Within a few blocks of Powell Avenue Steam plant, there are new hotels, restaurants, residences and offices rising, with more projects on the horizon. Here are some highlights:
- Denham Building – The historic warehouse complex, close to Interstate 65, is being restored into a mixed-use development with offices, residences and retail.
- Bakers Row – This office development on the west end of Railroad Park will add a new element: a seven-story student housing complex to serve the ever-expanding University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
- Hilton hotels – A block south of Railroad Park, the recently opened, joint Home2 Suites and Hilton Garden Inn are serving visitors to the Parkside area and the nearby UAB and Children’s of Alabama medical district.
- Children’s of Alabama – Speaking of, the children’s hospital complex is in the midst of constructing a 12-story parking deck and six-story office building. The project is expected to be completed this summer.
- Smile-A-Mile Place – After an extensive search, the nonprofit Smile-A-Mile, which provides therapeutic services and summer camps to children with cancer, chose a Parkside building constructed in 1908 for its new campus. The completely renovated building provides space for programming, special events and for the organization’s growing staff, close to Railroad Park and the medical district.
- Printer’s Corner – Many folks knew it as the “You Are Beautiful” building. That’s because the long-vacant structure that once housed a printing press had for years sported that uplifting phrase in bold white letters, thanks to a local graffiti artist. Today, what is now being called Printers Corner is being renovated into apartments and restaurant space.
- Bagels and more bagels – Last but not least, downtown’s dearth of high-quality bagel emporiums has come to an end. Directly across from the southeast corner of Railroad Park, Mile End Delicatessen has opened, offering Montreal-style Jewish deli fare, including that city’s version of the donut-shaped delicacy. Meanwhile, a few blocks away at Innovation Depot, the home-grown Crestline Bagel Co. has opened a new location.
More projects are in the offing and under way across downtown Birmingham as the city draws more people back into its historic center to live, work and play. Just in time for that lovely spring weather.