Historic School Has Been Saved from the Wrecking Ball

Nearly burnt down by a fire back in 2011, Birmingham’s historic Powell School was recently saved from the chopping block when the city passed a plan that will turn the old school into downtown apartments.

The city of Birmingham is requesting $3.7 million in federal HUD loans in order to transform the historic school located at 2329 Sixth Ave. N. into a 24-unit apartment building. The $3.7 million would be part of a 20-year loan on behalf of Atlanta-based Integral Development.

Birmingham’s Director of Community Development John Colon says that, “We think this is a deal that’s going to happen. It is something that compliments Park Place and is going to bring more housing options into the marketplace. It also takes a long-neglected, blighted property and increases property values.”

After catching on fire in 2011, the historic school was originally meant to be torn down, until local historic preservationists urged the city to find another option. The preservationists group known as the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, was then granted $500,000 by the city in order to spruce up the old school and have the roof replaced.

Former President of Operation New Birmingham and Alabama Trust volunteer Michael Calvert says that they are very excited to see how the apartments turn out and that they are glad that Integral is the company in charge of repurposing the historic school.

Birmingham City Council endorsed the application just two weeks ago.

If you are moving to Birmingham and looking to rent, check online for when the Powell School apartments’ completion date will be and a local Birmingham moving company will be happy to move your belongings into one of the city’s historical landmarks.

2014 Christmas Events in Birmingham

If you are moving to Birmingham this month and are looking for fun family Christmas festivities, your local Birmingham moving company has compiled a list of scheduled Christmas events for the 2014 holiday season.

1) A Parade of Holiday Movies: the Gardendale Christmas Parade will take place on Thursday, December 4 at 6 p.m., with a theme of “Favorite Christmas Movies”. Following the parade will be a Christmas tree lighting at the Gardendale Civic Center, where Santa Claus and Christmas carols can be found.

2) The Regional Library at Warrior will be hosting a Christmas Tree Extravaganza on Saturday, December 6 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Christmas Tree Extravaganza can be found at the armory on Cane Creek Road and families can pick out their own Christmas tree to take home, while visiting the decorated tree, doing arts and crafts, and entering to win a raffle.

3) The Warehouse in Gardendale will be hosting a Holidays at the Warehouse event on Saturday, December 6 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 7 at 3 p.m. You and your family can enjoy having a great laugh as actors act out various holiday-themed skits. The skits are Rated R and tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students.

4) The Birmingham Community Concert Band will be joining the 2014 Christmas events with Music of the Season. This Christmas concert will take place on Sunday, December 7 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gardendale Civic Center and is free to the public.

5) The Warrior Christmas Parade will be on Thursday, December 18 at 6 p.m. this year.

Alabama Votes YES on Amendment 3

As part of the 2014 mid-term election ballot, the Alabama Right to Bear Arms, Amendment 3, better known to the Alabama Legislature as House Bill 8, has been passed.

Holding 72 percent of votes, the official ballot title of the measure read as follows:

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and that any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny; and to provide that no international treaty or law shall prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with a citizen’s fundamental right to bear arms.”

The summary that was provided for correct interpretation by voters was as follows:

“Amendment 3 provides that every citizen has the fundamental right under the State Constitution to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the State. Amendment 3 also provides that this right would be entitled to the highest protection of the law.

Amendment 3 also protects a citizen from being compelled by any treaties or laws of another country to take an action which would prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with his or her right to bear arms if that treaty or law would violate the United States Constitution.

If Amendment 3 IS PASSED, the right to bear arms will be elevated under the State Constitution to a fundamental right and given the highest possible protection. This right will also be provided with additional protection from potential interference by international treaty or foreign law.

If Amendment 3 IS DEFEATED, the right to bear arms in Alabama will still exist in the State Constitution, but will not be declared as a fundamental right and may not be subject to the highest possible protection. The right to bear arms will also not be protected from potential interference by international laws and treaties.

No source of funding is required for this law.

The measure will have no impact on taxes.

The Constitutional authority for passage of this Amendment is set forth in Sections 284, 285, and 287 of the State Constitution. These sections outline the way a constitutional amendment may be put to the people of the State for a vote.”

With a total of 714,389 votes in support, the amendment was PASSED and amends Article I, Section 26 of the Alabama Constitution.

Supporters argued that the amendment would simply strengthen the current Alabama right to keep and bear arms and ensure the highest level of constitutional protection.

If you are moving to Birmingham and are an avid concealed weapons carrier, rest assured that you and your family can be safe and protected by the Alabama Constitution in the unfortunate event that you may need to use a concealed weapon in self-defense.

