Find out how Hardware Park is breathing new life into a historic building

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Matt Fitzgerald and Arnar Thors in front of their new development, Hardware Park. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now.

Birmingham is constantly evolving, improving, and breathing new life into historic areas. I got the chance to meet Matt Fitzgerald and Arnar Thors, the businessmen behind the new Hardware Park co-working space in the historic Long-Lewis building.

The ongoing renovation of Birmingham

Birmingham has changed a lot in the past 4 years.

I first arrived in Birmingham in 2015. When I drove through downtown for the first time, I noticed a lot of empty buildings. It was far from the bustling downtown of Birmingham in the 1950s that I had seen in the photos.

Since then, I’ve been so happy to see the downtown renovation over the past few years. The Pizitz building transformed from an empty structure to foodie heaven in downtown. Meanwhile, the Empire Building became the host for the fancy Elyton Hotel.

Similarly, two businessmen are looking to breathe new life into the historic Long-Lewis Hardware building. I can’t wait to see!

Fitz-Thors Engineering

Matt and Arnar on the roof of Hardware Park. What a view! Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now.

Matt Fitzgerald and Arnar Thors met at the University of Alabama and quickly became fast friends.

After a couple of years in the engineering industry, Matt and Arnar decided to try something new. In 2007, they started their own firm, Fitz-Thors Engineering. The firm specializes in custom parts for manufacturing and robotics for clients such as Mercedes-Benz, General Electric, Lockheed-Martin, and more.

With a growing company of 30 employees, Matt and Arnar began looking for a larger space for their company. In February, they closed on a perfect site – the historic Long-Lewis Hardware building.

Hardware Park

The Long-Lewis Hardware building, then and now.

The Long-Lewis Hardware building, then and now.

Long-Lewis Hardware operated out of the downtown building since 1929. In order to honor the long-lasting hardware company, Matt and Arnar settled on the name Hardware Park.

Hardware Park is just two blocks away from I-65 and a short drive from downtown. The property includes 5 buildings on two city blocks, as well as a nearby parking lot. With 140,000 square feet, the property was more than Fitz-Thors needed. Then, they had the bright idea to share the space.

The concept for Hardware Park. The park will eventually have a rooftop terrace with food and drinks. We can’t wait! Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now.

Co-working at the Park

Look at the 100+ year old timber! Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now .

“Similar to Innovation Depot, we are carving out spaces for small companies that are cost-effective for them to rent, scale up, and have access to a shared manufacturing area.”

Matt Fitzgerald

Hardware Park is a dream come true for tech startup companies. Within the co-working space, tenants can work together on projects and share equipment. It is much easier to collaborate under one roof than to have to schedule meetings! This speeds up the time to market for products, saving the company’s time and money.

Hardware Park already has five committed tenants – Fitz-Thors, Purilan, Push Product Design, Local Bicycle Racks, and Downstream Logistics. There is still more room for many more!

The Fitz-Thors warehouse space inside Hardware Park. So spacious! Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now.

Interested in learning more? Sign up on Hardware Park’s website to discover all the perks of working at Birmingham’s newest co-working space!

Hardware Park at 811 5th Avenue North

What is your favorite part of Hardware Park so far? Let us know by tagging @BhamNow !

  • Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.