Birmingham’s American Life Building reaches halfway point of $24M redevelopment

Built in 1925, the American Life Building is slated to become affordable housing. Photo by Pat Byington, for Bham Now

On March 5, developer Ed Ticheli announced that the $24 million redevelopment of the eye-catching American Life Building in downtown Birmingham officially reached its halfway point. That’s right—the upgraded building is slated to open later this year.

A Birmingham Landmark

Groundbreaking of the redevelopment of the American Life Building. Photo via HUD.gov

The 12-story, 84,000 square-foot apartment building was constructed in 1925 in order to hold office space. And good timing, too—since the old Birmingham City Hall had a massive fire, many city departments temporarily moved their offices into the American Life Building.

In the mid-1900s, the Birmingham division of the FBI used the building as their headquarters. Although the American Life Insurance Company used the building as their headquarters for 12 years, the owner eventually declared bankruptcy in 1983. Since then, the building was only used as document storage.

Redevelopment

Los Angeles Mayor
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin flanked by Mayor Stephen Benjamin(L) and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles in front of the American Life Building, site of an Opportunity Zone. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Although several redevelopment plans came and went throughout the years, it wasn’t until 2018 that the project gained traction. Owner Ed Ticheli proposed a multi-million dollar redevelopment, in order to convert the structure into affordable workforce housing.

In order to help finance the redevelopment, Ticheli secured over $3 million in Historic Preservation Tax Credits from Alabama. Additionally, BIG Partnership, AlabamaSAVES and the City of Birmingham have invested in the project as well.

What’s Next?

A rendering of the finished American Life project. Rendering via Hendon + Huckestein Architects PC

As of March 5, the team has already started framing and putting up drywall in each of the apartments. Once complete, the project will offer 140 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. These apartments will range from $700 to $1,100 a month. Five of the apartments will be reserved for The Dannon Project to rent to its clients as well.

This apartment complex will be very centrally located near the heart of downtown—and let’s not forget, the apartment has an unobstructed view of the Magic City 😍

Think you’d like to live in the renovated American Life Building? Let us know your thoughts by tagging @bhamnow on social media!


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