Birmingham, AL-based Retail Specialists announced pre-leasing has started for a proposed $13 million redevelopment of the former Waite’s Fine Foods property located on the southeastern corner of 7th Avenue South and Richard Arrington, Jr., Boulevard via a press release and their own website. The proposed four story building, to be called Central City, would contain three stories of residential units (45 – 30 one bedroom and 15 two bedroom/two bath units according to the announcement) sitting over approximately 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail/commercial space. Company officials referenced a similar project currently under construction in Montgomery started late last year and scheduled for completion this September, 79C, as a template for the project — company’s second residential effort in the city (after 29 Seven in the city’s Lakeview district).
Reports filed by the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) and AL.com confirmed two existing businesses — Rocky’s Pizza and Stillwater Pub — will need to close if the project proceeds. Pictures of pre-leasing signs placed in the former Waite’s space had already been appearing on Facebook before the announcement. A piece filed by Bryan Davis on the BBJ’s website April 8 says Rocky’s plans to re-open; efforts have not been made by this website to contact Stillwater Pub, though a post was made to their fan page on Facebook Tuesday afternoon stating in part:
Remember that Stillwater is about the people. It’s not a building or even particularly a name, it’s us. Thanks for always being there and supporting us as usual and we will be at it tonight, so come on by! Know that we love you all.
It is mathematically possible for both businesses to return to a completed project based on the 12,000+ square foot portion of the ground floor retail space being labeled as available for subdivision. There will be 35 dedicated off-street parking spaces for those patronizing the eventual retail tenants in addition to dedicated space for residents. The entrance to the residential lofts will be from the off-street parking lot. The press release named Bill Segrest of Williams Blackstock Architects as the architect and DeeDee Everitt of Retail Specialists, LLC as responsible for managing leasing of the retail space. It also stated that the developers hoped to use as much of the limestone facade as possible in the redevelopment of the property “[t]o give a nod towards nostalgia.”
The project still needs to go through the city’s permitting process before construction can begin, including a presentation before the city’s Design Review Committee. Members were informed at the end of their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 8 that the proposal would need to come before them for approval as it does sit in a design review district.