The Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday night recommended approval for a Hindu temple in the former AMC discount theater off Lorna Road. as well as a 44-home subdivision in Bluff Park and a revised plan for the Trace Crossings Village Center.
All three of the proposals now go to the Hoover City Council for final approval.
The AMC Classic Lorna Ridge 10 movie theater, which closed permanently, is now proposed to be turned into a Hindu temple.
The 38,000-square-foot theater, which was built in 1983, is wanted for use by a Hindu congregation in Roebuck, city planner Mac Martin said.
The congregation has been in the Birmingham area since 1980 and is part of a religious organization that has been around since 1907, said Richard Deaver, who represented the congregation Monday night.
There are 91 similar Hindu temples across the United States, Deaver said. This congregation has services on Sundays and typically has 250 to 300 people at each service, he said.
The plan is to leave the exterior shell of the theater pretty much the same and renovate the interior to include a main worship area for up to 400 people, at least 14 classrooms, a kitchen, dining area, two play areas, lobby, prayer hall and a priest’s room with three bedrooms attached, according to a drawing submitted to the city.
This is the floor plan for a Hindu temple proposed at the former site of the AMC Classic Lorna Ridge 10 movie theater on Lorna Ridge Drive and Lorna Ridge Lane in Hoover, Alabama. The main worship area, seating up to 400, is at the right. The site also would include at least 14 classrooms, a kitchen, dining area, lobby, play areas, prayer hall and priest's room with three adjoining bedrooms.
The 280 parking spaces on the site are about double what is required for a facility of this size, according to the application.
Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice, a member of the planning commission, said he’s very excited to see a potential tenant for the theater.
Since the property has been vacant, there have been a lot of complaints about large trucks using the parking lot for overnight and extended parking, and some people have started using the property as a dump site for unwanted furniture and belongings, Rice said.
“It’s an old building,” Rice said. “It needs somebody in it, loving on it, taking care of it and keeping it clean for the neighborhood.”
Urmish Patel, a member of a Hindu congregation, said once his congregation takes over the site, they would make sure the facility is clean and work with the city to deter overnight or extended parking by trucks in the parking lot.
Rice said a group in the most recent class of Leadership Hoover has developed a proposal to make the Lorna Road corridor an international district for the city of Hoover.
There are a lot of international restaurants in that area, and he thinks this temple would enhance that concept and help turn Lorna Road into something the city celebrates and even markets to draw more businesses and facilities with an international flavor, he said.
Councilman Mike Shaw, another member of the planning commission, said he hopes the Hindu temple would have a domino effect and spur other redevelopment in that corridor.
“It’s sorely needed,” Shaw said. “I’m excited to see what will happen in that spot.”