This morning the Design Review Committee approved new illuminated signage at the top of the former Region’s Plaza building (rendering above, corner of 20th Street North and 5th Avenue). The 1976 building–home to Regions Bank before mergers and consolidations emptied it in 2007–has most recently been the subject of different hotel proposals. Viva Health–a Birmingham-based HMO–is now creating its new headquarters in the building. It will reorganize the ground floor, which previously had bank and elevator lobbies, into retail tenant space, with a Viva-run coffee shop planned on 20th Street (other tenants to be announced). Slight changes were mandated to the signage presented, but it will look essentially as depicted above, on all four sides.
As we’ve recently discussed in other contexts, while it’s great that a locally-based company is helping to fill a long-vacant tower downtown–and is adding its brand to the skyline–it’s moving from a Southside location on the other side of downtown. Will its former location be quickly filled by a new occupant? Given its proximity to UAB‘s campus, chances are high that it won’t be vacant for long.
Viva, welcome to the CBD.We encourage you especially to design your coffee shop in a way that engages passerby and enlivens your storefronts.
[thanks to Fravert for the rendering]
I really wish they’d make some facade improvements as well – that building is looking uglier and uglier by the year.
Also, having lived a block from the current Viva building, I don’t think it would be empty long. I’d expect it to get gobbled up by UAB Highlands (which it’s directly behind) or by some other developer.
Sounds like we can hope for is storefront improvements–meaning fresh signage and activity. While this building is a good example of its time period, it indeed has not aged well and feels quite dated. Hopefully at least at ground level the improvements will make a big difference. Glad to hear you share my hope about the current Viva building. Thanks.
Definitely! I don’t mean to sound pessimistic about them moving into the building. I think it’s great for downtown. Hopefully they’ll consider exterior renovations once they’ve been in the building a while.
Exactly. Agreed! Thanks.
WELL HOT DIGGITY DAMN !
Just when I thought they were about to board up Birmingham’s Main St….
P. Scott Murner
Galloway & Scott, LLC
2200 Woodcrest Place Suite 310
Birmingham AL 35209
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This is great news — particularly about the coffee shop. Seems a little odd that Viva will be running the coffee shop, but here’s to hoping it’s a place with character and appeal.
Yes–odd, but let’s hope for the best that it will be appealing! Thanks.
This building’s skin of anodized aluminum was originally dark bronze, but exposure to the sun has lightened it to a dull gold. Modern materials often do not age well. That is, unless anyone thinks dull gold is preferable to dark bronze. Like Compass BBVA headquarters, I think this signage actually enhances the building.
I agree–the relative dullness of the material, and dark tint of the glass, should only be helped by the new signage, and new activity on the ground floor. Thanks.
Great news for downtown! This is an important building to fill for the CBD and takes a large amount of vacant space off the market.
Normally I would agree with you about companies relocating within the city but I think this one is different because UAB can easily gobble up the space vacated by Viva on Southside by Highlands hospital.
I agree that this is different, given that UAB or a related entity will surely grab the Southside space. It should therefore be a net positive for UAB area, as well as for downtown. Thanks.
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