Governor Robert Bentley Celebrates a Second Term

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley won by a landslide yesterday during midterm elections. The Republican candidate beat Democratic opponent Parker Griffith after collecting 58 percent of the votes.

The governor’s allies hope that this will allow him to continue to push his current agenda.

Bentley and over 500 supporters celebrated his victory last night at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery, where Bentley thanked voters and said, “We have the absolute greatest, hardworking, loving, caring, toughest people and I’m talking about Alabamians.”

In the past four years, over Bentley’s watch, the state has seen unemployment reduced, jobs created, and government revamped to work more efficiently. But Bentley promises more.

“I can promise you this: I will work hard every day to honor the trust they have given me. And I’m asking every public official … to do the same, he said. “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to continue to serve you.”

Bentley faces challenges in his upcoming term that include: the cutting of $230 million from the General Fund and the crisis in the state’s prison system where overcrowding and the abuse of prisoners (especially women prisoners) may lead to the system being taken over by the federal government.

If you are moving to Birmingham, Governor Bentley welcomes you and your family and hopes that his initiatives will help serve newcomers with jobs and an efficient state government system.

2014 Kid-friendly Halloween events in Birmingham

From haunted hayrides, corn mazes, walking trails, to scream parks, there is no shortage of haunted attractions in Alabama around Halloween! Even though Halloween is supposed to be scary, some events may not be suitable for younger children. If you and your family are moving to Birmingham this October, be sure to check out these kid-friendly events.

  1. Smith Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch: Although it is called “the SCARIEST Corn Maze in Alabama”, this attraction is suitable for all ages as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Get chased by Goblins and Ghouls and then catch your breath by roaming the pumpkin patch. This year also features a walk-through haunted house. Open every weekend through Halloween, Smith Farms Corn Maze is open from 7:00-11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  2. CornDodgers Farm Haunted Trail: This family fun farm welcomes all ages. Prepare to get lost in the haunted maze, take pictures with the pumpkins, try the corn cannon, and check out the barn. The Haunted Trail Maze will be open October 18, 24, 25, 31, and November 1 starting at 8:00 p.m.
  3. Springville Pumpkin Patch: This family pumpkin patch has a bouncy house! Your children can bounce around, get their face painted, catch a hayride, play games, and so much more. Plan on spending the day at the Springville Pumpkin Patch.
  4. Atrox Factory: known as “The Southeast Largest Haunted Attraction”, this 50,000 square foot indoor madhouse is only recommended for children aged 12 years and up. This is the perfect place to take your young teens for the ultimate Halloween that will leave them begging to go back next year. Tickets are $18 during the week and $23 Friday and Saturday, and will be open from October 3 – November 1st this year.
  5. Oktoberfest Trussville: will take place on October 11, 2014 and is the annual authentic German festival. With no admission charge, food, drinks, music, and a pumpkin patch; guests can enjoy this German fest from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. located at Holy Infant of Praque. Eat breakfast and lunch while partaking in festivities, and take dinner home.

Need more? Check out more kid-friendly Halloween events in Birmingham, and let All My Sons Moving Company assist you and your family in all of your moving needs this fall.

43rd Annual Shrimp Fest

The 43rd Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama is THIS WEEKEND!

Featuring dozens of events and hundreds of vendors, the 43rd Annual National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores is prepared to face amazing weather and a HUGE crowd this weekend.

According to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber of Commerce, the yearly festival attracts 250,000 visitors each year. With no ticket sales, festival vendors serve on a first-come-first-serve basis and expect to sell out fast.

Starting on Thursday, the festival will last through Saturday, October 11, and will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Over the years the festival has seen change. Locals would argue that it is not entirely a “Shrimp Fest”, as it used to be all about seafood…and more importantly, SHRIMP. Today, the festival aims to appeal to everyone, not just shellfish lovers. 42 food vendors serve up shrimp in more ways than the average person could try in one weekend, but there are also vendors who serve meats or shell-less fish.

With 120 arts and crafts tents, 15 artists’ displays, over 100 retail vendors, and more food than you can imagine…Shrimp Fest is a blast for the entire family!

Shrimp Fest Idol will return this year for high schoolers to participate in…mimicking the infamous television show American Idol. The winner receives $1,000 and another $1,000 is awarded to their school.

This year, the organizers of Shrimp Fest have brought in younger and more popular country artists in order to engage a younger crowd and increase the festival’s attendance.

Each year, Shrimp Fest raises funds for education. The Shrimp Fest 10k/5k run attracts roughly 700 runners annually. Perhaps the best part is that participants do not necessarily have to run; last year, many people in wheelchairs or pushing strollers also participated in order to support the education cause.

