Tag Archives: Sheila Chaffin

Better signage, and a house

A model for the future?

This morning at Design Review Committee the wayfinding proposal presented by Sheila Chaffin of UAB (above) was unanimously approved. Dozens of signs will direct people and traffic through the Medical District in a system coordinated between UAB, Children’s Hospital, VA Hospital, and Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. Complementing these will be UAB campus-specific signage–same style, but with the UAB logo on top rather than “Medical District.” MB3 Designworks of Virginia designed the signage, and local firm KPS Group coordinated placement and messaging.

We’ve commented several times on the urgent need for wayfinding in downtown Birmingham; hopefully this project will inspire the City to move that up their priority list. Because when we leave a well-marked Medical District, we still need to find our way around the rest of town.

Full renovation coming later

Approval was also granted for a neon-illuminated blade sign to be sited on the corner of 20th Street North and 2nd Avenue at the second-story level of the historic Roden Building. This sign, which is 8 feet tall and reads “PARAMOUNT” in a vertical format, is a temporary measure to advertise the Paramount store that opened last year and sells yogurt, sweets, and other items. Our office designed a complete exterior renovation (pictured above) for a future phase,  including larger illuminated signage running horizontally that was previously approved by the Committee. In the meantime, it’s exciting to see this great old building coming back to life step by step.

Man with a plan

Finally, approval was also granted for construction of a new residence on Cliff Road in historic Forest Park (above architect Alex Krumdieck presents the rendering). It’s good to see continued investment in the historic residential neighborhoods surrounding downtown; a healthy downtown complements the neighborhoods, and healthy neighborhoods complement downtown. We need to support intelligent improvements in both to help build a city greater than the sum of its parts.

Happy Memorial Day everybody!

Five Points Reviving


Great news from Design Review Committee this morning: the historic Daniel-Hassinger mansion at 2028 Highland Avenue South, one of the few surviving original houses in Five Points South, will become a new bed-and-breakfast, the Daniel-Hassinger Bed and Breakfast. The owners, Sheila and Ira Chaffin, who also recently renovated another nearby historic house into a similar facility (Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast), plan to open May 2011. It will have 10 guest bedrooms.

Birmingham has long had too few (if any)  historic B&B’s, despite the wealth of historic housing stock here. Kudos to the new owners for not only bringing 2 of these to Five Points, but for rescuing this elegant, deteriorated mansion whose condition we worried about in a recent post.

Projects like this serve as hope that, despite its challenges, Five Points South can still attract entrepreneurs and great new businesses. Needless to say, the Design Review Committee was practically cheering when the unanimous vote was cast. There’s more to report from this morning, but this was the biggie.

[thanks once again to dystopos for the pic]