Birmingham, Alabama, has a serious case of nostalgia. Seemingly overnight, the city’s downtown district is seeing historic hotel renovations in properties that haven’t drawn attention in decades. “Everyone is moving back downtown from the suburbs,” says Barry Hoehn, director of convention sales and marketing for the Greater Birmingham CVB. Hoehn intimates the great migration is having a positive effect on the area’s meetings industry, which is evident in the events the city recently hosted for American Academy of Optometry, National Speech & Debate Association, United Steelworkers, International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, and more.
Take Redmont Hotel Birmingham, which is undergoing a $20 million overhaul to become a Curio Collection by Hilton property. Built in the 1920s, it will reopen in April 2016 with 120 rooms, two elegant ballrooms, two boardrooms and a rooftop terrace. Only five blocks away, a $45 million project ushers in two Marriott flags in 2016: Empire Hotel will have 117 rooms, meeting space and a rooftop bar, while the adjoining former Alagasco headquarters will be a 120-room hotel.