The executive director of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex said Topgolf isn’t set to open until later this year, but the entertainment venue’s charms are already working for the Magic City.
Tad Snider spoke to BirminghamCREW at its monthly meeting Tuesday, giving an update on Topgolf and how it fits in with current and future BJCC expansion plans.
“Just knowing (Topgolf) is coming has helped us land two conventions already,” Snider told the commercial real estate organization.
Snider said assembling two city blocks, or more than 10 acres, for the project was no easy feat. Being able to provide 425 dedicated parking spaces was also a challenge.
But the hard work is worth it with such a popular attraction, he said.
“It’s really exciting for what we see as kind of the next logical expansion of the Uptown footprint and then just as an available offsite amenity, an additional tool for us in recruiting conventions and meetings,” Snider said. “We’re just really excited about what it’s going to bring in terms of creating the growth of the BJCC and a great community asset.”
The Topgolf announcement in December followed the release in August of last year of renovation and expansion concepts of the BJCC. The proposed changes would give a major facelift to the existing BJCC complex and add a football stadium on the four blocks bordered by Uptown and Topgolf.
A decision on the direction of the expansion should come this year, Snider said.
“Of course, right across the street (from Topgolf) is the future expansion development site of the BJCC,” he said. “We’re just really hopeful that some of the ideas being talked about for those four blocks are beginning to come together. We’re hopeful that sometime in 2017 we really know what’s going to happen there. It’s going to be really exciting for the community and for the BJCC and our future as well.”
He said the reaction from the renovation and expansion plans has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Sometimes you have to paint a picture of what can be,” he said.
Renovations of the interior and exterior of the BJCC could cost close to $100 million, Snider said. There are no estimates on the proposed open-air stadium because it remains a concept and not an actual construction project.
Ongoing improvements to bridges and overpasses of Interstates 20, 59 and 65 at the BJCC will create access problems in the coming months. Snider said it would be wise to use that downtime to make some of the improvements to the existing BJCC.