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Old June 20th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #1
Blazer85
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Birmingham Development News

Former Cabana going condo
Sunday, June 19, 2005
MICHAEL TOMBERLIN
News staff writer

Modesto, Calif.-based Leer Corp. plans to invest about $20 million to turn the former Cabana Hotel into 65 condos and commercial space to be known as Leer Tower.

The 20-story, 158,000-square-foot building at 1631 Second Ave. North dates from 1930 and has been mostly vacant for 22 years.

"I think this building is perfect and it lends itself to this type of redevelopment," said David Leer, president of Leer Corp. "There is so much original beauty in this building, and we want to maintain as much of that as we can."

Leer Corp. is wrapping up work on the due diligence examination phase of its contract, and it has another 60 days to close on the purchase, which it plans to do at the end of August. The seller is represented by Chip Watts and Charlie Parrish of Watts Realty, whose Web site has said the hotel is listed for sale at $1.5 million.

If all goes as expected, Leer said, renovation work will begin in September and proceed in three phases over two years.

Leer's plans for the Cabana are detailed. Playing off the building's original name, the Hotel Thomas Jefferson, the project features four different two-bedroom floor plans, each named after a former U.S. president.

The largest units will be known as the Jefferson condos and are tentatively priced at $399,500. Next down are the Lincolns priced at $314,500, followed by the Roosevelts at $309,000 and the Washingtons at $225,000.

The condos will range in size from 1,097 to 1,665 square feet.

Leer Corp. says all the units will have two or three window views and will include granite countertops, double crown molding, and hardwood or tiled floors.

The plan also calls for a top-floor penthouse that will either be a single 6,000-square-foot unit or two 3,000 square foot ones. No prices have been set.

Plans call for removing the "C" from the top of the building and replacing the Cabana sign with one that reads "Leer Tower."

Leer says the building's roof is set to include a small pool where the water tower once stood. A hot tub and terrace garden will be added to the rooftop for penthouse residents. A sauna is a possibility.

The building will have a fitness center. The second floor is set to be used for restaurant space. The ballroom and banquet hall space on the ground floor will likely be used for commercial or retail space, Leer said.

Leer plans a twist to generate interest in the condo project: Each resident will be offered a lease on an electric car to make travel in and around downtown more convenient.

Meanwhile, the company is working with Operation New Birmingham to secure adequate parking beyond the 40-space lot in the deck on the property. Leer said he believes they have found enough parking for the short term and are working on solutions for the long term.

ONB President Michael Calvert said this project, along with other nearby projects such as the Phoenix Lofts, Jemison Flats, the future Jefferson Lofts condo conversion and the Pizitz renovation into residences, shows that activity in downtown's west side is accelerating.

"The level of vitality and energy in that area is going to dramatically change the character of that neighborhood," Calvert said. "That area is really transforming rapidly."

Leer Construction will be general contractor for the renovation. Leer Real Estate will handle sales.

Two of the company's representatives are relocating from California to handle the redevelopment.

Leer said most of the company's work has been restoring old warehouses and similar projects. Leer Corp. now has a portfolio of about 2 million square feet of office and residential space that has been developed, built, or remodeled in California, including a number of renovation projects in downtown Modesto.

Finding a hotel as ornate and attractive as the Cabana is rare, Leer said.

"Just this building's beauty and the fact that we are passionate about downtowns made this a natural," he said. "Just being able to get into a project like this is pretty excited." On the Web: www.leertowercondos.com

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Old June 20th, 2005, 07:01 PM   #2
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Old makes way for new $20 million high-rise
Kaija Wilkinson
Staff

"I don't do a development I don't like," says developer Tom Hinton when asked which of his many projects is his favorite. "I like different properties for different reasons. I like the architecture and character of Highland Plaza and Claridge and Hanover Court and Cobb Lane condominium. But I like Arlington Crest equally, for the views and the neighborhood we've created and the lifestyle that's there."

Now, Hinton is helping create a new high-rise in Highland Park. His $20 million-plus Capri Condos joins several other notable luxury developments, such as 2600 Highland, taking shape in the area.

Hinton is building the high-rise in conjunction with Euro American Advisers, which has corporate headquarters in The Netherlands and an office in Tampa, Fla.

