Parkside plays a lead role in the rebirth of downtown Birmingham. Railroad Park has been a great civic achievement for Birmingham. It generated a new civic optimism that the whole diverse community can work together and make a place that is the true Living Room of the City welcome to all. Central and accessible to the whole city, the district links important green spaces and neighborhoods from east to west and north to south. Railroad Park and the Parkside district is a major urban trail head for the Jones Valley Trail Corridor. It is the place for everyone to come together as one city.
The mission is to capture the essence of Birmingham by creating a district which stitches back connections from east to west and north to south. Crafting a place that brings people together in an environment that pays tribute to the region’s rich industrial past, yet is also fresh, vibrant and new. The plan calls for development in both the east and west sides of Parkside that will create one place for all Birmingham to come together. We do this by creating two new unique, yet complementary destinations within the district.
The west end of Parkside is populated with single-story non-descript warehouses. The master plan includes transforming a two-block area – from 12th Street South to 14th Street South between 1st and 2nd Avenues South – into an urban commons. The plan calls for buildings to be revitalized into a series of exciting retail, restaurant and mixed-use spaces designed to serve the daily needs of area residents, nearby college students and shoppers wanting a dynamic urban experience. There will be fitness centers, healthy restaurant concepts and hip fashion retailers intermixed with open areas, study spots and dynamic architecture – all designed to encourage gathering and connection.
In the east where Parkside engages with 20th Street South, the Steam Plant site and adjacent parking lot. A renovated Steam Plant will become an exciting entertainment venue designed for movies, music, events, retail, restaurants and more set within an historic, yet thoroughly modern building. On the adjacent lot there will be a beautiful work of civic architecture with contemporary details. The building includes a communal center for hospitality, conviviality, and the arts. A vacated Powell Avenue provides a place for food trucks, impromptu performances, art shows and many other public gatherings.