Birmingham's Crossplex is playing in the big leagues. The city was chosen to host eleven NCAA Championships for indoor sports including track & field, swimming and diving, and wrestling. City leaders say hosting these events will impact the Magic City in a positive.
Again and again with 'Birmingham' appeared on the screen. For each victory, the room exploded with cheers and applause. Over the next four years, the Crossplex will host eleven NCAA Divisions one through three.
Birmingham Chief of Operations, Jarvis Patton, says the city leaders and Crossplex employees in this room aren't the only ones who have reason to celebrate. He says the entire city should be celebrating.
"There has not been a person who has been here who didn't celebrate after they leave telling people everybody how great the Crossplex is. And it's just the beginning of the things that can happen here at Crossplex," said Patton.
Patton says the influx of people expected to attend the championship events will bring in much needed revenue for the five points west area.
"Last year, on any given day when there was a major event here every food eatery in this place sold out of food. So that tells you what the impact is,"said Patton.
Still, even with high hopes and expectations for the NCAA events, there is one question people will continue to ask: When will hotel accommodations in that area come to fruition?
"The number one question is 'Mr. Patton when are y'all going to build a hotel here?' that's the next thing we're about the business of doing so it will generate revenue, a tax base for the city of Birmingham," said Patton.
In fact, the director for an Atlanta-based real estate firm was on hand to talk about the plans for the 30 plus acres of land surrounding the Crossplex.
"We're looking right now at probably a limited service hotel that would service the patrons of Crossplex. We've got great interest from the hotel groups. We've got two or three that we are currently working with so right now it's about finding the group that offers the best deal and really is the most compatible with Crossplex," said Edrick Harris with H.J. Russell & Company.
This is the second time this year that Birmingham has received recognition for one of its new sports facilities. Regions field was named Ballpark of The Year by the website, ballparks.com.