Forum to explore whether downtown Mobile needs more residential real estate

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The main entrance of the St. Francis Place condominium complex at 753 St. Francis Street in downtown Mobile is seen Thursday, Mar. 18, 2010. (Press-Register file photo)

MOBILE, Alabama — The Downtown Mobile Alliance will hold a symposium on residential real estate Thursday, centering on the question of whether the downtown area need more multi-family homes.

The two-hour long session will start at 3 p.m. at the Center for Living Arts followed by a reception. Professionals with backgrounds in real estate market analysis, consulting and financial methods will give presentations and also take questions.

The Alliance recently commissioned Zimmerman/Volk Associates, Inc to study how many residents could the city attract to downtown over the next few years. The findings of that report will also be revealed during the forum.

This adds to the long term efforts to revitalize downtown by renovating empty or derelict buildings. Fred Renfrey, the alliance’s director for economic development, said the meeting is designed to stoke the public’s interest in stimulating downtown.

Speakers will draw from successful efforts in cities similar to Mobile’s size in population, like Jackson, Miss., Shreveport, La. and Chattanooga, Tenn.

"They’re going to do a couple of case studies," Renfrey said, displaying how to convert a parking lots and commercial buildings.

Representatives from Birmingham’s Rock Apartment Advisors and Capital One Multifamily finance will also speak.

"They’re going to talk about how some of these complicated deals are getting financed in other markets," Renfrey said. "We’re just trying to tee up property owners, investors, developers, the brokerage community and let them learn from some folks who’ve seen it (done)."

Tickets are $25 for members of the Downtown Mobile Alliance; $35 for non-members; and $50 after Nov. 3. Seating is limited. Call (251)434-8498 for more information.

If you go:

Downtown Residential Workshop: What to Build?

Thursday, Nov. 6

3 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Centre for the Living Arts (301 Conti Street)

Third Floor Terrace Room

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