MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — You may have seen many restaurants, bars and retail stores getting ready to open in Downtown Mobile, and construction happening around downtown.
“Dauphin Street is getting cleaned up, it’s good. It used to not feel safe walking around even in the daytime,” said Mobile resident Bob Johnson. “Lunchtime for me, now it’s cleaned up, they’re putting in a lot of new restaurants, businesses, places are getting painted, it’s starting to look nice downtown.”
By the end of the year, the Downtown Mobile Alliance said about 20 new businesses will have opened their doors in 2022.
“That’s everything from new restaurants, new retailers, several financial institutions, runs the gambit really, which is what you want in a really healthy, vibrant downtown,” said Carol Hunter, the communications director for the Downtown Mobile Alliance.
People who spend time downtown are looking forward to the continued growth. “We really didn’t have much to do downtown, every weekend it was the same old thing. So, new things new businesses coming, more for us to do, so I’m excited about it,” said Alexis Chestnut.
“Of course it’s a good sign! Growth! Good Growth,” said Johnson.
The new businesses while exciting for many, are also good for the City of Mobile.
“You can’t have a healthy resilient sustainable city without a vibrant downtown. It just can’t happen,” said Hunter. “Having a strong downtown that generates a lot of revenue, and a lot of the tax dollars that support the rest of the city is essential. I think the entire city benefits when downtown is healthy and growing.”
Downtown Mobile isn’t just seeing a business boom, but a residential boom too. Downtown Mobile Alliance said that is what makes the restaurant and retail growth sustainable.
And at an uncertain time after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic that caused some businesses to shut their doors.
“To have the same number of businesses opening this year has been happening in the past is maybe more remarkable because we’re coming out of a pandemic, and because the economy is a little shaky right now and people are not sure what the next several months are going to be,” said Hunter. “Perhaps the 20+ new businesses is an indication is a more remarkable period of growth than we might expect.”