On Thursday morning, redevelopment firm Orchestra Partners announced the nationally acclaimed Alamo Drafthouse cinema as the first major tenant slated to occupy Powell Steam Plant, a historic 85,000+ square foot structure in the heart of Birmingham’s Parkside district.
Alamo Drafthouse represents a major part of Orchestra Partners’ redevelopment plans to transform Powell Steam Plant and the surrounding Parkside neighborhood into an entertainment destination and connectivity hub.
Orchestra Partners joined Alamo Drafthouse, Alabama Power, Birmingham City Council Speaker Wardine Alexander (District 7), Birmingham Councilman Hunter Williams (District 2, Economic Development Committee Chair) and other Powell Community Partners Steam Plant to make the announcement.
Orchestra Partners announces that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be the anchor tenant for the Powell Avenue redevelopment from the Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.
“Since announcing plans for the Powell Steam Generating Station in November 2019, our goal from day one was to be intentional in finding the right tenant who aligns with the shared vision for this historic property,” said Hunter Renfroe, co-founder and director of Orchestra Partners. . “By partnering with a reputable national brand like Alamo Drafthouse, we will pay homage to the steam power plant and create a vibrant entertainment destination that draws more people downtown.”
Based in Austin, TX, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema offers a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience with quality movies, food, drink and retail. Named “America’s No. 1 Theater” by Entertainment Weekly and “World’s Coolest Cinema” by Wired, Alamo Drafthouse operates 37 locations from California to New York, offering a combination of theater and restaurant, premiering movies broadcast, independent films and organize special events with a full menu made from scratch.
Birmingham movie buffs can expect an authentic local experience with innovative theater design, superior dining experience, local craft beers and specialty cocktails, personalized pre-show content, events and amenities. Birmingham joins Raleigh, North Carolina and Charlottesville, Virginia as the Alamo Drafthouse’s newest Southeast market.
“We have a tremendous opportunity in Birmingham, as this is Alamo Drafthouse’s first true venture into the Deep South,” said Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Partner John Martin. “Each theater brings a tailored approach to suit the building space and surrounding neighborhood appropriately. The historic value of Powell Steam Plant is unlike any theater that Alamo has previously converted, which will allow us to emulate this theme in all aspects of the cinematic experience.
Alamo Drafthouse will be the anchor tenant and will occupy approximately 40,000 square feet (60% of the leasable area) inside the Powell Steam Plant. Redevelopment plans for the entire project call for a mixed-use entertainment venue designed for movies, music, events, retail stores and restaurants. Orchestra Partners plans to redevelop the adjacent lot, which could include a hotel and upscale apartments, while the street between the steam plant and the adjacent lot will be a pedestrian hub for outdoor gatherings.
“Powell Steam Station has been an integral part of Birmingham’s history for over 125 years,” said Williams, Birmingham City Councilor since 2017. “Through public-private partnerships, the redevelopment of the steam station will help bring more Birmingham residents to the city center while supporting tourism and economic development efforts to propel our city into the future The addition of another major anchor in the neighborhood to the heart of the city center will be a game-changer for Birmingham.”
Powell Steam Station, built in 1895, provided steam and electricity to businesses in Birmingham city centre. It connected the city by powering the tram system, which was essential to the growth of the city. Alabama Power acquired the steam plant in the 1950s and continued operations until 2013.
“We are proud to welcome Alamo Drafthouse and see the vital role it will play in breathing new life into the Powell Steam Plant,” said Kimberly Jackson, Alabama Power Government Relations Manager and the Birmingham Division community. “Going forward, this historic structure will serve as a catalyst for intentional and inclusive growth, fostering economic development and improving the quality of life for all Birmingham residents.”
Alamo Drafthouse will join existing Parkside neighborhood anchors including Good People Brewing, Regions Field and Railroad Park, further strengthening Parkside as an entertainment district that will continue to connect communities in the area. In addition to Powell Steam Plant, Orchestra Partners is redeveloping Urban Supply, a mixed-use destination adjacent to Good People at the west end of the Parkside district.
“Our long-term vision for Parkside is not only to create entertainment, but also to improve walkability and reconnect Birmingham’s surrounding areas to its urban core,” said Renfroe. “Bringing the Alamo Drafthouse to Birmingham brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.”
Alamo Drafthouse construction will begin in summer 2022 with an expected opening in fall 2023. For more information and rental opportunities, visit www.parksidebham.com.
(Courtesy of the Alabama Press Center)