Montgomery's Downtown Revitalization Coming Along - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Montgomery's Downtown Revitalization Coming Along

Our first stop along the construction tour is South Perry and Washington, the city's third new parking garage.

"It'll be a 5-level deck, 238 parking spaces and it should be completed next spring," said Jeff Downes, Executive Assistant to the Mayor.

Deeper into town the Alleyway is slowly beginning to take shape.

"This is the biggest public impact project. With the creation of the Alleyway you'll have retail and bars," Downes said.

A few blocks over the third round-a-bout has been rounded out near the Alabama Statehouse.

"The whole idea is to bring life to the streets," said Downes.

Bringing life to downtown isn't happening overnight but it's been a steady transformation when you consider close to a hundred residential lofts have been built in the last 3 years. Most have either been rented out or sold.

"One developer bought three of these buildings and he's already sold one unit," Downes said.

And private investors have spent millions getting their buildings ready in the Alleyway. Whether you agree with what the city is doing or not, Dr. James Johnson, considered by some a national expert on urban development, says Montgomery is taking the right approach.

"You got to create a market. If you build it they will come but if you build it you got to find a way to keep them coming," said Johnson.

But it's clear not everyone has jumped on board just yet. For instance, you won't find a grocery store in downtown Montgomery and some believe we could use more downtown entertainment.

"I am personally working on getting grocery store here," said Downes.

A combination of grants and the growth from property taxes are paying for all the public construction.  A risky venture, nevertheless, but one Downes is convinced is beginning to pay off block by block.

Reporter: Bryan Henry

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