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Old January 2nd, 2010, 03:13 AM   #241
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Originally Posted by krazeeboi View Post
Wow, that building will look tons better after the renovation.
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 03:20 AM   #242
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Here's a few views of Downtown's Railroad Park Amphitheater currently under construction.







Image Credit: HKW Associates and KVA
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Old January 5th, 2010, 11:01 PM   #243
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It's good to be the benefactor sometimes...

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With Walter Energy's departure, Tampa Bay area loses clout

By Robert Trigaux, Times Columnist
In Print: Thursday, September 10, 2009

So the company that was Jim Walter Homes that became Walter Industries and is now Walter Energy is calling it quits in Tampa after 60-plus years. The move to Birmingham will put Walter Energy an hour's drive from its Alabama coal mines, now its core business.

Not that Walter's much of a Tampa Bay corporate player or big local employer lately.

So why do we care if Walter's jumping ship for B'ham?

Try these five reasons:

1. Clout. Metro areas like Tampa Bay and Birmingham scrap daily for economic credibility against other metro areas. Economic development officials insist, vehemently, that metro areas that boast a bevy of major corporate headquarters gain big advantages. They can attract new business more easily. And they enjoy the executive and institutional power that makes communities higher-quality places to live and work.

"Corporate headquarters? Yes, they are always important," says Stuart Rogel, CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership economic development group.

"Where it matters is in the headquarters' professional staff and their roles in the community, and their significant others' roles in the community," says John Long, CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. It is the stark difference, he says, between the clout of a headquarters budget vs. some company's regional budget.

2. One-upmanship. Walter Energy ranked as one of Tampa Bay's top 10 public corporations by revenue. The company's decision to relocate to a metro area less than half the size of Tampa Bay is a major coup for Birmingham. And it is a blow to Tampa Bay's corporate bench strength and ego.

3. Wealth transfer. Walter Industries, as the company was known last fall, saw its stock price drop during the market free fall to $11 a share. Since then, a renamed Walter Energy, refocused on mining metallurgical coal used for steel, has watched its stock price approach $60. In 10 months, Walter's market value has increased from about $560 million to $3 billion. That remarkable record of wealth building will now benefit Birmingham.

4. Historical depth. Walter's roots run deep in the Tampa Bay area, since the end of World War II. Walter's been a Fortune 500 member for 40 of those years, an impressive run for a Florida corporation.

5. Business retention. Nobody in Tampa Bay economic development — not the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce or its affiliated Committee of One Hundred business recruiting arm or the Tampa Bay Partnership — had a clue that Walter Energy was preparing to jump ship. (For that matter, Alabama was barely ahead of the curve. Walter decided with little input to relocate closer to its main business.)

"I wish they were all this easy," said a beaming Jim Searcy, vice president of business and industry retention at Birmingham Business Alliance.

How did our business eyes and ears miss departure signs at Walter? Because Walter had lost touch with the business community here? Or because the business community failed to stay in touch with one of its own?

It's doubtful it would have made any difference in Walter's decision. But it's better to shake hands and wave goodbye than to eat Walter's dust on its way out of town.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@sptimes.com.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: In Thursday's Robert Trigaux column, Alabama business recruiter Jim Searcy works for the Birmingham Business Alliance. The name of his employer was misidentified.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #244
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Ampitheater renderings look great!
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Old January 30th, 2010, 01:31 AM   #245
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Downtown Birmingham's Pizitz building set to get makeover
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
January 29, 2010, 7:00AM

Bayer Properties' $60 million renovation of the landmark Pizitz building in downtown Birmingham will begin moving ahead this summer, after a major law firm agreed to take nearly one-third of the office space in the project.

The developer said Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz will be the lead tenant in the long-awaited redevelopment.

The firm will lease 55,000 square feet of the building's 169,000 square feet of office space and move its 140 employees from the Wachovia Tower once the renovation job is completed in 2012.

Bayer, best known in Birmingham for its Summit retail center, also plans to move its 50 headquarters jobs into Pizitz, claiming15,000 square feet of the office space.

"We believe the redevelopment of this project is a transformational milestone for downtown Birmingham," Bayer principal David Silverstein said Thursday.
Landing the law firm for the project has been in the works for several months, Bayer officials said, and having that lease in hand paves the way for the rebirth of one of downtown's highest profile buildings.

Once renovated, the seven-story, 211,000-square-foot building at 1821 Second Ave. North also will have 23,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurants, including a grocery with a cafe. The attached private parking deck is also part of the project.

Bayer intends to both modernize and preserve the building, which dates to 1923 and was the flagship for the Pizitz family department store chain before the downtown location closed in 1988.

Bayer purchased the vacant building in 2000 for $1.6 million. Last spring,
Bayer got a low-interest, short-term $1 million loan from the city of Birmingham for the project. The law firm said it wanted to be part of a project that will revitalize a key part of downtown.