He has worked with Euro American on other projects, and had been eyeing the Capri property since summer 2004. Since 1958, it has been home to the Capri Apartments. Hinton and Euro American were able to close on the property this year.

Most of the residents have moved out and the wrecking ball is scheduled to swing in August.

Construction is slated to start in September and the condos should be complete in December 2006.

Despite the contention of some residents that high-rises are bad for a historic neighborhood, those involved in the project stress that when an upscale, for-sale property replaces a run-down rental, the neighborhood wins.

"It serves to stabilize a neighborhood when you have home ownership," says project manager J. Michael Carpenter. "It creates a sense of community."

Carpenter says every effort will be made during construction to keep the streets clean and keep noise to a minimum.

Marketing director Margi Ingram says reservations have surpassed 60 for the 47 units, which will range from 1,180 to 3,300 square feet.

Tentative prices of $310,000 to more than $1.1 million have been set.

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SouthTrust Tower is getting $22M fix-up
Kaija Wilkinson
Staff

After buying the SouthTrust Tower last year for more than $50 million, Atlanta-based Barry Real Estate Cos. and VEF Advisors LLC are set to get started July 1 on a $22 million, five-year renovation designed to turn the building into one of downtown's most dazzling jewels.

Barry is confident the makeover will take the building from 60 percent occupancy to 100 percent. Barry has hired Birmingham's Brice Building Co. for the first phase of the project.

The price tag alone speaks volumes about investors' confidence in the project, which they hope will mirror the success they enjoyed with Sloss Real Estate Group Inc. at One Federal Place, which the team built for $50 million three years ago.

"On One Federal, we had very good partnerships with Sloss, our firm, and Bradley Arant (the building's largest tenant) and I think the building hit the market at a good time," says Deming Fish, Barry's director of leasing and management. "It has an excellent floorplate, which gave some of the users in downtown Birmingham an opportunity to grow and expand."

Earlier this year, the building was sold to a New Mexico firm, but Barry's Fish remains the leasing agent. Of One Federal's 300,000 square feet, 20,000 are available, he says.

'Great bones'
Barry's success with One Federal didn't escape the notice of developer Tom Hinton and Robert Simon of Corporate Realty Associates Inc., who brought the property to the Atlanta team's attention about a year ago.

"As a result of One Federal, they thought we would be a group that would aggressively go after a building of that nature," Fish says. "It's a great location, and it's got great bones if you will."

Completed in 1986, the SouthTrust Tower was partially designed by Giattina Fisher Aycock Architects Inc. It features gleaming blue-green reflective windows and stunning views of the city.

Fish says the exterior, aside from Wachovia logos replacing the four giant SouthTrust S's, will not be touched. The building also will get a new name.

Harvey Rudy, Barry's vice president of development, says his firm got a "great price" on the 454-foot tower, currently the tallest building in the state. Rudy is confident in the future of Birmingham's downtown office community, and says it will continue to recover as buildings like the SouthTrust Tower are renovated and parking becomes available.

"This building has a tremendous architectural heritage, and it's very recognizable," Rudy says. "Our goal is to bring it up to 2006 standards."

After Charlotte-based Wachovia Corp. bought SouthTrust Corp. in a $14 billion deal last year, the future of the building was in limbo. Enter Barry, which closed on the deal on June 30, 2004. Wachovia ended up retaining five of its original 11 floors in the tower, plus the lobby. Fish says that's a considerable vote of confidence and he hopes the banking giant will expand its presence even further.

Barry already has upgraded the building's air conditioning and safety systems, and will next tackle the lobby and common areas, including 11 sets of restrooms and three multi-tenant corridors. Fish emphasizes that the lobby will not be completely changed. "We're taking the good elements and improving on them, warming the space up," he says.

The 19,000-square-foot lobby has green granite panels, which will be incorporated into the new design. The drop ceilings will be replaced with drywall and plaster. In addition, space will be carved out for two or more retail tenants, preferably restaurants, Fish says. The restaurants will front Fifth Avenue North and boast outdoor seating.

Phase 1 lobby, bathroom and common area renovations will be completed in three to four months and represents $2.5 million to $3 million of the total renovation cost, Rudy says.

