City leaders hope Las Vegas trip brings development

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - For three days, Montgomery Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes and Director of Development Chad Emerson did nothing but "sell the city" to retailers at a large shopping center conference in Las Vegas.

"We have, I feel, some very good possibilities," says Downes.

From restaurants to grocery stores, hotels and private developers, leaders can't get into specifics yet, but say many companies are now considering the Capital City.

"We gauge that by the fact that they want more information, or even in some cases they want to come visit Montgomery," adds Downes.

Emerson says their approach was simple.

"Present statistics and data. And that's what I think impressed them the most--our housing study we recently announced, our retail study."

They focused on creating interest in four target areas--the Southern Bypass, West Fairview Avenue, downtown Montgomery and Maxwell Boulevard--and say developers are interested in each one while visitors say there's something they'd like to see more of.

"Shopping is a little limited," says Florida resident Ann O'Connor.

"A little shopping downtown might be helpful," adds O'Connor's brother, Jim.

According to Downes, there are retail possibilities on the table. But right now, he and Emerson are just glad to help the city make a name for itself.

"Montgomery is an exciting place and what I truly feel is that these individuals and these companies we've met with see it too."

Downes says there is one large hotel company interested in Montgomery. If the project happens, it could bring 100 more rooms to the city. He hopes to make an announcement on the possible new developments within the next month.

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