"Baker Donelson has a long tradition of active involvement in and commitment to downtown Birmingham, beginning with Abe Berkowitz's important work in the civil rights movement," Tim Lupinacci, managing partner at the firm, said in a prepared statement. "Relocation to the Pizitz building offers us not only state-of-the-art facilities for our offices, but also allows us to be an active participant in a powerful, positive change to this side of downtown."

Historic location

The building stands across Second Avenue from the McWane Science Center with its Imax Theater and is a block from the Alabama Theatre, the Red Mountain Theatre Company's Cabaret Theatre on the bottom floor of the historic Kress building, and the shuttered Lyric Theater.

"The Pizitz building historically stood at the center of Birmingham's commercial and theater district and, we plan on cementing a new history for the building as an epicenter for work and play in the city, propelling the revitalization of the arts and theater district," Silverstein said.

Silverstein said the renovation will create 800 construction jobs over two years and will boost real estate tax collections in Birmingham by $280,000 annually and sales taxes by $270,000 each year. When fully leased, the building will be home to 600 workers generating $350,000 each year in occupational taxes for Birmingham, he added.

The National Park Service has granted Bayer "historic preservation certification" status for the Pizitz redevelopment, making the project eligible for federal tax credits. Bayer Properties also is expected to pursue other incentives for the project because of its projected economic benefit.
Bayer plans to restore the building's original architectural elements such as the terra cotta facade, the mezzanine and the storefront display windows. Where renovation is not possible, elements of the original building will be reproduced in exacting detail to match the original, Silverstein said.

Going green

Bayer also will seek a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, signaling that it has used energy-saving technologies. The building will have 24-hour video surveillance and fiber optic networks.

Birmingham's KPS Group is the architect on the project, charged with recreating the original work of Harry B. Wheelock, who designed other prominent Birmingham buildings, including St. Paul's Cathedral and the Burger Phillips office tower.

The project moving from the planning stage to action represents a milestone, said Michael Calvert, president of Operation New Birmingham, a group dedicated to downtown rejuvenation.

"The Pizitz building is an icon in downtown Birmingham," Calvert said. "Its renovation will energize the entire surrounding area."

Calvert said a revived Pizitz will pave the way for private investment between the central business district and Innovation Depot, the business incubator in the 1500 block of First and Second avenues north.

"Having 600 people working in that building will have a positive impact on the ambiance of that part of downtown," Calvert said. "I'm confident Bayer, which developed the Summit, will be able to bring restaurants and retail that will enhance and animate the area."

http://media.al.com/businessnews/pho...ee77_large.jpg
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Old January 31st, 2010, 06:20 PM   #246
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Baker Donelson finds new Birmingham office

Memphis Business Journal - by Lauren B. Cooper of the Birmingham Business Journal

Baker Donelson’s Tim Lupinacci and Bayer Properties’ David Silverstein worked out the first lease deal on the long-vacant Pizitz department store building. The inset picture is from the store’s heyday in 1949.


Law firm Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC said it intends to make the redeveloped Pizitz Building in downtown Birmingham its new home. The Memphis-based firm has signed a letter of intent to move approximately 140 employees from its local office at the Wachovia Tower on 20th Street North to 55,000 square feet in the Pizitz Building at Second Avenue North, or the top two floors, said Tim Lupinacci, Baker Donelson’s managing partner. The firm has until May to make a full commitment, he said, while an option to sign another 10-year lease is still on the table at Wachovia Tower.

Baker Donelson’s announcement, though, is a major step in getting the long-talked-about $60 million renovation of the cornerstone Pizitz Building off the ground, said David Silverstein, principal of developer Bayer Properties. Silverstein said Bayer Properties, too, will move its headquarters from Southside to 15,000 square feet in the downtown building, relocating about 50 employees. And the development team currently is in talks with a local gourmet grocery store and café to locate on the ground floor.

Baker Donelson’s Lupinacci said the law firm is excited to be part of a major renovation that will expand the city center, and it allows the firm to show its commitment to Birmingham. Memphis' largest law firm recently made a similar commitment to downtown Nashville, when it renewed and expanded its lease in the Commerce Center building. Baker Donelson signed a 96,000-square-foot, 10-year lease in that building, where it received naming rights and building signage. The firm received recognition last week from Fortune magazine. It was named No. 77 on the magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list. The magazine also named Baker Donelson as the nation's top paying company: The firm’s 279 “shareholder” attorneys, or partners, earn salaries averaging $319,779 a year. Fortune chose its top paying firms from its Best Companies list.

