Panda Express opens downtown, other retailers sign on at 20 Midtown

by Illyshia Parker, Birmingham Business Journal

Construction on the second phase of 20 Midtown is nearing completion this month.

The third building in the downtown mixed-use development is starting to bustle with new movement as construction on the $110 million development begins to wrap up and retailers and residents begin to settle in.

Among the first tenants to execute a lease at the new building, Panda Express opened up Aug. 1 on the corner of 20th Street South and Second Avenue South. Cava is expected to open in about two months.

Panda Express features a drive-thru. Milo’s, which was initially expected to have a double drive-thru, will feature a single drive-thru. Cava will have a pick-up window.

“I don’t think we’ve talked about this before, but early on when we decide that wanted to have parking and drive-thrus like suburban [areas] did, Scott came up with the term suburban urbanism,” 20 Midtown developer Dick Schmalz said.

”You have suburban parking and suburban drive-thrus, but in an urban environment that matches our urbanism,” 20 Midtown developer Scott Bryant said.

Nail Resort has also signed a lease, and several other retail and restaurant tenants are exploring possible lease deals.

Overall, the newly developed building is more than 65% leased, and its first apartment residents moved in on Aug. 1.

“(It) started what we think is going to be a steady stream of residential move-ins,” Schmalz said.

The residential component features 325 apartment units with a variety of different floorplans to accommodate individuals to small families.

“We’ve learned as we’ve gone from the first building to the second building and now to the planning for the third that there has been a growing demand for smaller and smaller and smaller units. So, with the third building, we tried to set our unit mix, so that looking at all three buildings together we’ve got the mix that we think is demanded by the market,” Schmalz said.

Across all floorplans, 20 Midtown apartment units range from 420 square feet to up almost 1,800 square feet. In addition to the 111 units in the first and second buildings, the trifecta of buildings feature a total 436 units.

“If you break it down, we’ve got a mix all the way across the board … it covers the entire market because of the amount of units we have,” Bryant said.

As for the third building, the residential component including the swimming pool and fitness area are expected to be completed by the end of August. The retail component is expected to be in the lease-up phase for at least the next six months.

“We’re trying to be selective about who we put in the retail to try to fill some additional needs in the area, but also we want to make the retail be what would make our potential residents want to live with us,” Schmalz said.

CCR Architecture and Interiors is the designer, and contractors for project include KKA Construction, ARD Contracting and Arlington Construction. Arlington Properties is managing the residential component while the SRS Real Estate Partners Birmingham office handles the retail leasing. Bhate Geosciences, MTTR Engineers and Gonzalaz-Strength & Associates are also involved.

Article originally published by Birmingham Business Journal.