The issue of parking
One question hovering over the tower, and the downtown office market in general, is parking. The building currently has a 224-space deck and an agreement with the city of Birmingham to acquire space in various city decks as it becomes available, Rudy says.

Several months ago, it was announced that the nearby Regions deck on Fourth Avenue North would nearly double its current 769 spaces as part of a mixed-use city project to be completed in 2006. The parking authority has said the expansion is on hold, and city spokeswoman Renee Kemp-Rotan says although she doesn't have a time frame, "we still intend to go forward with that project and we're working on the details now."

Such a project would enhance the tower's appeal "since that deck is right in our back yard," Rudy says. "We would be thrilled to get it. It would be huge for us."

Fish says the building's owners are firmly committed to bringing the building to the top of its market and filling it. To that end, Barry has hired property manager Jeannie Knowles, who will work with tenants and oversee the day-to-day operations of the building.

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Old July 4th, 2005, 06:47 PM   #3
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Nothing specific... just interesting.
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ADO working on 50 projects
Sunday, July 03, 2005
MICHAEL TOMBERLIN
News staff writer

The top Alabama industry hunter says the state's success at landing high-dollar projects is pushing officials to work harder to stay ahead of competing states, even as rumbles grow there is another big project out there to win.

Neal Wade, executive director of the Alabama Development Office, says his agency is now working with companies behind more than 50 projects. Automotive and aerospace plants, warehouse operations and call centers are among them, he said.

"The good thing is they are looking throughout the state," Wade said. "They're not concentrated in one place."

The seven-county Birmingham-Hoover metro area is in the running for several projects, while at least one of the companies is looking in the Birmingham City limits, Wade said. He wouldn't disclose any specifics about the projects.

Wade also declined to discuss "Project Pinetree," a major project that's veiled in secrecy. Site selectors are said to be considering a site in Limestone County. Wade said if the project is legitimate, Alabama will do all it can to try to win it.

Speculation on "Pinetree" has focused on the automotive industry. Officials have theorized the project could be an Audi or Kia assembly plant, or a factory for German auto supplier Karmann or another company. Nobody knows for sure, as is often the case in a major project's early stages.

Limestone County's competitor is said to be a site in Chattanooga.

Wade said ADO and others are taking steps to keep the state competitive with its neighbors. Just last month, Southern Business & Development magazine gave Alabama and North Carolina a shared title as the best states for economic development in 2004.

Between 2002 and 2004, companies in Alabama spent $8.4 billion on capital investments, creating 58,166 new jobs through new operations or expanded existing ones.

"The state of economic development is good," Wade told members of the Economic Development Association of Alabama at meeting last week. "It's not great, but it's real good."

Before Mercedes-Benz chose Alabama for its first U.S. plant in 1993, Wade said, the state was rarely considered for a major project. Now it's a virtual certainty that Alabama is on the list for any major project in the Southeast.

"We expect to compete for projects," Wade said. "We expect to win projects."

To continue that winning streak, Wade wants the state to create so-called "mega sites" that are certified and ready for big projects. Such a certification would assure that a site is either assembled or under contract, is already fitted with the necessary infrastructure and meets all other general criteria for an industrial prospect.

Wade said there are two pieces of unfinished business from the last legislative session that need to be addressed in an upcoming special session.

The first is a bill allowing for a multi-state authority allowing cooperation between Alabama and Mississippi in the recruitment of industries near the state lines. Mississippi has approved its part of the agreement. Alabama must do the same, Wade said.

A second bill would come up with money for $4.4 million in promised site preparation grants around the state that have not been paid.

Meanwhile, ADO wants to expand its work in Asia through its offices with Troy University in Japan and South Korea. The state also needs to be more selective in the pipeline of projects it works from Europe.

Some internal restructuring due to retirements and resignations at ADO is also in the works, Wade said.

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Old July 12th, 2005, 06:52 PM   #4
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Inverness condo projects clear planners
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
DAWN KENT
News staff writer

The Hoover Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday approved plans for 243 condominiums to be built in the Inverness community in separate projects near U.S. 280 in Shelby County.

The projects include an eight-story building on the site of the existing Inverness Country Club and a four-story building behind Inverness Corners Shopping Center.

Both developments are set to include condominiums with prices of $300,000 or more.

