Proud Placemaker: Daniel Odrezin, Loft District

Hey, Daniel! So let’s dive right in- where do you call home?

I live downtown in Cityville Block 121.  I am a native of the Birmingham metro area, but I grew up in Mountain Brook.  

Ooh we love hearing from Birmingham natives! Why did you choose city-living instead of heading back to the ‘burbs?

When I decided to move back to the Birmingham area after college and law school at the University of Alabama, I was especially drawn to downtown.  I grew up in Mountain Brook and have close friends living in surrounding areas, but I was intent on moving downtown because I felt a real renaissance taking place in the city.  I was excited about the development of Railroad Park and Regions Field as well as the growing nightlife and restaurant scene around the city center.  I wanted to be close to the action at a special time for Birmingham and downtown seemed like the perfect choice.

I chose Cityville Block 121 specifically for a number of reasons. The property offers exceptional amenities including a great pool and exercise center.  I was impressed by the floor plans, specifically the smaller studio options, as well as secure covered parking. In addition, I liked the fact that Cityville was an attractive place for young professionals.

I love the location within walking distance from both Railroad Park and Regions Field and short driving distance of everything Birmingham has to offer.  Five Points, Lakeview, Pepper Place, and the 2nd Avenue North restaurants and bars are just minutes away.  Growing up in Mountain Brook I rarely ventured downtown, and living right in the heart of city center is quickly making up for that time lost.

It’s so great that you decided to start your career back in Birmingham! We sure are glad you decided to venture back to the heart of the city. So what would you say is the great appeal about downtown living?

The benefits of Birmingham City living are far more immense than I could have ever imagined despite growing up just a few miles away. Some I anticipated when I chose to move to the city, and others I have only discovered over the past year.    

The exciting growth taking place within Birmingham’s city limits is well documented, but I believe you have to live in the city to truly appreciate it.  The constant flow of activity is visible every day and every night.  Live music, baseball games, events at Railroad park, the Saturday market at Pepper Place, and much more are immediately available for someone living in the city, especially downtown.  No plans are “too last minute” because all the excitement and entertainment is so close by.

City living provides residents with immediate access to the area’s best dining experiences as well.  Southside’s fine dining establishments like Bottega, Highlands Bar & Grill, and Hot n Hot Fish Club alone make living in the city the ideal choice for a foodie, but the restaurant scene expands far beyond the award winning cluster.  There is great Mexican at El Bario on 2nd Avenue North, unique pizza at Slice in Lakeview, craft beers at Good People, and just the right amount of food trucks all over town.  And there is more development to come from the area surrounding the ballpark to the Uptown entertainment district.  All of Birmingham’s city neighborhoods are within minutes of these great spots and much more.

Furthermore, living in the city puts you closer to landmarks like the Vulcan Park and Museum, The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the McWane Science Center, and the beautiful scenery surrounding the parks along Highland Avenue.

Finally, city living does not preclude someone from enjoying the great things that the metropolitan area has to offer.  Commercial areas like downtown Homewood, Crestline Village, Mtn. Brook Village, and The Summit all remain just a short distance from city neighborhoods.  Growing up, I thought of downtown Birmingham as a place far away, but I’ve come to realize it is truly in the center of it all.

Wow! You pretty much hit the nail on the head with all those benefits. It’s amazing how choosing to live in the city-center opens the door to new opportunities and adventures.  But what would you say to all the naysayers who still have hesitations about heading downtown?  

Birmingham provides that perfect combination of a small town feel with the opportunities and experiences offered by bigger cities.  The kindhearted and welcoming community has an entrepreneurial spirit that has fostered creativity and innovation during Birmingham’s unique renaissance.  This is especially true for young people who are finding great employment opportunities along with an exciting social scene.

With all that is going well in Birmingham today, I am convinced there is no better place to take it all in than in the heart of city center. The area is nestled between UAB’s medical district and FIve Points on the south side, and the financial and entertainment districts to the north.  The east side touches Pepper Place and Lakeview while Regions Field and Railroad Park sit to the west. Plainly stated, life in Cityville or the loft district is surrounded by the best of Birmingham on all sides. 

You can’t truly experience all that the new Birmingham has to offer without spending time working, playing, and living downtown.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thanks so much for sharing your story, Daniel!  Is there anything else you’d like to leave with us about what makes you such a Proud Placemaker?

I lived in Tel Aviv, Israel for six months.  It was an amazing experience that I will always cherish, but being so far away for so long made me appreciate my home in Birmingham even more.

Daniel currently serves at the Assistant Executive Director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, a non-profit organization that serves as the central representative body of Birmingham’s Jewish community.  You can follow all of his Bham adventures over on his Twitter @dkodrezin

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