Performa moves to finance BJCC entertainment district

11.14.2007 by Andr√© Natta · → Leave a comment

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BJCC complex aerial shot

An aerial view of the current BJCC complex. Photo credit: Bob Farley/f8photo

Performa Entertainment chief John Elkington said his company has enough interested tenants for the proposed BJCC Entertainment District for developers to move forward with financing the $50+ million project.

Elkington called the proposed district “a financially sound” project, now that at least 60 percent of the retail and restaurant spaces will be taken by the end of November. “We’re now switching letters of intent into leases,” Elkington said. “No one we have talked to has turned us down and said they don’t want to be here. That’s a good sign.”

Elkington introduced Brian Kunzair, a vice president with DTZ Rockwood, to the BJCC board during its regular meeting today. The Chicago-based real estate financial group is working with Performa of Memphis to put together proposals to secure money from banks and investors. Once the project has at least 70 percent of its spaces taken, the district’s developers can then close on their loan.

That would put Performa on target to meet its financing goals by the first quarter of next year, and to begin construction that will complete the district in 14 months, Elkington said.

Kunzair, who came on a fact-finding mission with Elkington, said he was encouraged by the broad community support for the District, judging by their meetings with officials from the Birmingham Regional Chamber, Operation New Birmingham, the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“There are good synergies happening in Birmingham that will tie into this project,” he said.

Elkington said the economy is tough now, and borrowing money is difficult. But he and DTZ hope to convince bankers and investors that Birmingham is undergoing a rebirth, that the kind of businesses coming to the district will meet untapped needs. He said a long line of customers outside the Sheraton Subway sandwich shop is one proof of that.

He said DTZ’s market projections will show investors “Birmingham represents a great opportunity and this (project) represents the city of the future.”

Vickii Howell is the editor in chief of Birmingham View.

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Filed under: 35203 · Alabama · Birmingham · BJCC · Business · Entertainment