Hoover planners said developers have agreed to traffic improvements, including a left-hand turn lane that will be built along Inverness Parkway for the country club project.

Meanwhile, the condominiums behind the shopping center may prompt a traffic signal change on Valleydale Road.

Planners also said the type of condominiums planned are not likely to draw many families with school-age children, suggesting they will have little effect on the Hoover school system.

The Hoover City Council will have the final say on the projects. Each developer is requesting conditional approval to allow the condominiums, and the country club project also requires a rezoning.

On the country club site, plans call for demolishing the existing golf clubhouse. The new building will have a golf club on the first floor and 118 condominiums in seven stories above it.

Developer Bill Ochsenhirt said the condominiums, which are targeted at empty-nesters, will have an average price of about $400,000. Ochsenhirt and partner Jon Kimerling bought the country club earlier this year and are planning improvements to the property.

Near the shopping center, developer David Keith's plans call for 125 condominiums in a four-story building, along with a two-story office building and restaurant. Base price for the condominiums will be at least $300,000.

Neither of the projects drew opposition at Monday's meeting.

Noel Chambless, president of the Inverness Master Homeowners Association, said he has met with Ochsenhirt about the country club project. Chambless said residents are excited about getting a new clubhouse, and the condominiums provide an alternative for retired or elderly people who do not want to leave Inverness.

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Old July 21st, 2005, 01:38 AM   #5
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Unanimous vote gives money for Sloss center
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
BARNETT WRIGHT
News staff writer

The Birmingham City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to spend $900,000 beginning in two years to help build a $15 million visitor center and museum at Sloss Furnaces.

The council voted one week after city officials announced at a finance committee meeting the city intends to come up with $300,000 in fiscal 2008, 2009 and 2010 for the project.

Bob Rathburn, executive director of Sloss Furnaces, said the money will help in building a new entrance road, lighting and other infrastructure.

The Sloss Master Site Plan, prepared in 2002, calls for the construction of a 30,000-square-foot visitor center and museum with 6,000 square feet of exhibit space near the west end of the site.

Construction could begin by January and is expected to take 15 months, Rathburn said.

In other business, the council:

Delayed for three weeks appointing someone to the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority to fill the unexpired term of Bob McKenna, who resigned last month. Councilwoman Carol Reynolds nominated Guin Robinson, but council members asked for more time to review resumes.

Voted to sell property along Eighth Avenue North to Opus South Corp. for $3.5 million for the Social Security Administration's Southeastern Program Center and a 1,755 space parking garage.

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Old July 25th, 2005, 12:09 AM   #6
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Bayer plans Summit hotel
Sunday, July 24, 2005
SHERRI C. GOODMAN
News staff writer

Now that most of the retail slots are filled in the Summit's fourth phase, developer Bayer Properties Inc. is focusing on the final component of its vision for the lifestyle center - a luxury hotel.

Bayer is in negotiations with a hotel operator to build a 200- to 300-room hotel in the fourth phase of the Summit, said Jeffrey Bayer, principal at Bayer Properties. Bayer said he hopes to announce an agreement next quarter and have a hotel open by 2007.

"We still think there is room in the market for an upper-end hospitality provider and we've been led to believe we have the best site in the region," Bayer said Friday. Bayer said the 900,000-square-foot mixed use project may even have room for another hotel in one of its other phases as the tenant mix evolves.

"We have set aside areas that we could come back and in-fill with additional construction," Bayer said. The developer will make sure any additions won't over-tax the area's transportation system, he said.

Most of the retailers in phase four will open Aug. 17, anchored by a 10,000-square-foot Anthropologie, an urban-Bohemian clothing and housewares retailer. Other phase four retailers include women's clothing store Coldwater Creek, wine and tapas bar The Grape, and Swoozies, a stationery and gifts chain started by a former Neiman Marcus executive.

Bayer recently signed leases in phase four for an Aveda hair and skincare store, and Franchesca's Closet, a boutique-style women's clothing store.

"We want to create so much diversity at the Summit that it becomes even more regional in its draw," Bayer said.

Bayer is in negotiations with a "major home furnishings and gift store" for phase four as well as a smaller, bistro-style restaurant and more fashion retailers, he said.

