Southside building to be redeveloped for residential, retail space

by Hanno van der Bijl, Birmingham Business Journal

A historic building in Birmingham’s Southside is slated to undergo renovation.

A local development team is bringing more residential units and retail space to what is known as the Midtown area with the redevelopment of a 1920s-era building at the corner of Twentieth Street and Fifth Avenue.

The development group, Block 162 SW LLC, includes Maurice Humphries, president at LAH Real Estate, and 20 Midtown developer Dick Schmalz. The group signed a 100-year ground lease with property owners Anne Dahlene Lamkin and Ellen Dahlene Skipper in 2017, according to Jefferson County public records.

CCR Architecture & Interiors is the designer for the project.

Previously, plans called for the demolition of the building and construction of a new one on site, as we reported, but those plans have been changed to preserve the existing structure.

Current plans call for residential housing units to go on the top floor of the building and two restaurants and a spa are in the works for the bottom floor.

“It’s going to be a good-looking building across the street from Kirkland Clinic and across the street from the new proton radiation center,” Humphries said.

The development team plans to secure construction financing in the next 30 to 45 days and then begin construction, Humphries said. The project is expected to wrap up during the third quarter of 2020.

Located at 425 20th St. S., the two story, 22,580-square-foot building was built in 1920 and renovated in 1959, according to research from real estate data firm Reonomy.

The building formerly housed Rees Auto Service from the 1920s to the 1940s as well offices and restaurants in the 1960s and 1970s. Most recently several businesses called the building home, including Quality Shoe Repair, Classic 13 Tattoo, The Syndicate Lounge and Pizza Hut.

Preservation experts say the project would be a good candidate for historic tax credits as it sits at the end of the Automotive Historic District.

“Almost everything in that district west of Richard Arrington Boulevard has already been demolished,” said David Schneider, principal at Schneider Historic Preservation LLC.

The project is significant as it will add more residential options to what is commonly referred to as Midtown, and retaining the building will contribute to the preservation of Birmingham’s historic urban fabric.

This article originally appeared on Birmingham Business Journal.