Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Downtown Projects Get Tuscaloosa City Council's Approval

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Downtown Projects Get Tuscaloosa City Council's Approval

Article excerpt

Plans for three downtown development projects were approved Tuesday night by the Tuscaloosa City Council, clearing the way for construction to begin.

Two of the three projects -- the $42.2 million Riverfront Village mixed-use development on the former site of Tuscaloosa Chevrolet and the $13 million Hilton Home2 Suites extended stay hotel in the 2600 block of University Boulevard -- had come before the City Council in prior stages.

Unanimous votes by the council approved plans for the designs of these projects under the requirements of the Downtown Riverfront Overlay District, although the Riverfront Village petition was an amendment to site plans that the City Council blessed earlier this year.

The third project, however, was new to the City Council.

Dubbed "The Balcony," the 22-unit, 50-bedroom development is planned for the southeast corner of Paul W. Bryant Drive and 23rd Avenue.

Developer Pat Chisolm of Orlando, Fla., did not give an estimated cost for the project, but told the council that he is relying on local professionals -- architects, accountants and construction contractors, among them -- to complete the job that he expects to begin by mid-November.

"I think we can continue to spur economic development for this part of Tuscaloosa," Chisolm said while thanking the City Council for "providing a solid foundation of private investment" during these hard economic times.

"And I think it's extremely important to support local folks," he said.

One of those locals being supported by Chisolm, Tuscaloosa accountant and political action committee manager Mike Echols, took to the podium Tuesday to urge the City Council to support the project.

Echols praised Chisolm as "a fine man" who "will do a fine job as a developer," and he warned the City Council that should it reject The Balcony, something less desirable could take over the lot.

"If this project isn't approved, I don't know what you'll be looking at," Echols said.

There was little discussion over the Hilton Home2 Suites development, which will feature 113 rooms with 109 parking spaces.

The building will face University Boulevard with the parking in the back. …

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