We went behind the scenes of the new M2 development, the sequel to MAKEbhm

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Carruthers and Lanier are a powerhouse team- their combined experience in architecture and real estate yields great odds for success for this new development. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Some big names in Birmingham business and development have teamed up on a new project. Tom Carruthers, President of Red Rock Realty and Bruce Lanier, Founder and Owner of MAKEbhm have joined with Grant Brigham, Partner at ARC Realty. They’re bringing a new development to 3501 1st Ave South (formerly Old Car Heaven) later this year, and we’ve got all the details.

The Project at a Glance

Space plan for M2. Photo via M2bhm.com
  • Location: 3501 1st Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35222
  • Square Footage: 70,000 sq. ft.
  • Design: Mix of office and production space
  • Rental Rate: Starting at $7.50/sq. ft.
  • Check out more leasing info here

M2 – Workspace Reimagined

This development will be located in a bustling area of Birmingham, just a few blocks from Avondale and Pepper Place. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

In early 2018, MAKEbhm announced plans to expand. Bruce Lanier, the founder of this popular and innovative “makers and creatives” workspace saw a need in the market for a space that would help businesses grow.

In their announcement of M2, MAKEbhm claimed that one challenge many small maker enterprises face is the need for a large amount of space for their production. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Enter M2, a first-of-its-kind workplace designed for emerging businesses and entrepreneurs in light manufacturing and product design.

The Property + Location

The 70,000 square foot building was formerly Old Car Heaven, an event venue and antique car museum. Located between Pepper Place and Avondale, the north side of the property flanks the railroad tracks and was originally built to support that operation.

It has been used as a popular event space in the past due to its large open rooms and ample parking and was recently used in a few film projects, including Devil All the Time this past spring.

The open and industrial space makes an ideal location for all kinds of ventures. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

The investors purchased the building from the bank for $2.14M following its repossession.

The property is located directly on the future Jones Valley Trail System, an extension of the Red Mountain Trail System. This will increase the traffic the development sees, and add great incentives for food and drink tenants to lease at M2.

The Team Behind the Development

Investment, development, brokerage, site selection- you name it, Carruthers has most likely done it. Photo by Cindy Martin for Bham Now.

Tom Carruthers has a long and successful history in real estate. A Birmingham native, Carruthers currently serves as a Principal Owner and President of Red Rock Realty Group, as well as an owner and Vice President of LAH Real Estate.

An architect by trade, Lanier has worked in all aspects of project development. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Bruce Lanier serves as Lead Architect as well as Partner in Architecture Works. He is also the founder of MAKEbhm, which is located just a few blocks from the new M2 site.

Grant Brigham is an investor-developer in M2. He is a partner at ARC Realty and the former executive director of Jones Valley Teaching Farm.

All three men have impressive backgrounds in development, and if their previous works are any indication, M2 is sure to be a smash hit.

Coming Late 2019

M2 will be a creative hub for small-scale manufacturing, product design, and more. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

According to Carruthers, they are in talks with potential tenants now. They plan to have the project finished and open later this year.

Work is currently being done on the exterior of the building. The developers are aiming for a clean and modern look. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Lanier described the kind of tenants that M2 will hold:

“We’re targeting people who are in media, tech, light manufacturing- those are kind of the people we reach out to.”

However, they also hinted that some catering and/or restaurant businesses may be coming to M2 as well.

A Space for Makers and Creatives

With M2, tenants will have the space they need to produce, while still being plugged into a creative community every day. Photo by Beth Cunningham for Bham Now.

Carruthers saw opportunity with this particular type of development:

“Because we’d seen the success of MAKEbhm primarily, (we) knew that this was sort of the next generation of that. 

It’s bigger for one, but the same neighborhood- a cool, old, industrial building.”

The developers are watching the project evolve as they gain tenants and craft the space to the needs of the market. M2 is a unique opportunity for the thriving creative community in Birmingham.

Be sure to keep up with Bham Now for all the latest exciting developments!

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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