West Homewood’s 186 Building gets a huge makeover (Photos)

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186 Building in West Homewood
Ignite Properties’ 186 Building, a new development in West Homewood. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Since 1965, the 186 Building stood as one of the most recognizable buildings in West Homewood. However, this former self-service car wash building fell into disrepair over the years. Now, new owner Ignite Properties gave this iconic building a facelift. Check out all the perks of working at the 186 Building.

History

The 186 Building was constructed in 1965 as a self-service car wash with seven car-wash bays. Later on, constructors added a second floor under a spreading mansard roof. Over the years, the 186 Building hosted veterinarians, attorneys, tax firms, barber shops and more. However, much like the popcorn ceiling in my old house, the 1960s design of the building did not translate well to 2020.

Renovation + Details

186 Building in West Homewood
During renovation, the building was nearly stripped to the bones. Photo courtesy of Ignite Properties
  • Total Area: 6500 square feet
  • 1st Floor: Available for Office or Retail use
  • 2nd Floor: Available for Office use

Then, Ignite Properties acquired the building in 2018 and began renovations in 2019. Over the next few months, Ignite Properties and their partners got down to work. With the help of architect Design Initiative and general contractor Murray Building Company, Ignite Properties transformed the old car wash into a thriving modern office.

“Our goal was to blend our Ignite Properties’ aesthetic–simple, clean, modern–with the personality of West Homewood and the history of this building.”

Adam Thrower, Ignite Properties

Rejuvenation of West Homewood

Every Tuesday night in June and July, West Homewood hosts an evening farmers market from 5 to 8 PM. Photo via Christine Hull for Bham Now

The restoration of the 186 Building coincides with the momentum sweeping through West Homewood. If you haven’t seen the area in a while, it’s worth a visit. Over the past few years, West Homewood has experienced waves of rejuvenation throughout its neighborhoods and business centers. There’s a reason that Bham Now is obsessed with the neighborhood.

  • Seed’s Coffee Company: a local nonprofit coffee company that serves up some of the best coffee while giving back to the community.
  • Ash Restaurant: This cozy restaurant has all the southern favorites you’d want–fried green tomatoes, BBQ chicken and grits, and much much more.
  • Pizzeria GM: They’ve got it all at Pizzeria GM— small plates, salads, sandwiches, pizza and pasta.
  • The Little London Kitchen: Originally a food truck, the Little London Kitchen is bringing their British comfort food to a new pub location in West Homewood.
  • Nexus Fitness: Right next to the 186 Building, the Nexus Fitness CrossFit gym is the perfect place to work off the calories.
  • Patriot Park + West Homewood Community Pool: Newly remodeled, Patriot Park has everything you need for a fun day with the kids. Plus, the new pool is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day!

West Homewood District Plan

186 Building in West Homewood
Ignite Properties’ 186 Building under construction in 2019. Photo courtesy of Ignite Properties.

Both residents and businesses alike are passionate about the West Homewood District Plan. This plan is a mandate that encourages West Homewood to follow the architectural aesthetic of downtown Homewood. Whether it be riding a bike through a trail or walking down a populated sidewalk, the West Homewood District Plan encourages accessibility throughout the area.

“Through the Homewood Master Plan process in 2007, West Homewood residents asked for a walkable, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood center and set the stage for a more detailed, step-by- step, neighborhood-level plan.”

The West Homewood District Plan, 2007

With the goal of a walkable commercial center, the West Homewood District plan directs new commercial developments to bring their structures to the sidewalks, similar to 18th Street in downtown Homewood. With the size, location, and the condition of the existing structure, Ignite determined the 186 Building itself was worthy to save and remodel, rather than demolishing the existing structure and constructing a new one.

Although this strategy didn’t bring the building to sidewalk, Ignite’s hope is that it furthers the goals of the neighborhood. By renovating the building, Ignite is able to provide an affordable location for local office tenants and merchants that is easily accessed by pedestrians and drivers.

Fulfilling the Vision of Ignite Properties

186 Building in West Homewood
Bird’s eye view of the 186 Building in West Homewood. Photo courtesy of Ignite Properties

With a dual background in construction and real estate, Ignite Properties is in a unique position to help turn around buildings in Birmingham that need a helping hand.

Take Ignite Properties’s 400 41st Street project in Avondale for example. With the spirit of revitalization sweeping through Avondale, Ignite Properties decided to transform the old gas station into the premiere office location in Avondale.

Three of the four tenants are first-time entrepreneurs, and their location in the 400 41st Street building gives them unparalleled accessibility to the art, music, food and spirit of Avondale.

In both Avondale and West Homewood, Ignite Properties saw potential and wanted to be involved. By encouraging responsible growth, Ignite Properties aims to play a part in the rejuvenation of Birmingham’s neighborhoods.

Want to Learn More about the 186 Building?

186 Building in West Homewood
Marcus Fetch‘s mural depicts joy of childhood imagination. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Interested in working out of West Homewood’s 186 Building? Visit their website to learn more about the property, tenant opportunities and leasing requirements.

When you’re ready, reach out to Bill Clements with The Retail Companies. Contact: 205.823.3030 | Email.

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