Mixed blessings

Outwardly healthy

Yesterday there was an advertised notice in the Birmingham News that Jemison Flats, the luxury mixed-use apartment building housed in the former Chamber of Commerce building on the 1900 block of First Avenue North, has been foreclosed and is up for auction. It is item #659 visible at this auction link, with a minimum bid of $2,275,000 (a seemingly very low figure).

This is a sobering example of the continued turmoil in real estate markets: while outwardly successful, full of happy residential and commercial tenants, hidden aspects of the project financing probably became an issue over the last few years.

We have worked on several plans for exciting projects, downtown and otherwise, that are on hold indefinitely due to lack of financing. While interesting, small-scale projects that are mainly owner-financed are thankfully still occurring, and very large-scale institutional projects (hospitals) are also occurring–there’s a huge swath of potential that’s not being realized right now. Hopefully these projects–and the Jemison Flats building– will get back on their feet as soon as possible.

[thanks to argusfoto for the pic]

4 responses to “Mixed blessings

  1. I hope there is still a bright future for Jemison Flats. I remember measuring, photographing, drawing and modelling that building (and parking deck) about 15 years ago. Frank Setzer, the director of the Auburn Studio, was lobbying Auburn University and others to purchase for an enlarged university presence in Birmingham, student apartments, and other tenants.

    • We all do–hopefully this episode will end, and the building itself will continue to attract tenants and thrive. You bring up an interesting subject–the need for Auburn Urban Studio to have a larger presence in this city. They’ve done a great job with limited resources; if I were to wave a magic wand, though, I’d move the whole architecture department to Birmingham.

  2. Too, bad for the investors. It was done well. This was done long enough ago I would have thought it immune from the recent turmoil.

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