SkyscraperCity Forum banner

Birmingham gets new luxury hotel

2071 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  LSyd
New hotel coming to downtown, insiders say
Project to include 255 rooms, spa and restaurant
Sunday, April 29, 2007

News staff writer

A luxury hotel is planned for Birmingham at the site of the 17-story former Regions Financial Corp. headquarters at Fifth Avenue and 20th Street North, a source with knowledge of the project said.

Details about the project are expected to be announced Monday at a 2 p.m. news conference. A news release scheduling the event said representatives from Harbert Realty Services, the city of Birmingham and others will unveil plans "concerning a major project to transform a downtown property."

The new hotel would complement Birmingham's corporate offices, boost traffic for downtown merchants and raise the city's profile in the convention business.

The project also represents a return to the site's roots as the home of the original Tutwiler Hotel.

Regions, which merged with across-the-street rival AmSouth Bancorp late last year, put its old headquarters up for sale in March. The bank's base has since moved to the glass tower occupied for decades by AmSouth.

At the time, Regions said it expected to maintain a significant presence in its old building into 2008. It could not be determined Saturday whether Regions still owns the building or how much investment will be involved in the project.

Harbert Realty is part of the Harbert business umbrella tied to Raymond J. Harbert, son of the late construction magnate John M. Harbert III.

Efforts to reach Harbert Realty officials were unsuccessful.

Officials with the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau said news of the project is a welcome surprise.

A major hotel company is expected to operate at the site, with a restaurant, spa, ballrooms and 255 guest rooms, sources said.

"I think our hotel market is ready for a good solid expansion, and I think the location of that one would be great," said Russell Cunningham, president and CEO of the chamber.

The nearby offices of Regions, Wachovia Corp. and Compass Bancshares, along with the centers of city and county government and a host of law firms, make up a "terrific nucleus of business" that attracts corporate travelers, Cunningham said

Enticing conventions:

The new hotel would aid those travelers, as well as people who visit the city for conventions, because the site is within walking distance of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, he said.

Now, about 850 hotel guest rooms are within walking distance of the BJCC that are available for convention visitors, said Dilcy Hilley, vice president of marketing for the convention and visitors bureau.

While Birmingham's convention business is growing, more hotel space is needed to keep competing with other cities that also are trying to woo the profitable gatherings, she said.

"There are groups that would love to meet in Birmingham, but we just can't accommodate their guest needs," Hilley said.

Convention and Visitors Bureau officials would like to have as many as 2,000 guest rooms within walking distance of the BJCC available for conventions, but 1,200 to 1,500 rooms would boost Birmingham's position, she said.

Available hotel space, specifically space that's convenient to a convention complex, is a consistent trait among cities that have growing downtowns, said Barry Copeland, the chamber's executive vice president.

A new hotel also means more pedestrian traffic for downtown businesses, such as restaurants, he said.

A building downtown:

There has been an ongoing building boom of hotel space in the city.

As of December, developers were spending nearly $100 million to build or renovate hotel space downtown and in Southside, for a total of more than 1,500 new or spruced-up rooms.

Recent hotel projects include a $9 million transformation of the current Tutwiler Hotel at 2021 Park Place, which officially became a member of the Hampton Inn & Suites brand earlier this month.

Additional hotel and office space also is planned for the former Federal Reserve property along 18th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues North.

In the Civil Rights District, a developer is proposing hotel space as part of a renovation of the A.G. Gaston Motel. A hotel also is a part of plans for a new downtown entertainment district.

The original Tutwiler Hotel opened in 1914 on the site of the existing Regions Bank headquarters. It was a showplace of the city through the 1950s but was hurt by retail and residential flight to the suburbs.

It was demolished in 1974 to make way for the Regions building.
See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
hotels are great for downtown because they bring in the tourist. Great news here!
This is the 2nd proposed 4-diamond hotel in the city center. VERY good for alot of obvious reasons. The other 4-diamond hotel is the Lexington Collection hotel that is to be 19-stories tall and built to LEED certification. Again I'll say it, anyone who thinks Birmingham is dying on the vine is either A) brain-dead, B) far too pessimistic, or C) has an alterior motive. There are some amazing things going on downtown. There may not be any new 20+ story buildings under construction, but that doesn't really amount to anything except just perception. The reality is that there are over 1 billion $ in projects planned or underway just downtown.

BTW, I read recently where a developer is working to establish a new entertainment district which would be near these 2 4-diamond hotels. The district would basically be centered around 20th Street and 3rd Avenue North.
See less See more
Here's a street-level rendering...

See less See more
I like the street-level rendering. Congrats on this one :eek:kay:
Thanks, this is one step toward bringing back downtown. Hopefully this project will be the catalyst to speed up development.

1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.