In Birmingham, redevelopment plans for the former department store include transforming nine floors into 169,000 square feet of office space, 23,000 square feet of retail and improvements to an adjoining 375-space parking deck. Construction is set to begin this summer and the state-of-the-art – and sustainably designed and constructed – building will reopen its doors in 2012. Until the summer, Silverstein said Bayer Properties will continue to prelease the building and work with various lenders to finalize financing for the project. He did not disclose rental rates for the property, but said they were competitive with the area. Bayer bought the former department store property in 2000 from the Pizitz family, with plans to rehab the vacant building. Since then, the building has obtained Historic Preservation Certification status from the U.S. National Park Service and the project has received historical tax credits, New Market Tax Credits and a $1 million loan from the city’s Economic Stimulus Loan Program for the project’s design, said Silverstein.

The Pizitz Building was constructed in 1923 and was home to the major department store Pizitz until it closed its doors in 1988, when the family-owned chain was bought by McRae’s. In addition to the building’s rich history in downtown retail commerce, its surrounding sidewalks were the scene of demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement in the city. Silverstein said the building will be added to the new Civil Rights Trail that winds its way through the city.

Bayer estimates the $60 million redevelopment project will create 800 jobs during construction and house 600 once it opens, representing about $350,000 in occupational taxes to the city for the permanent jobs. Annual real estate taxes are estimated at more than $280,000 and annual sales tax revenue is expected to be more than $270,000.
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Old March 13th, 2010, 07:44 PM   #247
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Grocery part of $60 million Pizitz demelopment, downtown

V. Richards expanding to Birmingham's Pizitz Building
By Michael Tomberlin -- The Birmingham News
March 12, 2010, 7:00AM

Pizitz Rendering - City Cafe Market
The operator of V. Richards Market plans to open a 6,000 square foot grocery store, cafe and restaurant in the ground floor of downtown's Pizitz Building, which is being renovated in a $60 million project.

V. Richards is the first retail tenant to sign on with Bayer Properties' revival of the landmark building at 1821 Second Ave. North. The move also answers the frequent call for a downtown grocery from residents and workers.

V. Richard "Rick" Little Jr., president of the company that owns the V. Richards store in Forest Park, said the Pizitz project was attractive for him after a decade of proposals from others fell short.

"We've been approached for 10 years to come downtown," Little said Thursday. "We never really had the opportunity to be in the right situation."

For Little, the right situation means as many as 700 people working in the building, Bayer's solid reputation in retail development, and the lure of a one-of-a-kind edifice like the Pizitz.

Jeffrey Bayer, principal with Bayer Properties, said that a built-in market of potential shoppers is attractive to him as a retail developer. That's why his company is approaching the leasing of the ground floor of the Pizitz the same way it would The Summit, which it also developed.

"This is the equivalent of a small shopping center and not a one-off store, which is what was attractive to V. Richards and we expect will be attractive to other restaurants and retailers," Bayer said. "We're offering them a built-in clientele with the office tenants on top of the ability to capture more customers from those who live and work downtown and at UAB."

Little said his Pizitz store will be similar to the Forest Park location with typical grocery store sections and bakery, deli and meat departments. He said the cafe will be large to accommodate breakfast and lunch crowds and the dining area will be converted into a white tablecloth restaurant at night. An outdoor, sidewalk seating area also is in the plans.

The store also will offer catering services for corporate breakfasts, lunches and dinner parties. Birthday and specialty cakes for downtown offices and residents will be available.

Little said there are plans for fruit, vegetable and flower stands on the sidewalk, a feature found in other cities. Like its Forest Park store, the Pizitz location will offer grocery deliveries to area residents and a curb-side service for customers wanting to grab pre-ordered goods.

Bayer said he expects V. Richards to have broad appeal.

"This is not a store just for an elite few," Bayer said. "We wanted a store that would appeal to everybody from those who live in loft penthouses and those who live in Park Place (a mixed income housing community) and those who work downtown. We found that with V. Richards."

Little owns the grocery store business with his wife and 30-year-old son, a third-generation grocer in the family. Little said the Pizitz store builds on a business that includes other stores operated by the company -- Catherine's Market at Lake Martin and Enzo's Market set to open this fall in Chattanooga. V. Richards briefly operated a Homewood location a few years ago.

"This is a big step for our little company," Little said about the Pizitz move.

Bayer's plans for the seven-story, 211,000-square-foot Pizitz Building call for offices on the upper six floors and 23,000 square feet of street-level shops and restaurants. Three of the six office floors are leased, putting the project on pace for the start of renovation work by year's end. Completion is slated for 2012.

The Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz law firm is the building's lead tenant with plans to take 55,000 square feet, while architecture firm KPS Group has signed on to take 15,000 square feet. Bayer Properties also plans to relocate its headquarters there.

V. Richards is the first tenant committed to the project that is expanding with a new location rather than relocating from another part of downtown.

Michael Calvert, president of Operation New Birmingham, said the move should satisfy downtown loft residents and others who have called for a convenient grocery store.

