Officials hope movable buildings kick-start downtown Montgomery shopping

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's been a common complaint from locals and out-of-towners when it comes to downtown Montgomery...there's nowhere to shop!

While construction continues on a new downtown park, Montgomery leaders hope the area behind it sprouts up with small and movable boutique shops.

"Their foundation systems would be designed in such a way that they could be easily moved if we decide to expand the park," says Montgomery Development Director, Chad Emerson.

Emerson says the plan would allow the city to construct temporary buildings while tenants pay rent each month.

"We're going to offer probably 12-24 month leases that after they've become established, then they can move into a permanent option downtown and hopefully grow from there."

Some locals say downtown shopping will not only help the city's bottom line, but residents' pocketbooks, too.

"I think it would be very good for families to come down here...especially with a lot of the hotels around here, they can come by and visit, and watch the Montgomery Biscuits," says Cory Griffin.

"It would do good to get some stores down here that would help people get back to work," adds Montgomery resident Teresa Johnson.

Concerns have been raised about a possible lack in parking once the lot in front of the Renaissance Hotel and Embassy Suites hotel is turned into green space, but there are plans in the works to make up for it.

"We're not just going to take away parking without coming up with solutions and part of that is to increase on street parking, increase directional parking," adds Emerson.

Emerson believes it could be a month before he knows for sure if the program will pan out. But he says there is interest from local business owners already anxious to get downtown.

The city is currently working with an outside firm to study which types of stores would work there.

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