Who we are
We always strive for the best.
Urban Impact, Inc.
Urban Impact Inc. (UII) is a local place based economic development agency that advances asset building, economic opportunity and development of the district through support and services to individuals, businesses and developers.
Urban Impact, Inc.
In 1979, Urban Impact, Inc. (UII) was founded with a mission which consisted of the following theme’s, preservation, redevelopment and economic development. The UII development district is defined as the "west side of 18th Street N to 15th Street N and north side of 2nd Avenue N to Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd. (8th Avenue N)”. The work of the agency would be executed through a series of public/private partnerships with the City of Birmingham and others, as a result much was accomplished. In April, 1982 UII successfully nominated the Fourth Avenue Business District to the National Register of Historic Places. This designation brought with it tax and investment advantages along with incentives for district businesses. Many of the merchants took advantage of the new programs which led to the first turnaround of the district. The greater 4th Avenue Business District (which includes the Civil Rights District) also includes the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, The Colored Masonic Temple, Kelly Ingram Park, the Civil Rights Institute, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and St. Paul United Methodist Church, the A.G. Gaston Motel, and a number of other district landmarks.
4th Ave. District
Urban Impact wanted to save and restore the remaining buildings — and save the memories of treasured places – before they were completely gone.
In April 1982, Urban Impact worked successfully to have the Fourth Avenue Business District nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. This designation brought with it tax incentives and investment advantages to businesses and building owners. With the assistance of Mayor Richard Arrington and the Birmingham City Council, Urban Impact created many programs to improve business opportunities for socially- and economically-disadvantaged business owners in the area.
These programs encouraged many of the black merchants – who were renting their buildings from the absentee landlords — to purchase their buildings outright. The programs and other incentives from the historic designation enabled the city and the merchants to completely renovate the inside and outside of Fourth Avenue buildings.
Urban Impact also worked strategically with local media and the police to end illicit criminal activity along Fourth Avenuein the early ’80s. This activity had tarnished the district’s reputation, scared away customers and kept the area economically depressed.
With newly refurbished buildings owned by the merchants themselves, and an end to distracting criminal activity, Urban Impact successfully helped revitalize the entire Fourth Avenue area.
Today, Birmingham’s Fourth Avenue Historic District is one of only a few remaining Black business districts that remains intact in the State of Alabama.
Mr. Greg Gratton
Mr. Sammie Bibb, Jr.
Mr. Willie Etheridge, Jr.
Rev. Arthur Price, Jr.
Mrs. Leola Early
A. Jackie Robinson, III
Henry L. Penick, Esq.
Dr. Delmous Vance, III
Lonnie A Washington, Esq.
Ivan W. Holloway
We've got a top notch team!
Ivan W. Holloway
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Urban Impact?
Urban Impact is the economic development engine for the Historic 4th Avenue Business District and the greater Civil Rights District, a nationally renowned destination district in the city of Birmingham. This prime development area is home to the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame/Carver Theater, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Birmingham Civil Rights Activist Committee, Eddie Kendricks Memorial Park. Kelly Ingram Park and the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and tourists and visitors to various parts of the district exceed 140,000 annually.
2. What does Urban Impact do?
Urban Impact provides services to private-sector clients who are considering locating or expanding their business in the district.
3. How long has Urban Impact been here
Urban Impact has been in the district since 1980. Please visit our About Page for more information.
4. Is Urban Impact a non-profit?
Urban Impact is a non-profit organization receiving funding from various sources to assist in the economic development of the 4th Avenue business corridors and the greater Civil Rights District.
5. Is Urban Impact open for tours on weekends?
Not usually, but on a case-by-case basis, and by appointment only, we have made our facility available on weekends. Please contact us for more information.
6. What events does Urban Impact have available for the community?
What was formerly known as 1st Fridays in Kelly Ingram Park, we host a series of musical events from May through July. We also host the 4th Avenue Christmas Parade and various Black History events. Urban Impact is also often a sponsor for other community events as well. Please check back with us often or our website for future events.
7. To whom does a potential merchant contact about available space in the district?
Potential merchants can call the Urban Impact office to receive a list of space available, if applicable.
8. What services are available for merchants and business owners in the district?
Some of the services we offer include assisting merchants with lease agreements, applying for tax identification numbers, general clerical assistance and marketing resources. Individual counseling, workshops, financial product reviews and information exchange for merchants is also available.
9. What area is considered “The District” and is there expansion on the horizon?
The 4th Avenue District covers 18th Street North to 14th Avenue North, Abraham Woods Blvd and the Fountain Heights Community to 3rd Avenue North. Please contact our office for specific questions concerning boundaries and future expansion.
10. What types of businesses are you looking to locate in the District?
You name it! Currently the district is home to a number of eateries and retail shops, expanding on the theme of entertainment and retail to support the growth of the tourism industry is one opportunity. Other opportunities include professional services, technology and nonprofit agencies.