‘New venue for new era’: Alabama Power Railroad Park area steam plant to bring Birmingham a new kind of energy

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — For more than 100 years the Powell Avenue steam plant served a major source of energy for Birmingham.

Now leaders at Alabama Power Company want to use the historic building to generate new civic and cultural energy.

Alabama Power President Mark Crosswhite this afternoon announced the company’s plan to redevelop the former industrial plan into an entertainment and cultural center just across from Railroad Park and near the upcoming Rotary Trail.

“Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about the future of Powell Avenue,” Crosswhite told the Birmingham Rotary Club.

That vision could include restaurants, entertainment space and a possible museum at the site.

Crosswhite premiered two videos to the Rotary Club. One documented the history of the steam plant built in 1896 and closed in 2013. The second video illustrated the company’s vision for the 60,000-square-foot facility.

The video described the space as “a new venue for a new era.”

The property would also include the adjacent parking lot that the company purchased from the city in 2012.

“This is a concept,” Crosswhite said. “This is our vision of what Powell Avenue could be.

The company is currently conducting cleanup work at the site.

When Alabama Power bought the adjacent parking lot from the city for $2.95 million, the purchase ended the ‘Prize2theFuture’ initiative of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

However, Power

Company officials at the time said they were sensitive to the growing popularity of the area, and any development would complement surrounding amenities.

Exact costs and uses for the building are not yet solidified, but Crosswhite made it clear that his company is committed to preserving the historic site.

“What would be the cost of losing anther historic landmark in Birmingham? We believe Powell Avenue deserves to be restored for beneficial reuse,” he said.
The company today also created a website dedicated to its project:powellsteamplant.com.

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