Businessman wants to set up near Railroad Park

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - New businesses may soon come to the Railroad Park area of downtown Birmingham.

At Monday's Budget and Finance Committee meeting, councilors agreed on a $1 million loan to help a developer make this project happen.

The property is located at the corner of 18th Street South and 2nd Avenue South, just down the street from Railroad Park. Derek Waltchak wants to buy the building and move his business from Vestavia to Birmingham and convert the rest of property to office and retail space and lofts. He said the move will be good for his business.

"After seeing Railroad Park and seeing effect on the community and what that's doing for that area, we said how can we play in this game and get there?" said Waltchak.

District 5's Councilor Johnathan Austin said other investors are interested in moving to the area as well. He hopes this new business will be the first of many that bring a boost to downtown.

"You look at what's happened with Railroad Park and that area," said Austin, "I've said this from day one, there is a huge interest in it, with this new development that is coming, it will add value and vitality to an area that needs it."

People who hang out in Railroad Park said they would love to see some new additions nearby.
"I can see my friends running or playing frisbee in the park and going across the street to go to lunch or dinner or something," said Natalie McCormick. "It would be nice."

Approving the loan will go before the whole city council again in two weeks. Developers plan to purchase the property in March, and hope to start renovations this summer.

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