Last week we reported on demolition work that’s started at the former First Federal Savings and Loan property in the 2000 block of First Avenue North downtown, and the need for better site signage generally in this City to alert the public to what’s in store. Two of our readers have had conversations this week with the contractor doing demolition work here, and so based on that information we are tentatively piecing together a mixed-use project–with offices in the upper floors and future retail/commercial on the ground floor. Part of the property is a small one-story building (above) whose corrugated metal facade has been stripped away to reveal the original brick–although it appears the face brick was ripped off at some point.
The word from the contractor on this space? It will house a wine shop. If true, this could be a great new amenity to this part of town (and a complement to Mamanoes convenience store a few blocks east which stocks a small but good selection). If anyone knows anything more–about the use, or new designs for the facade–let us know!
A man with a vision
Just as BB’s China and Glassware, located in the former Blackwell Furniture Building at First Avenue North and 25th Street, has decided to close, local urbanite David Carrigan (above) has purchased the building and plans a sensitive, creative renovation. His business–William and Carrigan Stone–will move into a portion of the building, while a stone yard will be located across Morris avenue to the rear.
An otherwise forgotten corner about to come to life
As seen above (looking west on Morris with 25th Street in the foreground), the building has lots of old, warehouse-y character complete with arched openings, original steel frame windows, and a loading area. Carrigan has quite a bit of square feet to play with–and is currently considering potential mixed-uses. Bracketed by an abandoned freeway ramp to the east, and the railroad to the south, the property has lots of potential. The rooftop views are terrific.
I see a bright future
Inside, exposed brick walls, wood floors, timber columns and beams all hint at intriguing possibilities. There’s even a massive painted mural that, once cleaned, will be super-cool.
As Birmingham continues to struggle with limited financing available for private projects, it’s heartening to see a steady stream of small entrepreneurs like Carrigan continue to invest in the downtown core. We eagerly anticipate further news about this project.
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]