Economy

Birmingham Revitalization: The View from a City School

You could call schools the glue of a community. They're starting points for friendships and networks, and they affect property values and economic development. For our series on revitalization in Birmingham, WBHM's Dan Carsen returns to a redeveloping neighborhood to see how that's playing out in the local school.

Birmingham Revitalization: Struggling to Keep Homewood’s Rosedale Neighborhood

The neighborhood of Rosedale is easy to miss, quietly tucked at the base of Red Mountain on the edges of Homewood. For years, residents of the community have been fighting to keep its historic character, but the city is expanding and there is a constant threat of commercial development.

Birmingham Revitalization: Developers Spur Growth in Avondale, Downtown

Behind every new coffee shop and oyster house and once-vacant building is a real estate developer. The same goes for parks and condos and baseball fields. To understand how developers choose where to invest, we'll start in Avondale.

Birmingham Revitalization: Some Neighborhoods Feel Ignored by City Hall

When David VanWilliams moved to Birmingham, he was looking for a fixer-upper and fell in love with the neighborhood of Inglenook. Inglenook sits just north of the airport. Like its southern neighbors, Crestwood and Avondale, Inglenook has turn of the century brick bungalows and wide streets with sidewalks. But unlike those other neighborhoods, potholes mark the road and many houses are in disrepair. Residents don’t have the money to fix them.

Birmingham Revitalization: While Downtown Grows, Frustrated Citizens Feel Left Behind

By certain indicators, Birmingham is having a moment. Boosted by the openings of Railroad Park and Regions Field, downtown’s seen almost 40 percent residential growth since 2000. Construction cranes dot the skyline, historic buildings are being restored, and the city was recently named a top destination by Lonely Planet and the Travel Channel. Despite this, Birmingham’s revitalization has only touched part of the city, leaving many longtime residents feeling ignored.

Businesses Worry Birmingham’s Political Spat Could Hurt City’s Revival

Birmingham's city center has seen project after project pop up over the last five years or so. While the business community would love to see that continue, there's concern the acrimony right now between Birmingham Mayor William Bell and the city council could cut into the momentum. We talk about that in this week's Magic City Marketplace. Birmingham Business Journal editor Ty West explains to WBHM's Andrew Yeager what has business leaders worried.


Birmingham and “The Metropolitan Revolution”

Downtown Birmingham and some nearby neighborhoods are seeing an influx of new residents, mainly young professionals and retired baby boomers. It’s a national trend -- the Census Bureau reports millions of Americans have migrated from the suburbs to the cities since 2010. Experts like Bruce Katz,a Vice President of the Brookings Institution and co-author of “The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy," think this is a good thing. Katz believes cities like Birmingham are the new economic engines in post-recession America. Katz spoke with WBHM's Greg Bass about his visit to Birmingham last year, and the central idea behind what he calls “The Metropolitan Revolution.”

Deconstructing REV, Birmingham’s Economic Development Organization

What does REV Birmingham, the city's economic development organization, do? They describe themselves as a group "that stimulates business growth and improves quality of life in Birmingham." But WELD says that mission isn't clearly visible to Birmingham residents. Reporters from WELD took to Facebook to ask what their readers thought.

Small Banks Continue Move to Birmingham

Birmingham’s banking sector has seen smaller banks entering the market hoping to latch onto growth in the state’s biggest metro area. So far in 2016, that trend is not slowing. We start there in this week’s Magic City Marketplace. The Birmingham Business Journal's Ty West also explains how the healthcare community is reacting to a General Fund budget Alabama's Medicaid commissioner says is below what's needed to maintain services.

Eva Hardy Jones: Powell School’s Legendary Principal

Eva Hardy Jones became principal of Powell School in 1976. Around this time, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places, but it and its students were in need.

Nevada Company Interested in Unfinished Alabama Nuclear Plant

A Nevada company says it wants to buy an unfinished nuclear power plant in northeast Alabama.

Congestion Not Likely to Improve Around Birmingham

Anyone who commutes along I-65 or U.S. 280 around Birmingham, knows those highways can get congested. But those are far from the only roadways feeling pressure. Backups are annoying and have real costs.Birmingham Birmingham Business Journal editor Ty West talks about that in this week’s Magic City Marketplace. He also explains why retail has been lagging in downtown Birmingham's revival.

MAP: Where Are Birmingham’s Vacant School Buildings?

WBHM's Mary Scott Hodgin recently reported on surplus property owned by Birmingham City Schools. Vacant schools are a common sight throughout Birmingham. The buildings symbolize decades of population decline and budget cuts. As Birmingham's city center and interest in historic properties grows, many hope these large structures will be revitalized. We've created a map showing where these empty schools are located. Take a look.

Federal Lawsuit Highlights Conflict Between State and Local Government

Alabama doesn’t have a minimum wage law. The state uses the federal rate of $7.25. Earlier this year, the Birmingham City Council tried to increase the city’s minimum wage, but we overridden by a bill Governor Robert Bentley signed into law inFebruary. The bill, originally flied by Mountain Brook Republican state Rep. David Faulkner, said only the state can set the minimum wage.

