Category Archives: Birmingham News

DRC member apologizes for News building vote

During this morning’s Design Review Committee meeting, committee member Cheryl Morgan read a statement into the record of the minutes voicing her regret and concerns about the vote that allows for the demolition of the Birmingham News building. Morgan serves as the director of the Auburn University’s Urban Studio in Birmingham.

The statement asks for all to take part in protecting the assets of the city and suggests that there is some irony with regard to the News’ reporting and its actions with regard to the 1917 structure.

Click through to view a copy of Morgan’s statement in its entirety: Continue reading

Reconciler’s plan to provide housing stalls at neighborhood level

Kathy at Birmingham Blues points out an interesting story in today’s Birmingham News. Her post from earlier today discusses the recent decision by the Ensley Highlands neighborhood association to not support a proposal by Reconciler Development, Inc., an affiliate of the Church of the Reconciler, to renovate several abandoned homes in the neighborhood. This article previously posted on the News’ site but available on provides a little more background on the issue.

The non-profit development corporation would have had potential occupants assist in renovating the properties as permanent residences for mentally and physically healthy people that are trying to get their lives back on track to secure a permanent residence. Neighborhood residents appear to fear that allowing the project to move forward would cause a decrease in property value and a potential increase in drug activity, both denied by representatives of the non-profit.

The earlier article points out that city officials have made all aware that Reconciler Development does not need neighborhood approval for the project to move forward; however it appears that Rev. Higgs has decided to look elsewhere to implement his plan.

News building demolition approved

This morning the owners of the Birmingham News building cleared their last hurdle, allowing for the demolition of the 1917 building to move forward. Birmingham, Alabama’s Design Review Committee voted 5-2-1 to approve changes to the landscaping plan, treatments to the daily newspaper’s production facility facade and reviewed plans to attempt to salvage terra cotta elements of the building prior to demolition.

Architects from Williams Blackstock presented plans to erect a 10 foot screening wall built of brick along the north side of what will become a parking lot for Birmingham News employees. Foster hollies and Boston ivy will be planted along the screen to help serve as a buffer between the new surface lot and the production facility. Plans also call for bronze paint to be used on certain elements of the production facility. The old home for the city’s daily newspaper will be taken down, with the basement level being filled in and the foundation walls being taken down an additional 3 feet to accommodate the installation of the surface lot. Based on statements made during their presentation to the committee in early March, the demolition process should take approximately eleven months.

Historic News building slated for demolition

This morning the city’s Design Review Committee narrowly approved demolition of the former home of the Birmingham News at 2200 4th Avenue North. The building will be removed to provide dedicated assigned parking for employees of Birmingham, Alabama’s daily newspaper. The parking will be fenced with brick piers, using trees and shrubs to edge the property. A compactor will be refaced with brick to match the design of the fence and the new home for the paper, located directly across the street.

During the presentation to the committee Hanson informed committee members that he had been able to acquire original drawings of the building as well as drawings that showed additional modifications to the 1917 structure. He also agreed to document the building’s exterior and interior using digital and traditional photography as well as video, submitting these items to the city’s archives. Hanson told those in attendance that efforts were made to transfer the entryway of the original structure to the new building, completed last year. Research led to that decision being scrapped after learning that what was believed to be stone was in fact terra cotta.

Hanson told the committee that it will take up to eleven months to complete the changes to the site. The project must still return to the committee for approval of its landscaping plan and to provide visuals of what the view will be with your back against the existing structure looking across the street. If you want to get some pictures of the old building for nostalgia, now’s the time to do it.

Existing Birmingham News site plan

Proposed Birmingham News site plan