Officials broke ground on the $175 million open-air stadium project at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) last week.
The stadium will be home to University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) football in the fall and the Birmingham Iron football in the spring, and is slated to be completed in 2021, in time for the World Games, which Birmingham is hosting. It is expected to seat between 45,000 and 55,000.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin spoke at the groundbreaking, calling it an important milestone for neighborhood revitalization and for small business opportunities.
“What we’re witnessing is a transformational experience for our community, not just for the BJCC, but for Birmingham itself,” Woodfin said. “We’ll be transforming the way we approach tourism as well as entertainment with this state-of-the-art facility.”
The stadium will have a significant economic impact and will continue to elevate Birmingham in the sports event world, which now boasts minor league baseball, professional football, professional soccer, G League basketball and professional hockey.
“It gives Birmingham a modern venue to host outdoor sporting events, one we’ve not had in many years,” said Brian Hilson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance. “The stadium will become the centerpiece of an area that already has several outstanding venues. It will be a remarkable change for the Uptown District and Birmingham, bringing people into the city that otherwise might not be here.”
The stadium has been years in the making and its progress has been supported by a strong team of leaders at the city, county and state level, as well as in the private business sector, Hilson said.
“That combined with the market need here drives the need for the stadium,” he said. “The stadium, especially where it is located, is great for our community, far beyond the economic and financial impact.”
It will be built on what is now four city blocks in downtown Birmingham, bordered by Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard to the south, 12th Avenue North to the north, 22nd Street to the west and 24th Street to the east.