Birmingham Ranks Poorly on Long-Term Small Business Growth

Birmingham has a lot to offer young companies, but the city is lacking when it comes to sustaining small businesses in the long term. That’s according to a new study by American City Business Journals. They measured the nation’s largest metro areas for small business vitality, and Birmingham ranked 82nd out of more than 100 metro areas.

State’s Historic Tax Credit Expires this Month

From the Lyric Theater in downtown Birmingham to the Howell School in Dothan, a number of renovations have been supported by the state’s historic tax credit. It offered developers financial incentives to take on projects that might have come with big risks. But the bill to renew those tax credits has died this legislative session, and the tax will expire this month.

Birmingham Housing Market Tilts to Sellers

The housing market is cyclical as are so many things in business. After a housing-led recession and recovery, the Birmingham housing market is becoming a sellers market with far more demand than homes to go around. But the adage "location, location, location" still applies. Birmingham Business Journal editor Ty West explains in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Investment in Alabama Doubled in 2015, Report Finds

A report out today from state officials shows Alabama attracted more than $7 billion in investments and added nearly 20,000 new jobs last year.

Raising Poultry Increasingly a “Raw Deal” for Alabama Farmers

Poultry production has risen in the past several decades. It's now a more than $45 billion industry in the U.S. Alabama is located in the heart of what’s considered the agricultural “chicken belt” of America. In 2013, Alabama farms produced roughly 1 billion chickens. While that may make it sound like the state's poultry farming economy is healthy, farmers tell a different story. Every one of Alabama’s chickens is produced by contract famers, and some of these farmers tell the weekly newspaper WELD that they’re getting a raw deal.

Hospitals see Changes in Alabama’s Certificate of Need Process

If you don't work in the healthcare industry, you might not be familiar with Alabama's Certificate of Need process. It's bureaucratic, often with mounds of paperwork and legal fees, but it determines what healthcare facilities get built in the state. And in some cases, which ones are blocked. We hear about the process and some changes in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Alabama Women Paid Significantly Less than Men

A new study finds that women in Alabama are paid significantly less than men.

AG Strange: New EPA Rule Would Hurt Alabama’s Racing Economy

Alabama is joining eight other states petitioning the federal government to drop a proposal banning the modification of street vehicles into off-road race cars. Attorney General Luther Strange announced he is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a proposed change to the Clean Air Act. The new rule would forbid the modification of […]

What the Bentley Scandal Means for Economic Development

The scandal surrounding Governor Robert Bentley’s alleged affair with a former top advisor has grabbed attention from CNN to the New York Times to the Washington Post. With that national media attention, some Bentley opponents in the legislature have suggested his troubles have hurt the state’s economic development efforts. We explore that in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Outlook on Alabama’s Economy Splits from National Picture

The U.S economy has been growing for almost seven years and analysts are debating when it will inevitably return to recession. One report from the bank BBVA Compass says it probably won't happen in 2016, but its prediction about Alabama's economy is less upbeat. We explain in this week's Magic City Marketplace.

Fiber Internet Coming to Birmingham

For many workplaces having a fast Internet connection is critical. That’s why a recent announcement that fiber Internet would be coming to the Birmingham area has economic development leaders excited. We talk about it in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Birmingham Rolls Out its Land Bank

The abundance of dilapidated and abandoned properties around Birmingham is something city leaders have struggled to deal with. A new tool to attack the problem is getting off the ground. It’s called a land bank. We talk about it in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

UAB Minimum Wage Increase Goes Into Effect This Weekend

Alabama’s largest employer is increasing its minimum wage to $11 an hour, officials say. The decision was made before a contentious minimum wage fight between city and state lawmakers.

Community Banks Increase Lending to Small Business

We sort of know the broad outlines of starting a business. You have an idea, find an investor or lender for funding, then go at it. Around Birmingham community banks are increasingly getting in on that small business lending action. That's where we start the conversation in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

UAB — Going More Dense and Vertical

UAB has been jokingly referred to as the university that ate Birmingham because of the steady growth its campus has seen through the decades. It’s an anchor of the region’s economy and a new master plan outlines where university leaders want to take Birmingham’s largest employer. We talk about it in this week's Magic City Marketplace. Birmingham Business Journal editor Ty West also discusses plans for development around Birmingham's CrossPlex and why lower oil prices are bad news for banks.

Analysis Shows Great Voting Divide in Jefferson County, A Win for Ben Carson

Less than half of Jefferson County's 411,838 registered voters went to the polls on Tuesday. A total of 82,928 voted in the Democratic Primary and 93,985 voted in the Republican Primary.

Metro Birmingham’s Growth Hotspots

The Birmingham metro area has seen steady, albeit modest population growth since the great recession. However, that growth though isn’t even with some communities seeing growth rates far higher. We talk about this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

Shelby County Residents to Vote on Sunday Alcohol Sales

During Tuesday’s primaries residents of Shelby County will vote on whether to allow alcohol to be sold on Sundays.