Examining the feasibility of building and operating a large event venue has been a task of the Elevate Advisory Council since the early days of Elevate. Before COVID, the Advisory Council selected Johnson Consulting to investigate the demand for such a space and determine the feasibility of construction and operation.
Since Johnson resumed their work in mid-2021, they have spent many months visiting venues and conducting stakeholder surveys with community members including local business owners, sports groups, The University of Alabama and more. Throughout this process, they have worked closely with Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, the Chamber of Commerce, and PARA.
Recently, Johnson presented their preliminary recommendations to the Cultural Arts & Tourism Committee. Based on their research, they have determined that Tuscaloosa would benefit from a multi-purpose hall of over 20,000 square feet with flexible break-out spaces. Though Tuscaloosa currently has multiple event venues including the Bryant Conference Center, each of these existing venues have below 10,000 square feet of space, and are not equipped to handle larger events.
According to Johnson, rather than competing with Tuscaloosa’s current event venues, a large venue with a flexible multi-purpose space of over 20,000 square feet plus breakout meeting rooms would fill a gap in our community’s resources – creating the ability for us to host larger conferences, trade shows, and potentially indoor sporting events.
Before presenting their final recommendation this spring, Johnson will conduct a site analysis, a capital construction analysis, and demand projections and estimate the operational cost. This information will be considered when determining the final recommendation on size, programming, and location.
“These ideas are not yet set in stone, but I’m excited about the potential of this project for our community and look forward to hearing Johnson’s final recommendations,” Mayor Walt Maddox said. “The City of Tuscaloosa is constantly growing and evolving and I believe that the addition of a large event space could be hugely beneficial to our community.”
To see Johnson’s full preliminary recommendations presentation, click “view synopsis” under the Cultural Arts & Tourism January 27 meeting on this page.