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Mayor says economy has delayed some Uptown District businesses from opening on time

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Birmingham's Uptown District was supposed to be booming but several businesses have delayed their openings.

There are many "coming soon" signs still in the windows in the district. Mayor William Bell says while he's pleased with the options that are there he says things are not moving as fast as he would like them to.

"The food has been excellent," Joe Zolnierek said.

For the second day in a row Zolnierek brought his family to eat at The Southern Kitchen Bar, which is the latest attraction in Birmingham's Uptown District. The Zolniereks are visiting from Michigan and are impressed by what the area has to offer so far.

"It's going to be great when it's done because we've been walking around this area. It's going to be booming when everything opens," Zolnierek said.

And city officials did expect Uptown to be booming by now. Mayor William Bell says all the restaurants and bars were supposed to be open by March of last year.

It's now almost March 2014 and businesses like Texas de Brazil, Mug Shots and Cantina Laredo are still under construction.

"I'm pleased with where we are. It's not as fast as I'd liked for it to be. But at least we're on solid ground," Bell said.

FOX6 News asked the mayor what is delaying the development.

"Because of the economy and a number of things a lot was delayed. Just financing and looking at projected revenue streams, things of that nature. So it delayed a lot of things," he said.

Eric Pollock is the manager at The Southern Kitchen Bar, which has been open about two weeks. Pollock says the location of his restaurant is ideal, which is why he expects his business and the others to thrive.

"We've got business given to us by the BJCC. I get to meet a lot of different people because of the Westin and Sheraton. People from out of town," Pollock said.

In addition to The Southern Kitchen Bar, Todd English Pubb and Octane Coffee Bar and Lounge are open in the district.

Bell says the new date for the others is in late spring or early summer.

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