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Case Study

Downtown Historic Revitalization

Selma, AL


Selma is best known for the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches, led by Martin Luther King, Jr. to draw national attention to systematic racial voter suppression in Alabama and the need for federal voting rights protections. Significant local effort has been made to preserve the legacy of “Bloody Sunday,” and native Selmian Congresswoman Terri Sewell has tirelessly advocated for federal resources to support placemaking. Despite local efforts and interest from national parties, developing a sustainable pathway for long term economic recovery is an ongoing challenge. Selma is one of the most economically distressed communities in the nation, and nearly one-third of its residents are in poverty.

OPAL has worked collaboratively with local stakeholders to assess proposals from developers interested in investing in downtown Selma. Through this process, woman-owned, impact-oriented InVictus Development emerged as the strongest partner with a history of successful community-engaged development in Selma and throughout the Southeast. OPAL helped InVictus develop a long-range plan for inclusive, place-based development, beginning with two catalytic historic revitalization projects near the Edmund Pettus Bridge. OPAL has helped the development team draft pro formas, strategize capital stacks, and apply for lending from Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to position these deals for success.