"I think it would meet a major portion of the demand," Calvert said Thursday. "It would be a major amenity and one we've been seeking for a long time."
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 04:08 PM   #248
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Bids are due to implode the Liberty National buildings. What is going up in their place?
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Old November 4th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DemolitionDave View Post
Bids are due to implode the Liberty National buildings. What is going up in their place?
edit...nevermind

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Old November 4th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #250
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Bids are due to implode the Liberty National buildings. What is going up in their place?
12 story 400,000 square foot tower

i've got mixed feelings on this; the older shorter part has nice massing but has horrible cladding done to it later. the 50s addition, and 70s addition to it, is decent filler. i think i'd rather see a recladding/restoration, or a new, taller, sleeker tower.

of course i'd rather have both; a recladding and a new tower elsewhere.

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Old November 5th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #251
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Birmingham Barons Agree to Move Downtown Birmingham
Construction on a new $39-million to $48-million baseball stadium near the new Railroad Park to start in early 2011.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2...t_with_ci.html
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Old January 6th, 2011, 06:05 PM   #252
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Birmingham Barons Agree to Move Downtown Birmingham
Construction on a new $39-million to $48-million baseball stadium near the new Railroad Park to start in early 2011.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2...t_with_ci.html
Cool! Didn't they move out of Rickwood into a new stadium in the 90s though?
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Old January 7th, 2011, 08:02 PM   #253
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Cool! Didn't they move out of Rickwood into a new stadium in the 90s though?
Yeah, it was out in the 'burbs, though.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 11:07 PM   #254
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Birmingham Mayor William Bell, BJCC officials break ground for hotel, entertainment district project
By Roy L. Williams -- The Birmingham News

The city of Birmingham and officials from the BJCC held a ground-breaking today at the site of the planned $70 million Westin Hotel and Marketplace entertainment district.

The 300-room hotel will be built next to the Southeastern Conference headquarters building at Richard Arrington Boulevard and 22nd Street North. Outside the hotel officials plan to build a district of restaurants, nightclubs and retail shops that will extend on Richard Arrington Boulevard from 22nd Street to 24th Street North.

Mayor William Bell told the crowd of about 300-400 people at the groundbreaking that the Westin and entertainment district will help transform downtown Birmingham.

"This project gets us to the 1,000 hotel rooms next to the BJCC that we need to better compete and bring more conventions to Birmingham," the mayor said.

The city is leasing the land from the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex and will eventually give the property back to the BJCC. Officials said the project will help the BJCC attract bigger conventions and events that currently skip Birmingham.

The project is being funded by a 30-year extension of the city's lodging tax.

The hotel and district are being built across Richard Arrington Boulevard from a proposed $530 million domed stadium project that Bell has been put on hold due to funding constraints. Former Mayor Larry Langford held a ground-breaking at the dome site in July 2009.

Unlike that event, Bell has said that actual construction will follow the hotel and entertainment district groundbreaking. He said construction work won't begun until the city meets with Alabama Power officials about taking down some power lines along 23rd Street North behind the hotel site.

The city placed barricades along 23rd Street today so that site preparation work can begin.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 09:23 PM   #255
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I hope the entertainment district goes well!
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Old August 15th, 2011, 01:42 AM   #256
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I was in Bham over the weekend, what is the highrise that is T/O by UAB?
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Old September 9th, 2011, 03:29 AM   #257
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Musiccit, sorry it took so long to answer your question. The building you asked about is the new Childrens Hospital of Alabama the Benjamin Russell Campus. It is 12 stories and 700,000 sf of floor space. They will be moving everything from the old Childrens into this building, and use the old building for office and research space, it should be complete in the 1st quarter of 2013.
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Old September 10th, 2011, 03:36 AM   #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
Birmingham Barons Agree to Move Downtown Birmingham
Construction on a new $39-million to $48-million baseball stadium near the new Railroad Park to start in early 2011. http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2...t_with_ci.html
Sweet, a nice ballpark is always a great amenity for any downtown.

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Old September 10th, 2011, 11:38 AM   #259
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Great! Looks like a nice boost for B'ham!
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Old September 24th, 2011, 05:22 PM   #260
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UAB is also close to getting going on a $75-million oncampus stadium. It will be just a few blocks from this baseball stadium and the Railroad Park. Seating will initially be for about 30,000 but with plenty of room to expand. You can't really tell from this image, but the open endzone will face the Birmingham skyline, so it will make for a nice football venue.



UAB also plans to build a bunch more dorms in the area between Bartow Arena and the Railroad Park. UAB is also planning a $40-million revamped, expanded student center. There are also likely to be some more research facilities at UAB coming down the pipeline. Lots going on around the Southside and it's about to boom with retail and entertainment surrounding the UAB football stadium, Birmingham baseball stadium, and Railroad Park.
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