Category Archives: 35233

Plans for new development on former Waite’s site move forward

Waites Fine Foods currentThe demolition of the former Waite’s Fine Foods property, located at the southeastern corner of Richard Arrington, Jr. Boulevard and 7th Avenue South, was approved on a 5-4 vote during yesterday’s regularly scheduled Birmingham Design Review Committee meeting. The vote took place nearly a year after plans were first announced for a $13 million, four-story, mixed-use development on the site.

The developer, Retail Specialists, and the architect, Bill Segrest of Williams Blackstock Architects, must still return to the committee to receive final approval for the building’s design.  Segrest told the committee he and the developer still hope to incorporate parts of the existing limestone facade into the new structure, though they did not want to promise to do so as of yet in case it was not able to be salvaged during the demolition process. If it cannot be salvaged, it was stated efforts would be made to reference distinct architectural elements in the new design.

Rocky’s had originally announced plans to relocate before demolition started via an article in the Birmingham Business Journal last April. A recent interview with stated a new location has not been secured as of yet. It was also suggested it will most likely re-open along one of the metro area’s other commercial corridors at a later date if they choose to do so. The current location will close on Saturday, March 19. Another tenant of the existing building, Stillwater Pub, closed on January 31, announcing the date last August.

They hope to start demolition next month, with construction starting this summer and the building ready for occupancy in summer 2017.

RELATED: Proposed Southside mixed-use redevelopment draws attention, 4.8.2015

Proposed Southside mixed-use redevelopment draws attention

Central City FlyerBirmingham, 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).

Waites Fine Foods currentReports filed by the Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) and 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.

There’s still more Darter Ale to try

Darter Ale logoThose attending the Southern Environmental Center‘s Darter Festival at Railroad Park on April 6 had a chance to try a new craft beer courtesy of Good People Brewing Company. Sales of the limited edition Darter Ale will go towards supporting the center’s watercress “darter education and educational and rehabilitation programs.”

We’ve learned recently that there’s still a supply of the beer available for your consumption at Rojo and The Fish Market on the city’s Southside.

According to a post on the organization’s fan page on Facebook, the “Beer Good Enough to Save a Fish” has been at both restaurants since April 10.

Incidentally, today we also received confirmation of something that’s been murmured around town for a little over a month; Good People is getting a new neighbor – and it’s another Alabama-based brewery.

Beer Engineers formally announced via its website earlier today it would be moving next door to the five year old brewery early next year. subsequently posted a piece this afternoon that included additional information about the building and the plans for the space.

A nice week for Motus Motorcycles

3 words... via Motus Motorcycles. The folks at Motus Motorcycles probably weren’t worried for a moment yesterday, though it could have been a crazier day if the outcome at Monday afternoon’s Budget and Finance committee meeting at Birmingham City Hall had been different.

The business has spent the last 3 ½ years at Innovation Depot and is preparing to “graduate” from the nationally recognized business incubator. They enjoyed a pretty nice morning at the city’s Design Review Committee at the Auburn Urban Studio. (NOTE: Magic City Post has a full rundown of yesterday’s meeting.) That’s where a proposal by Barber Properties to make improvements to property located at 500 28th Street South – the former home to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum – to facilitate serving as the company’s new home was unanimously approved.

This scene could have been a little awkward if the City Council committee hadn’t voted to recommend approval of $75,000 in financial incentives for the motorcycle manufacturer by the full council as reported by Joseph Bryant that evening on The vote was unanimous, though there was apparently an exchange between councilor Lashunda Scales and Jarvis Patton from the mayor’s office.  They’ll be looking to grow their staff by as much as six times as a result of this week’s events.

Photo: 3 words…Blue Ridge Parkway. Courtesy Motus Motorcycles brand page on Facebook.

XO laptops delivered; what about the boxes?

The first major delivery of XO laptop computers were made to students at Glen Iris Elementary School earlier this week. Approximately 700 computers were distributed. We all know how environmentally friendly the laptops are but what about the packaging?

XO laptop boxes recycled

AEC Program Coordinator Jenny Dorgan gets assistance from a student at Glen Iris Elementary School while preparing the boxes that delivered approximately 700 laptops for recycling. Photo courtesy of the Alabama Environmental Council.

Well, the Alabama Environmental Council let us know that they recycled 100% of the packaging from the first disbursement of the laptops (including all of these boxes that you’re seeing).

Pepper Place Farmers Market, Pepper Place

The Pepper Place Saturday Market is in its ninth year providing residents with a place to get fresh produce while exploring one of the city’s coolest districts. The market will begin promptly at 7 a.m. and close at noon in the Pepper Place parking lot. As always, in addition to fresh produce, hand carved wooden fruit trays, wind chimes, hand blown glass, hot sauces, pottery, homemade fudge, peanut brittle and ice cream. Shoppers can also enjoy music from two stages and a weekly cooking demonstration. A chance to meet up with friends and see what Alabama has to offer in terms of produce.

Cost: Supporting area farmers and good food.