By Illyshia Parker, Birmingham Business Journal
A new retail center is under development in the Five Points West neighborhood that will bring new businesses into the area.
“I wanted to build something that could fit in any neighborhood whether its Highway 280, Homewood or on that corner because that corner deserves it,” said Eric Guster of Guster Development.
Located at 2250 Bessemer Road, the developer and founding attorney of Guster Law Firm acquired the former Regions Bank property for $100,000 from the city of Birmingham in September 2020.
The total investment into the new retail center surpasses $2 million.
The roughly 6,000-square-foot retail center will have four tenants, two of which will be medical entities. VIPcare, one of the medical tenants, focuses on medical care for patients age 60 and older. According to the company’s website, it provides Medicare Advantage primary care at more than 100 locations and is expanding its footprint into senior communities in Alabama. The other medical tenant was not disclosed. Guster Law Firm will also occupy the building, leaving one 1,500-square-foot space remaining for lease.
“I like that we’re going to have medical type of tenants to bring quality medical care to the area,” Guster said. “For my last tenant — it’s on the market now and we don’t know who’s going to come, but I turned down some because I don’t want title loans, I don’t want any predatory type of businesses in my building, but I’m aiming for the high-quality type of tenants that everyone can utilize and be proud of.”
Development on the property began in the first quarter this year and doors are expected to open early next year. Tenant spaces will begin buildouts in September.
While the retail center is already situated on a prominent corner across from The CrossPlex, the cornerstone of the building displays two massive number fives that will be made out of glass and backlit upon completion, further increasing the property’s visibility. Roman Gary of CCR Architecture & Interiors is the architect that came up with the idea.
“The building sits on one of the best and busiest corners in the city, and I wanted to build something there to pay homage to where I grew up,” Guster said.
Guster, who is a product of the former Ensley High School, remembers shopping at the former Parisian department store in 5 Points West Shopping City and having a bank account at a local branch in the area. His goal is to re-energize that corner and everything around it.
“It will tell people it’s OK to spend money here and you can profit when you spend money here as well, ” Guster said. “In many of our areas, especially African-American heavy areas, companies are afraid to invest because of the fear, but what I’m showing them is by the tenants I have coming, the type of businesses we will have and the type of building we’re building it’s okay to invest money here, and hopefully that just swells up to more and more money coming.”
Guster has several other retail projects in the works that will be coming online in the near future.