Birmingham: Here to Stay
I grew up in Americus, Georgia, a small town in Southwest Georgia with a rich history and a Mayberry-like feel. My next stop was Statesboro, Georgia, a similarly great small town, where I graduated from Georgia Southern University. I moved to Birmingham one week after graduation to work for a student housing development firm but have stayed here because the city checked many of the boxes that I appreciate – a unique history, great people, and most importantly, potential! Fast forward two and a half years later, and I made the jump into commercial real estate brokerage at Ironvest Partners. Friends, family, even myself at first, thought that I had lost my mind when I decided to switch from a salaried development job to a commission-only job, and then Covid hit!! Luckily, with the help of my co-workers at Ironvest, some hard work and planning, and a shocking uptick in the economy, I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot and have success in a short period of time. I’d like to highlight my views of Birmingham and what I think the future entails.
What I love about Birmingham and CRE Brokerage:
- The People. People are friendly in Birmingham and there is no denying it. Luckily, real estate brokerage requires dealing with people from all walks of life. I love being able to help individuals and small businesses find the right fit, whether it is for a brand-new store or finding a new location for an established and well-loved business that has been around for years.
- The Soul. In my opinion, some cities have it and some don’t. It isn’t something you can create easily but luckily, Birmingham has plenty of soul! The food, beverage, and music scene were good when I first moved here but in the past few years have become great!! We have added many new great restaurants such as Helen, Le Fresca, Bocca and Automatic. Neon Moon, Mayawell, Casanovas, and The Fennec have found their place in the bar scene and seem to be thriving! We have even added great new boutique hotels, Valley in Homewood and Kelly Hotel downtown.
- The Potential! Instead of hiding from a past that haunts many Southern cities, companies such as Ironvest, continue to revitalize beautiful historic buildings and important landmarks that tell a story. I have been fortunate to witness firsthand new businesses and retailers moving their headquarters downtown and betting big on downtown Birmingham in the past year. Hoffman Media and Landing are two that made the jump and I look forward to seeing who else joins them.
My thoughts on the future of Birmingham:
The entire Southeastern United States is on fire since COVID began and luckily Birmingham is in the right place at the right time to welcome young professionals and families back to the city. We have thousands of apartments coming online in most every part of our city center. New housing is crucial for Birmingham and retail follows!
The city needs to continue to invest in new venues and destinations such as the $125 million dollar renovation to Legacy Arena and the $200 million-dollar Protective Life stadium, the new home of UAB Football.
I believe that many people will return to work at offices, but schedules will be more flexible within companies. It is crucial for our building owners to get creative and continue to redevelop outdated office buildings and towers to fit the need for a flexible work schedule. I believe our generation will eliminate the 8am-5pm workday and in my opinion, this is a good thing! While we should embrace the fact that we now have the technology to do things remote, in-person collaboration and culture cannot be replaced, and I think there will always be a need for commercial office space.
Connectivity is crucial for a city like Birmingham. Luckily, we have already put this into motion with Railroad Park, the Rotary Trail and the Jones Valley Extension that will soon connect Railroad Park to Avondale!! We are fortunate to have REV Birmingham and many others working on our streetscapes along with the renovation of 20th Street already underway. Last but not least, City Park will encompass 31 acres, spanning 10 city blocks under the new I-59/I-20 interchange that now lights up the city. All of these great changes should be complete in time for us to host the 2022 World Games!
In closing, I am fortunate to be in a position at Ironvest Partners that allows me to create positive change in the city and I can’t thank the IVP team enough for helping me get to this point. I also wanted to say thank you to all the pioneers and place makers that saw potential in the city 10+ years ago and continue to work tirelessly to make Birmingham a great place to live. I am excited that the world will be able to see the progress Birmingham has made during the 2022 World Games. I feel confident Birmingham will continue to prosper and I am proud to call this city home!
Written by Kyle Crew