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New office development planned along Rotary Trail

New office development planned along Rotary Trail

By Hanno van der Bijl, Birmingham Business Journal

January 19, 2021

Two high-profile developers are teaming up again for another project on Birmingham’s Southside.

Dick Schmalz and Scott Bryant plan to bring more than 21,000 square feet of office space to the Rotary Trail in a new development that’s being marketed by Martin Smith of SRS Real Estate Partners.

“We’re real excited about this whole area, and this was a unique opportunity we felt that was good for us to pursue,” Schmalz said.

While the timeline for the project is based on demand, the team expects to break ground in the next 60 to 90 days, he said.

“We believe in the location and in the area,” Bryant said. “Given the opportunity to do this project there, we’re excited about it based on the location.”

The group had acquired the property last summer from prominent Birmingham artist Brad Morton.

Located at 2115 to 2119 First Ave. S., the currently unnamed project includes the redevelopment of an existing 5,000-square-foot building along with the construction of a new three-story building with 16,000 square feet of office space and a common area rooftop.

Terraces on the second and third floors will provide views of the central business district skyline, and onsite parking will be available in the rear and on the street.

The office spaces range from about 4,750 to 6,000 square feet, which can be broken up or combined. They are available for lease or sale as several potential users have already asked whether they could purchase space in the development, Schmalz said.

The new development would be well suited for creative, engineering, professional and tech-related businesses as well as startups, Smith said.

“This kind of office project convenient to amenities with open layouts and city views I think that’s going to appeal to some folks who want to get out of the taller buildings downtown,” he said.

First Bank of Alabama is providing financing for the project, which includes CCR Architecture and Interiors, MMT Engineering and BHATE Geo Sciences.

It’s another development along the Rotary Trail that provides walkability to the booming Parkside District.

“We think it’s indicative of what’s possible down here along the Rotary Trail,” Smith said. “We see this as a little pocket for growth for small developments like this with access to entertainment and other amenities that you just don’t get on the north side and the CBD.”

Bayer Properties is redeveloping the Hardwick building nearby for mixed-use in a project that may set the tone for future office development. Smith sees these new office projects as a proactive response to the demands the coronavirus pandemic have placed on the office market.

“We believe that there’s opportunity because of so many of the changes that have occurred and been accelerated by Covid that there are going to be opportunities to lease smaller offices to businesses,” Smith said. “They’re going to be looking to take on a smaller footprint and I think we’ve got a unique deal here located right on the Rotary Trail with easy access to 20 Midtown, Parkside, Lakeview.”

It’s another project for Schmalz and Bryant who are also partnering on a mixed-use project at 425 20th St. S. as well as the third building for 20 Midtown, where retail tenants are expected to be announced soon.

Article originally published by Birmingham Business Journal.

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