The center is also adding new tenants in its older phases. Trendy dungaree designer Lucky Brand Jeans will open a 3,000-square-foot store in the center later this year.

"Our goal is to continue improving the merchandising mix of all phases of the Summit so it remains the fashion center of the Southeast and don't lose any of our momentum," Bayer said.

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Old July 26th, 2005, 01:13 AM   #7
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Hey Admin, can this thread get a sticky too? Please?

I hope the new hotel is something along the lines of a Westin, Four Seasons, or the like. Anyways, article in B'ham News yesterday:

Catching condo fever
Sunday, July 24, 2005
MICHAEL TOMBERLIN
News staff writer
Mike White does not look like a typical condominium developer - though with today's condo boom in Birmingham, it's hard to say what's typical.

White, president of an electrical contractor, and partner Tom Carruthers III are investing $3.2 million to create 16 condos in the New Williams building in the 1900 block of Third Avenue North. It's their first project of this kind.

Their condos, ranging from 850 to 1,600 square feet, will have oak floors and high ceilings. Rather than exposed brick, though, the New Williams condos will have a finished look. A new mezzanine is being built, creating a fifth level, including the ground floor that will become a parking garage.

"We feel like when everything is done and said, this block is going to be the premiere place for downtown living," White said, standing on an upper-floor balcony and peering at the Alabama Theatre sign a block away.

A couple of blocks to the east, an Atlanta developer is investing $20 million to transform the 27-story City Federal building into 90 condos, and a few blocks to the west, a California developer is spending $20 million to create 65 condos in the old 20-story Cabana Hotel.

Condo development is exploding in Birmingham, with recently announced or completed projects adding nearly 1,700 units in a metro area where condos have never been hugely popular.

They are appealing to those who like the low maintenance and free lifestyle of an apartment but would rather own than rent. The projects dot downtown and extend to the Southside and over to the Highland Avenue neighborhood.

Condo-mania doesn't end at the downtown grid. Suburban communities such as Inverness, Liberty Park and downtown Homewood are feeling the condo craze, with projects featuring luxury-level amenities, golf courses and fitness centers.

In some cases, prices for these new condos around Birmingham are topping $1 million.

"I think this is a relatively recent phenomenon for Sunbelt cities, excluding Florida, of course," said Leonard Zumpano, a real estate expert at the University of Alabama. "I don't know that condos were ever in favor in the South."

Margi Ingram, head of Ingram & Associates, whose Condominium Shoppe division handles sales for more than 16 condo projects in the Birmingham area, said it's not a matter of condos making a comeback in the Magic City. They've simply never been this big.

"When we started doing condos, we were probably one of the first companies in 1980 and then the high interest rates hit and condos kind of went away," she said. "We've been waiting 20 years for them to come back."

What's driving this boom?

Zumpano believes there are lots of reasons.

"Increasing congestion, noise, aggravation with traffic and commute times and a changing of the demographics so that condos appeal to a larger segment of the American population now than it did 15 years ago are all factors," he said.

"A lot of it is demographics, a lot of it is market and some of it is speculation," he added.

White is being drawn into the condo game as a developer by simple economics - one condo recently sold for $1.2 million and future ones are expected to fetch as much as $1.5 million. White's condos will sell for a more modest $180,000s to $300,000s range and are being listed by Don Acton and Pete Graphos of RealtySouth.

Some buyers are already selling their condos at a profit - even on those that have not finished construction.

Ingram said more than a dozen of the 76 sold-out condos in Soho Flats in downtown Homewood have been re-sold at profits of $15,000 and up.

The condo craze is not limited to Birmingham.

Ingram said her counterparts in other large cities across the country tell her condos are selling briskly there as well.

"I think it's probably a national craze in almost every major city," she said, adding that it appears to be reaching into all demographic groups in these cities.

In Birmingham, identifying a "typical" condo buyer is as difficult as pointing to a "typical" condo developer these days.

Young professional single women are as likely as young professional single men to buy a condo, Zumpano said. Generation Y newlyweds are as apt as empty nester Baby Boomer couples to go condo, though what each may be looking for could differ.

"There are all different types of profiles of people who are buying. It's not just the very young people. Every age group is buying."

Ingram added: "The young professionals are looking for more of an entry level with different amenities than the empty nester group that is looking for more quality, security, larger units and all of the things they enjoy in their homes and even some things they don't have," she said.

