MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – If the Corps of Engineers gets its way — the portion of Civic Center property — roughly three acres — at the corner of Canal and Claiborne could be its new home.
“They are interested in putting a multi-story building there and consolidating all of their offices here in mobile — which right now are scattered amongst several sights. Once that happens there’s also a proposal to put in a 1,000 to 1,200 space parking deck that would serve as not only the Corps of Engineers building but would also replace all the surface parking that we have in the Civic Center area,” said James Barber, Mayor Stimpson’s Chief of Staff.
But before that can happen — the Planning Commission is requiring the City of Mobile submit a “master plan for zoning” — which would dictate what could go on this prime piece of real estate.
It comes as the city awaits recommendations from Populous Architects — who they hired to develop a revitalization plan for the existing Arena and Theater. Councilman William Carroll is very interested in those plans — as it sits in his district.
“I view the Civic Center — the same way as I do Ladd Stadium — I think they both should be spared demolition… And they both should be put into a program where they become revenue-generating facilities,” said Councilman Carroll.
According to Barber, tearing down the Arena and rebuilding it would cost an estimated billion dollars — while early estimates on renovations are at around $125-million.
When it comes to the rest of the 27-acre property — Barber says there’s been no formal proposals there has been interest in building retail, restaurant and residential possibilities.
“There’s been interest — the way it was brought to me they’re interested in the entire Civic Center site… And so the Corps building has interfered with some of their hopes but we will wait and see what proposals come in,” explained Barber.
According to Barber — Populous will reveal its recommendations and what they could cost on Thursday and then the city will submit a master plan to the Planning Commission next month. Meanwhile, if all goes well the Corps of Engineers could begin construction by the first of the year.
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