If you have recently chose to move to Birmingham and are not sure what the popular activities in the area are, check out Shrimp Fest before it ends tomorrow! If you just so happened to miss the event, be sure to go next year!

An Alabama School is Searched the Most by Home Buyers

It’s no secret that when people begin looking for real estate, they research a few common factors such as zip code, nearby amenities, demographics, and school zone. While all of these factors are important, some weigh very strongly in the resale value of your home. Namely, the school district. Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000, are said to be urban dwellers, but there is one thing that can pull them back to the suburbs: schools.

One school in Alabama is searched more often than most, with data from the National Association of Realtors sharing that the St. James Catholic School in Gadsden, Alabama is the number 2 school that is searched on the entire site. St. James Catholic School was started in 1912 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

If you are moving to Birmingham or a suburb of the city, then you are likely looking in the St. James district as well. Gadsden is located about 56 miles (90 km) northeast of Birmingham, Alabama. It certainly makes an impact on the price these homes sell for, too. Other schools on the list include elementary and secondary schools from Minnesota, Texas, New York, Florida, California and Kentucky.

Residential Sales Improve in Birmingham

Curious about the state of the real estate market in Birmingham, Alabama? Housing sales for the month of July saw improvement from June and a significant jump from July 2013, according to data obtained from the Alabama Center for Real Estate. The market is showing great news for both sellers and buyers, and the median sales price for the region held strong at $174,000, which is a small drop (2 percent) from June 2014 and a slightly larger dip (5 percent) from July 2013. On the flip side, average sales prices hit $220,976, a 0.3 percent increase over June’s price. Demand is definitely fueling the excitement for the local industry, and the number of available units has dropped 1.8 percent from June and 7 percent from July 2013, so the need for new construction is imperative to keep the market moving in the Birmingham area.
Birmingham’s lowest July numbers date back to 2010, when 735 homes were sold. That figure is a 79 percent difference from 2014. The 1,320 units sold in July were 3 percent higher than June’s numbers and 11.2 percent higher than July 2013. This pace also broke the five-year average of 986 (33 percent) from 2009 until 2013. Thinking of moving to Birmingham? We recommend a few tips:
-Have your mortgage pre-approval ready. If you find a home you love, you need to act fast
-Be prepared to be frustrated. In a competitive market, you’ll likely encounter cash buyers who will likely get the deal over you.
-Enlist an expert. Hiring a realtor might cost money, but they know the market better than you do. Trust the experts.
-Trust your gut, too. If something seems off or seems too good to be true, take a step back. Don’t let the pressure to buy get you stuck with a home that is filled with problems.

Millennials Buying Homes in Birmingham

Recently, there has been plenty of debate on millennials and their real estate habits, which mostly tend to lean towards renting in urban areas. According to a new study by Builder magazine, Birmingham ranks as #2 in the nation for home buyers in the 18-34 age range. The magazine states that the growth for 2012-2013 for new buyers moving to Birmingham and the surrounding metro grew 23.9 percent, putting Birmingham just behind Honolulu.
Millennials are already a major contributor to the Birmingham economy and their presence is becoming more prized as Baby Boomer workers retire. Many of the technology start-ups, the advanced manufacturing and the emerging industries that recruiters prize are targeting millennials for their workforce. In recent years, it seems Birmingham has tried to become a southern metro city with plenty to offer young professionals, competing with the likes of Atlanta and Baton Rouge.
millennials are coming to Birmingham and finding a revitalized downtown, great venues for dining and entertainment and groups like Young Professionals of Birmingham that are creating an attractive energy. It is only natural that they are looking to put down roots and buy homes in the area as well.

Home Sales up 4 Percent in Birmingham

Moving to Birmingham? You might want to act quick as home sales are picking up in the area and leaving little inventory left for prospective buyers. The Birmingham Association of Realtors released its June home sales report this month, including figures for the first six months of the year which state that home sales are up 4 percent for the first half of this year compared to the same months in 2013.
Home sales for the month of June totaled 1,272, which we previously shared as a 14 percent jump from June 2013. However, both the average home sales price of $220,469 and the median home price of $177,500 were 4 percent and 7 percent lower, respectively, than in June 2013. The housing inventory of 7,586 in June 2014 was 5 percent lower than the 7,964 homes on the market a year ago.
So what does this mean for people interested in moving to Birmingham? The average sales price will likely pick back up, and foreclosures were factored into sales and likely skewed the average price for homes that are updated and ready to move into.