A growing part of the condo trend are people who own second homes at the beach or the lake and are willing to downsize their day-to-day home, Zumpano and Ingram said.


Landmarks:

Nowhere is the condo boom a bigger boon than downtown, where it is helping drive revitalization of old buildings, including landmarks such as City Federal and the Cabana.

"The fact that people are interested in coming back to the city is a very good thing," Zumpano said. "Whether that is just a flash in the pan or a long-term sustainable trend really depends on what the city does to encourage that kind of movement back into town. That means building infrastructure, encouraging development of not only restaurants and retail, but cultural activities and good, safe, quality schools."

The reason for the increase in suburban condo development is different, Zumpano said. Those projects have more to do with increasing the opportunities for would-be residents to buy into already attractive neighborhoods.

"Part of it may be that it's getting very expensive to find land to build on in the suburbs," he said. "The only way builders can keep things quasi-affordable is to intensify land use and condominiums is one obvious response to that."

In the end, however, the condo boom is an offshoot of the general housing boom boosted by historically low mortgage interest rates and a better educated consumer.

"I think there is a whole confluence of things going on all of which are important, but the linchpin for everything is the credit availability - underwriting is relaxed, rates are low and people are more aware of the benefits of owning versus renting," Zumpano said.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 05:47 AM   #8
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I wouldnt bet on a Westin, though I guess it is possible. Westin is still looking at building a 25-story Westin Grand Bohemian on the Birmingham Board of Educ. site. We need only to reach an agreement between the City of Bham and the Board of Educ.... but we all know how difficult a chore that can be sometimes, so we'll have to see.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 06:39 PM   #9
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Rumor has it that Birmingham has now given the FAA a tower proposal of about 675-700ft (excluding spire height). It is expected to be a mixed-use facility and has an expected completion date of possibly as soon as 2007.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 01:28 AM   #10
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ALDOT plans to widen US280 from 6 lanes to 8 lanes. The widening will be from I-459 to Hugh Daniel Drive. It's not a permanent solution to the problem, but it'll certainly help!
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Old July 27th, 2005, 08:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazer85
Rumor has it that Birmingham has now given the FAA a tower proposal of about 675-700ft (excluding spire height).
Seriously now? You guys are sneaking up on us...
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Old July 27th, 2005, 08:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brillemeister
Seriously now? You guys are sneaking up on us...
Yep... we'll just have to see whether the FAA approves it. From what I understand, if approved, construction would take 18 months. There is also a 27-story tower proposal that is closer to a reality than this 45-story proposal. There are also still plans for a 25-floor Westin downtown. Could be several highrises on the way for Birmingham. Either way, with more than 3 highrise proposals currently out there, youd think at LEAST one will get built. We can only hope, however, that all are built.
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Old August 1st, 2005, 07:24 PM   #13
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Blazer, great info. The FAA thing will be tricky. I flew in just yesterday and we basically approached by following I-65N to I-20/59E. We just cleared the TV towers on Red Mountain (I almost crapped my pants). That's the third time in the last 2 months my plane's followed that flight path. The way things are there's not much room for error. Do you have any links regarding the Westin? Last I heard the school board was dragging ass on this one. DUDE, could you imagine the boost this city would get w/ a Westin?!

Also, if you have any links to the other stories you just mentioned please post as well. Thanks!!!
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Old August 1st, 2005, 07:30 PM   #14
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I saw this in B'ham News yesterday in regards to US 280 traffic (too long to copy and paste):

http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnew...870.xml&coll=2

Also, in addition to the widening of US280 previously mentioned by Blazer85, ALDOT announced:

I-22 (Corridor X): All lanes will be opened between Jasper and the Mississippi line before Thanksgiving. Within a few months, motorists on I-65 in Birmingham will see earth being moved to bring the corridor to I-65. Corridor X should be complete by 2011.

I-65 in Shelby County: Surveying is under way to add two lanes to the interstate from the Shelby County Airport to Valleydale Road.

I-59 at Trussville: A contract to repair the rough interstate surface from Trussville for 16½ miles into St. Clair County will be awarded in September.

