BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — A historic tax credit that has helped revitalize downtown Birmingham is one step closer to being renewed after lawmakers took action Friday.
The bill received concurrence in the House of Representatives. Over the past 5 years, the initiative has helped with major renovation projects at the Jefferson Hotel, the Lyric, and the Pizitz building.
With the historic tax credit, the total cost to develop historical properties in Alabama can be much cheaper. Various projects have added new restaurants, bars, hotels, and jobs.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of usage of that credit. Birmingham had a total of 21 projects, by far it was the most across the state,” said Waymond Jackson, with the Birmingham Business Alliance.
Friday night, people packed the Piziztz building to check out the food court, evidence of the success of the project.
“I had trouble parking tonight, I had to park 4 blocks away, and that’s a great thing,” said Frank Dominick, who was visiting with his family.
Folks who live just outside the city said many of the completed projects are reasons to come and see the city.
“I don’t remember ever coming down that much as a kid growing up but I feel like there’s a lot more stuff going on now,” said Daniel Wallace
Without the historic tax credit, Jackson said some areas may still be part of a developer’s dream.
“When you think about the cost that actually goes into rehabbing an older facility, when you start thinking about asbestos, whether it’s lead paint, all those different things, those add up, and often times those margins for redevelopment are very thin,” said Jackson.
People in the area are glad to see Birmingham using its past to be part of the future.
“For that to be reborn and to have options both residential and food options, it’s a great thing for Birmingham,” said Dominick.
The renewal will head to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for a signature.