessing projects and fundraising for Birmingham's Opportunity Zone projects. See BIG's Investment Board.
The City of Birmingham is uniquely positioned to convene key stakeholders and facilitate the relationships between the private, philanthropic, academic and and civic sectors, as well as neighborhood leadership. Through a constellation of resources, the City also brings a competitive advantage to investors to accelerate projects.
Our Community Investment Board promotes inclusive growth for all community residents. Made up of local civic leaders, this Board ensures that the community's needs and priorities are addressed, identifies projects and safeguards our neighborhoods' cultural heritage by bringing resident voices to the table.
Current Investment Opportunities
come see what we’re working on
CARRAWAY PROJECT ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT MIXED USE
Vibrant, mixed-use development that combines Residential, Office, Retail, Entertainment, Hotel and Open Space in the heart of the Entertainment District.
Developer: Corporate Realty
Learn more: XXX
What should this one be?
Located only five miles from downtown Birmingham, the Shuttlesworth International Airport is one of the only Southeastern airports in an Opportunity Zone. There are currently 440 acres of land ready to be developed.
Birmingham is Ready to Grow Your Investment
Birmingham is a city that has been defined by race: both the epicenter of racial oppression in America and the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement. For each Bull Connor, there was a Fred Shuttlesworth; for each clenched fist, there was an open hand. The City has had a history of internal struggle, often reckoning our difference on the world's stage.
Today, our motto is "Putting People First", and our people and institutions are working together to usher the City into a new, dynamic, global economy, powered by technology and innovation. Our employers and our educational institutions recognize that we are stronger if we make progress through inclusive innovation, ensuring that all our citizens have a fair shot to contribute to our region's economic vitality. Birmingham understands that regional competitiveness is only as strong as our workforce pipeline, so in a space that physically abuts the Civil Rights District, we are building an Innovation District that draws in--and builds upon--the talent in our neighborhoods to fuel startups and grow established companies.
Birmingham is and has always been a city of builders. Invest and join us.
Momentum in the Magic City
Birmingham has experienced an economic renaissance in recent years. Our City was designated as both a "Smart City" and a "Rise of the Rest City" due to the momentum in our innovation space. In 2016, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) generated $538M in biotech and health-related research funding, supporting 64,292 jobs and generating a $7.15 billion economic impact. Birmingham is home to the Innovation Depot, the largest tech incubator in the Southeast, housing over 100 local startups. Home-grown startup Shipt, acquired by Target for $550 million in 2017, is in the process of creating over 881 jobs.
Low Cost, High Reward
Low construction, rent and labor costs serve as some of our greatest competitive advantages and attract new business and residents to our city. Construction costs are 86% of the national average. The average price of rent per square foot is $19 compared to $32 nationwide. Further, labor costs are lower than the national average: the median income of a software developer in Birmingham is ~80% that of San Francisco, Boston or New York, with comparable time to fill from when the position is posted.
Location, Location, Location
Birmingham is connected to five interstates—I-65, I-59, I-459, I-20, and I-22 -- and provides direct connection to a majority of the country. Nearly 40% of the U.S. population is within a one-day truck trip from Birmingham; 75% within a two-day trip. Only 25 miles outside downtown, Port Birmingham offers accessibility to global customers via the Gulf of Mexico. This inland waterway port has the capacity to store 40 river barges (or 600 rail cars) at any given time and connects to three Class I railroads: Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation, and BNSF Railway. The Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport is located less than 5 miles from downtown and services 2.8 million passengers per year to 34 cities per day.