I-459/280 flyover: Work should begin by November, or at the latest early next year, on the flyover from U.S. 280 westbound to I-459 south. The flyover will eliminate dangerous left turns from U.S. 280 to the interstate.

Northern beltline: It will be at least 18 months before work can begin on the road that is planned to complete the loop around Birmingham begun by I-459. There are problems with an environmental document that need to be cleared before construction can begin.
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Old August 2nd, 2005, 12:38 AM   #15
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Large office complex to be built near civil rights district

A large office complex for the Social Security Administration will be built on the edge of Birmingham's historic civil rights district.

Opus South Corp. announced Monday it has signed an agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration to act as developer on the project, which consists of an eight-story office building set back from a 200,000-square-foot, two-story building for SSA employees. The 587,000-square-foot office building will be available for lease.

Opus, which will also serve as general contractor, will own the buildings. The company would not release the estimated value of the project.

However, Gary Mote, chief spokesman for GSA's South Sunbelt Region, says the federal agency will pay $15.4 million for a 20-year lease.

Site preparation is slated to begin in October. The office complex will be built between Eighth and Ninth avenues north and 12th and 14th streets north. The developer says the project is expected to be complete in late 2007.

The two-story building will house SSA's Southeast Payment Processing Center, which will move from its current location at 2001 12th Avenue North, according to Atlanta-based Opus.

"They are actually very close to each other," Mote says. "The old facility had become functionally obsolete since the GSA has done some downsizing. This building is better suited to the new program."

Mayor Bernard Kincaid called the complex "a very important project for the city of Birmingham and an important step in further revitalizing an urban area that has a significant place in our nation's history."

Opus is using the design-build approach, which brings together a team of real estate professionals, architects and building managers to oversee the project. Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum Inc. of St. Louis is the lead designer and interior architect.

Opus' news release on the project says the buildings will be designed and located on the site in a way that lets in as much natural light as possible. Government security features will be incorporated into the design.

SSA's approximately 2,200 processing center employees have been housed at 12th Avenue North for nearly three decades.

The new facility will have amenities such as a high-tech mail center, full-service cafeteria, day-care center, credit union, fitness center and auditorium.

To complement the other low-rise buildings in the civil rights district, the building closest to the street which will be two stories, with about 100,000 square feet on each floor. All areas will have large windows overlooking downtown and the historic district.

Opus South Corp. is a division of The Opus Group, a real estate development company founded more than 50 years ago.



© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
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Old August 6th, 2005, 02:07 AM   #16
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Birmingham's new tower

[IMG]Yep... we'll just have to see whether the FAA approves it. From what I understand, if approved, construction would take 18 months. There is also a 27-story tower proposal that is closer to a reality than this 45-story proposal. There are also still plans for a 25-floor Westin downtown. Could be several highrises on the way for Birmingham. Either way, with more than 3 highrise proposals currently out there, youd think at LEAST one will get built. We can only hope, however, that all are built.[/IMG]

ohhh...so y'all saw the RSA tower in Mobile and decided to make one just as big with more floors in it. don't be jealous. if it goes into motion, then B'Ham will be put on the map in America.
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Old August 20th, 2005, 08:54 PM   #17
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Mobile: home of the big spire.



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Old August 21st, 2005, 06:10 PM   #18
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Damn YOU!



just bring it.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 01:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddy Gordo


just bring it.
"ARE YOU THREATENING ME?"



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Old December 17th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #20
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- Birmingham's famous Tutwiler Hotel has been purchased and there are plans for more than $5M in renovations to the historic hotel.

- New Orleans' Confederate Motor Co. (a high-dollar motorcycle designer and manufacturer) has opted to relocate to downtown Birmingham... primarily as a result of the proximity to the world-class Barber Vintage Motorsports Park and Museum. Confederate Motor Co. will spend more than $10M on their downtown Birmingham facility.

-An old 4 story building next to WorkPlay will be converted to condos by adding a fifth story, to make way for 35 condos. It will include roof top pool, fitness center, retaill on the 1st floor, and a new 2 story retail building next to the old one.


-The Birmingham International Airport, currently expanding the runway from 10,000ft to 12,000ft, has also decided to build an additional concourse that will have 747 flight gates and the offices of other federal international regulatory departments. The additional concourse would increase the size of the airport by almost 50%.
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