The Western District has a rich and vibrant history. It’s most famed area, Five Points West, has been home to a shopping city, an amusement park, a fairground and even a man-made beach, but the one thing that’s remained the same throughout the years is the heart of its residents. Keep reading to learn more!
Southerners like to stick to their roots, and the western district is no different. That’s why 80 years later we’re still in the business of, well, business! Thanks to the heavy concentration of traffic generated by industrial development in the western area, in 1941 the Shepherd Sloss Investment Company decided to invest in the construction of the Five Points West Shopping City. The area quickly became the shopping epicenter of Birmingham, a major attraction for the nearby local residents who frequented the busy hub. The main retail strips were designed by James Gatling, who also designed Shepherd-Sloss' Plaza Stores on Highland Avenue.
Five Points West was also previously home to the historic Alabama State Fairgrounds. The 117 acre exhibition ground boasted the Birmingham International Raceway and the Alabama State Fair. Vulcan the Iron Man was even once displayed at the fairgrounds after it was brought to Birmingham from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Big things are happening at Five Points West. Our latest development is the CrossPlex Village, a 38-acre hotel, retail and entertainment center, which adjoins the Birmingham CrossPlex on the 82-acre site of the former Alabama State Fairgrounds. This project comes in perfect time for the 2022 World Games, a major international multi-sport event that showcases Olympic-quality games and its participating athletes and countries. Among other features, the development boasts state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including an Olympic-sized pool and an indoor track stadium, a hotel, restaurants and a Community Store Starbucks not to be found anywhere else in Alabama. Other cherished and prominent businesses at Five Points West include Marino’s Market, Bama Health Foods and Lena’s East of the Mississippi Diner.
Our businesses are actively committed to giving back to the community they call home. Anthony Marino of Marino’s Market offers college scholarships through his Education with a Purpose program. The Starbucks Community Store provides in-store training so that its employees may receive a National Retail Federation Customer Service Certification, offering them a competitive advantage in their future careers. Bama Health Foods often hosts leadership workshops. These are just a few examples of the dedication the Five Points West tenants have to bolstering our community.
Five Points West can’t wait to welcome elite, international athletes to Birmingham for the 2022 World Games! This global event will bring an estimated economic impact of $256 million to the city, with an influx of roughly 100,000 athletes and spectators.