A funding bill for a proposed Birmingham stadium has moved forward, setting it up for further consideration by Alabama lawmakers.
Officials have been discussing the prospect of building a new outdoor stadium in Birmingham. With a price tag of $174 million, the facility is being included in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex‘s 20-year, $300-million master plan. Funding is expected to come from a variety of sources, including revenue from a three-percent car rental tax in Jefferson County.
That component of the funding requires the approval of state lawmakers, and that process took a step forward on Wednesday. In a 9-2 vote–with four abstentions–the House Jefferson County delegation decided to back the proposal, which has received support from the region’s business community. More from ABC3340:
Business leaders at Wednesday meeting include Hatton Smith of Royal Cup Coffee, Miller Gorrie of Brasfield and Gorrie, Craft O’Neal of O Neal Steel, Robert Simon of Corporate Realty and Joe McGee of Legacy Credit Union.
Smith, CEO Emeritus of Royal Cup Coffee, is among the business leaders who are also now supporting the stadium project.
“I think the business community is driving it,” explained Smith. “It’s not about UAB. For us, it’s all about the city. It creates jobs. It continues the momentum we have as a city. It in particular positively affects the minority community. It’s a great program for the entire area.”
The design concept has called for the stadium to host large outdoor events and sports, including soccer and University of Alabama Birmingham football. It would have a capacity of 45,000, with room to expand for larger events.
The car rental tax is projected to add $3.5 million annually toward debt service, making it one of the pieces in a funding model that includes contributions from a variety of sources. The Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center Authority would chip in $10.7 million in annual debt service for 30 years, while Jefferson County would pay $1 million annually for 30 years., and the city would contribute $3 million annually for 30 years. In addition, a 10-year taxable private placement through sources such as naming rights, corporate/community support, sponsorships, and UAB would yield $4 million annually for the first 10 years.
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