Marketing/Recruitment Program

OED directs this program, which is a cooperative effort among the City of Birmingham, the Birmingham Business Alliance and REV Birmingham, to market vacant buildings and sites in the City of Birmingham. The program consists of coordinated permitting and inspection procedures, a database of available buildings and sites, and specially designed business incentives. For more information contact: Lisa Cooper at (205) 254-2657, Janice James Douthard at (205) 254-2273, Irenio Johnson, Jr. at (205)714-8668 or Griffin Lassiter at (205) 254-3007.

Business Retention Program

OED works proactively to better understand business concerns and attitudes. The City of Birmingham generates most of its new jobs and tax base from companies which already exist in our community. This program is conducted in cooperation with the Birmingham Business Alliance and REV Birmingham. For more information contact Andrew Mayo at (205) 254-2774.

Financial Services

OED offers a number of state and federal economic development financing programs including the following: SBA 504, SBA 7(a), SBA, and EDA Revolving Loans. For more information contact Irenio Johnson, Jr. at (205)714-8668.

Foreign Trade Zone No. 98

OED operates a 116-acre General Purpose Zone located at the Birmingham International Airport and special purpose Manufacturing Sub-Zones serving NAACO Industries and Mercedes-Benz USA. For more information contact Andrew Mayo at (205) 254-2774.

Merchants Association

OED staff serves as liaison to Merchants Associations to assist with various projects and promotional activities. The office works closely with REV Birmingham to revitalize the commercial areas throughout the city. For more information contact Andrew Mayo at (205) 254-2774, or Irenio Johnson, Jr. at (205)714-8668.

Industrial Parks Program

OED provides industrial park sites to new and expanding businesses. The City currently has sites available in four City-owned parks located within the City of Birmingham. OED is responsible for marketing the City’s industrial parks. For more information contact Janice James Douthard at (205) 254-2273.

Sister City Commission

The City of Birmingham began its Sister City Commission on April 23, 1982, when we established a Sister City relationship with Hitachi, Japan. The program is affiliated with Sister Cities International. The commission has as its purpose and goal to cultivate economic, social and cultural cooperation between the people of Birmingham and the people of selected cities around the world. Sister Cities is a people-to-people exchange program designed to enrich the cultural, educational, social and economic life of communities around the world. We have an active program and group of volunteers. We are always looking for people with an interest in working on our relationships. We serve the greater Birmingham Community. For more information contact Scotty Colson at (205)254-2317.

International Protocol

The Office of Economic Development handles a wide range of protocol issues for the Mayor and City Council including scheduling events, planning itineraries and providing background and briefing materials. Protocol events are important to the City of Birmingham because they garner goodwill among the community and bring added emphasis to international relations and development. For more information contact Scotty Colson at (205)254-2317.

The Next Big Thing

PROPOSED – EB-5 Visa Program

The EB-5 Visa Program, also known as the Immigrant Investor Program, grants entrepreneurs (their spouse and minor children) eligibility to apply for permanent residence in the United States. Congress created the program in 1990 to promote job creation and foreign investment with the objective of stimulating the U.S. economy. Eligibility to apply for this permanent residency program requires the applicants to:

  1. Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S.
  2. Investment must be valued at $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000)
  3. Investment must target high unemployment or rural areas
  4. Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers

Birmingham applied for Regional Center status in June 2016 with the application process taking up to 16 months. This application is currently pending approval. For more information contact Scotty Colson at (205)254-2317.