Affordable apartments planned in downtown Birmingham, answer to “missing middle?”

IMG 2859 Affordable apartments planned in downtown Birmingham, answer to "missing middle?"
Bham street markets. Via-

Is there a “missing middle” in Birmingham residential real estate development? The plan for the historic Stonewall Building downtown might be providing some of that missing real estate.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, many cities and close suburbs see a troubling trend. They report on the movement further out of the city by those same millennials  who helped revitalize and rejuvenate inner cities and downtown areas…and with them goes their spending power.

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The sleek high-rise luxury apartments aren’t practical or affordable in many cases.  According to a study by the Urban Land Institute, a research organization dedicated to responsible land use, once many of these young city dwellers “grow up” they want more affordable housing with a bit more privacy.

Image result for urban Mellenals, in Bham al
Via- Carrigan’s Pub.

Some developers, architects and urban planners see this trend and are trying to keep those city dwellers downtown by reviving row houses, duplexes, triplexes and larger more affordable apartments with a less luxury, but more space.

Photo: Naaman B. Fletcher
Ticheli has plans to provide affordable living options

On 4th Avenue North at 23rd St North sits the Stonewall Building, or the old American Life Building.

Ed Ticheli, has owned the building for a long time. Years ago he had this same plan in mind but the development stalled out. It looks like it might be happening now.

Ticheli has received $182,182 in state historic tax credits/allocation for renovation and development of affordable apartments, with another  $2.9 million wait listed until the beginning 2019.

Photo: Naaman B. Fletcher
Is it time?

The plan is for the Stonewall Building to offer affordable (not Section 8) apartment homes renting for around $600 a month for a studio to $900 a month on the higher end. The old 84,000-square-foot building should have space for 137 residential units with shops and dining planned for the ground floor.

stonewall rendering Affordable apartments planned in downtown Birmingham, answer to "missing middle?"
Via: Ed Ticheli

“I have been wanting to do this for many years, and I have been looking for the right building and the right opportunity,” Ticheli says.

“I’d say we did this at the right time because five years ago would have been too early . . . We could have bought these buildings for very little money, but the education of the market wasn’t there.” Ed Ticheli.


Do a little browsing online and you’ll run across many articles about how millennials want to live in urbansettings. Cities want to draw in these young professionals, and to do that, affordable housing is necessary.

More land conserved, less cars on the streets, more urban walkways, businesses supported, so a healthy tax base…seems like urban planners all over the country would encourage affordable, safe residential development.

Where do you think the next affordable apartments might be planned in downtown Birmingham or do we need them at all? Join the conversation.

Cameron Balentine
Cameron Balentine
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