Growth continues in Tuscaloosa amid the coronavirus pandemic

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Some Tuscaloosa city leaders were concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic could possibly mean a slow-down for growth and construction projects in Tuscaloosa and on campus at the University of Alabama.  But not so says Ashley Crites; she is the City Director of Planning.  

“So there are a lot that have been permitted and are under construction today,” Crites said. “But then you see, in downtown, you’ve got hotels going up and interest in new restaurants going in. And you’ve also got growth going on near our interchanges on I -20.”

According to Crites, there are three student housing developments and two new hotels under construction. On the University of Alabama campus, there are also eight construction projects being built.  

“Our office is still reviewing permits and we are still issuing permits,” Crites said. “And it’s fabulous to see that in spite of the pandemic and a variety of things that could be working against the city,  people are still wanting to grow and do things.”

The current projects under construction at UA include:

  • Capstone College of Nursing Addition – expected to open in Jan. 2021 – Budget: $14,362,000.
  • Math and Science Education Building Renovation – Expected completion is Jan. 2021 – Budget: $25,148,051.
  • Moody Music Building Restoration – Expected to open during Spring Semester 2021 – Budget: $9,200,000. ($8.8 million of this is from insurance.)
  • 2nd Avenue Overpass – Expected completion is Aug. 2021 – Budget: $20,926,130. ($6 million of this came from federal grants)
  • Hewson Hall, a new building for the Culverhouse College of Business – expected to open in Aug. 2021 – Budget: $54,380,735.
  • New Tutwiler Residence Hall – expected to open in Fall 2022 – Budget: $144,900,659.
  • Peter Bryce Main Renovation – Expected completion is TBD – Budget: $40,000,000.
  • Water Distribution System Enhancements (the new water tower) – Expected completion is TBD – Budget: $650,000.

City Councilman Lee Busby represents District 4. He says this is good news that the city continues to see growth and its great for the economy.

“It has exceeded anything any of us anticipated in March or April,” Busby said. “We were prepared for a complete long turn growth slowdown but that’s not where we are and that’s good news”.

Busby says the city council voted to put a cap on the amount of student housing complexes. It’s being done to regulate the amount of large student housing developments in the future.


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