When the new multipurpose stadium is constructed in downtown Birmingham, it will be called “Protective Stadium,” thanks to a 15-year agreement announced today between Protective Life Corporation and the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
“It’s a real exciting day,” said Tad Snider, executive director of the BJCC. “It’s the next step in what’s going to be a project for this community that everyone can be excited about.”
“Protective Stadium is a testament to the many local leaders, companies and entities across the community who have come together to accomplish a goal,” said Rich Bielen, president and CEO of Protective Life. “Together, with this stadium, Birmingham’s future is bright.”
“Pinch yourself – this is for real,” said Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens. “We are now attaining goals that were once only pipe dreams.”
The speakers praised each other for working together to move this project forward.
“Whenever we can get the city and the county and UAB and the business community and important civic organizations like BJCC all pulling together in the same direction, and we can work together on a bi-partisan and a bi-racial basis, great things will happen,” said John Johns, executive chairman of Protective Life.
“What we are seeing here today is a culmination of a lot of courage by a lot of people to step up and help out and make this community a better place,” added Dennis Lathem, chairman of the BJCC Board of Directors.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says the stadium is expected to generate nearly $10 million in tax revenue annually, revenue he says will be deposited into the city’s revitalization fund to be spent on improving the city’s 99 neighborhoods.
“Today is a landmark day for our city – not just because of our new Protective Stadium now has a name on it, it’s a day to emphasize the growing spirit of collaboration in our city,” said Woodfin. “I’ve spoken before about how, for generations, organizations have operated within their own silos in Birmingham. Well, we’re tearing down those silos. That good will paid dividends and will continue to pay dividends for our city.”
The stadium is expected to be completed in 2021 prior to the opening of the World Games in Birmingham. UAB Football will also move its home games to the stadium. Head coach Bill Clark says he’s been very appreciative of Legion Field, but this is the next step in growing the program.
“Our city is just going to take off more with this,” Clark said. “It’s been a long time coming. We’re excited.”
Schoel Engineering Company, Inc. recently completed the site survey and Populous is finalizing stadium designs for the $174 million open-air stadium. Relocation of underground utilities and foundational work is scheduled to be underway soon.