Tag Archives: 20th Street North

More downtown retail!

Forstall's Current.JPG

Goodbye Palisades, hello downtown

Longtime local purveyor of art supplies, art workshops, and custom framing Forstall Art Center will soon relocate from the Palisades Shopping Center off Greensprings Highway to downtown (current location, above). They will occupy multi-level retail space in an historic building on the east side of 20th Street North between Second and Third Avenues.

Forstall's Exterior.jpg


The new space (above) is adjacent to Alchemy clothing store, Bon Ton Hatters, and the Auburn University Urban Studio; it had been vacant for some time. The business will have expanded retail space, more classroom space, artist studios, gallery space, and a prominent downtown location. We have long argued in this blog that art and artists are a vital part of any successful urban neighborhood; this project is a very welcome step towards including more artistic energy as part of this revitalizing area.

Forstall's Interior.jpg

Coming soon

The owners, Phillip Forstall and Annette Taylor, have been directing extensive renovations of the interior (ground floor retail space under construction, above). Beyond the business itself, they plan a possible future personal residence on the top floor of the building. With a rare 30-space dedicated parking lot off the alley this promises to be a very busy new addition to the Central Business District.

Porters 1925.jpg

Back in the day

While downtown’s earlier mix of department stores, billiard halls, and hot dog stands has departed, Forstall is part of a new wave of businesses creating a distinctive new vibe downtown–a vibe based on foodie ventures like We Have Doughnuts just down 20th Street and fast-growing entrepreneurial businesses like Shipt a block in the other direction (the Forstall space is seen in the 1920’s photo above at the large striped awning in the right foreground). With Pizitz Food Hall and the Thomas Jefferson Tower due to open later this year a couple blocks west, it seems like a particularly good time to relocate to this changing neighborhood. We wish Forstall every success among its exciting new neighbors.

Forstall's Art Class.JPG

They say art is good for the soul

So whether you need an imported tube of paint, want to take an art class (like these nuns from Saint Rose Academy, above) or check out a new gallery exhibit, there’s a new option downtown.

Now, if only we could get that streetcar service back.

[thanks to Dori DeCamillis for the art class pic]

Full-line yogurt northside. Finally

When a young girl's fancy turns to yogurt

We’d given a teaser in an earlier post about a new place coming downtown; we’d graciously allowed the News to, well, scoop the story here. We can now give you a progress report: Paramount, a new eatery with full-line yogurt options and other items, is underway and expects to be open a bit later this year, according to owners Angie and Kent Ingram. While others are handling the interior renovation, we’ve designed the exterior renovation of the former Parisian building, a rendering of which is above and an elevation of which is below:

Working on it

The illuminated “Paramount” sign is an homage to the original Parisian sign that some may remember existed on this building, as seen below ca. 1950:

Now that's some window shopping

Besides Paramount (named for a candy store which was originally part of the late 1930’s art-moderne renovation of this very old building), there is an additional storefront for lease just to the north along 20th St.

So get ready for another downtown option (or two!) real soon. We hope exterior work will commence soon as well.

Final Note: Congrats to Railroad Park for winning the People’s Choice First Prize for best new park in the USA in Daily Green‘s online contest. Fantastic national publicity for our city and our favorite new public space. Keep it coming.

[thanks to Birmingham Rewound for the Parisian pic]