Tag Archives: Lakeview

Progress, with caveats

Very, very conceptual still

At this morning’s Design Review Committee, perhaps the biggest news was what didn’t happen–a representative of the new Regions Field project appeared, but did not present any elevations or other design details of the new structure. Instead, he requested the Committee approve the remainder of demolition work necessary to prepare the four-square block area directly south of Railroad Park. After hearing that the two renderings shown at last week’s groundbreaking (above, and the other shown in previous post) were simply conceptual suggestions, done merely for the sake of the ceremony, the Committee approved the remainder of the demolition required. At the same time, the Committee asked developers to return as soon as possible with schematic design of the project. That could happen within a few weeks–stay tuned.

Better, but...

Also approved was a revised design for the proposed Family Dollar store in West End at the corner of Tuscaloosa Avenue, SW and 13th Street (site plan above). Since we last discussed this in January, the developer has moved the building to the corner, and pushed the parking to the rear of the site. Good. However, it is disappointing to see two massive curb cuts occuring at either street, when ironically a service alley exists already behind the store. It was equally disappointing to see the entrance will be on the side, accessed from the parking lot–and not on the street frontage.  This helps contribute to a dead elevation along Tuscaloosa which is almost completely mute in its blankness:

Not exactly an engaging composition

It’s wonderful that this neighborhood, so bereft of retail options, is getting a major investment. It’s a shame the design couldn’t have been pushed further to incorporate a few more basic urban design principles.

And Lakeview gets another option

Finally, FIVE restaurant was granted approval for facade and signage improvements at the historic building on 29th Street between 7th Avenue South and University Blvd in the Lakeview district. The former Golden Rule Bar-B-Q is getting a new row of French doors (under construction, above), among other improvements. Yet another sign of this neighborhood continuing to draw investment and energy–we wish them well and can’t wait to see the menu.

[Thanks to HKS and City of Birmingham for the Regions Field rendering; Boos Development Group for the Family Dollar drawings; and the FIVE team for the pic]

24/7 dining

Direct from the big easy

At Design Review Committee this morning, it was revealed that the long-delayed mixed-use project at the block along 7th avenue south between 28th and 29th streets, in the heart of the Lakeview District, is finally proceeding (construction financing is 100% in place and closes in 2 weeks, with work commencing 30 days afterwards). Reduced in size from earlier versions, the current plan is a 4-story building with apartments above, and retail below. A lead tenant has been signed, Huey’s 24/7 Diner, a chain based out of New Orleans that stays open all night, year-round.

That, of course, is great news and perhaps one sign that financing for development projects is finally becoming more available after a drought of several years.

Urbanizing Lakeview

[UPDATE: rendering of the project above, and link to Birmingham News article]

On a sadder note, the small but quaint building at the corner of 28th and 7th designated earlier as the site of a donut shop to complement this project, is now slated for demolition for additional surface parking. The committee objected to this aspect, and sent the designers (Live Design Group) back to revise their plan for this corner. If this neighborhood had a Smart Code in place, which stated up front that corner buildings must remain (or be replaced with other corner buildings, not surface parking), this same issue would not keep repeating itself, again and again.

Late-night burgers, here we come.

[thanks to iisonly for the Huey’s New Orleans pic and Live Design Group for the rendering]