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One of the oldest buildings in downtown Birmingham’s Historic Theatre and Retail District is getting a facelift. Owner Engineering Design Technologies is investing roughly $580K in both structural and cosmetic renovations on the three-story Taylor Building, right across from the McWane Science Center.
Engineering Design Technologies, a minority-owned engineering and design-build firm based in Atlanta, is working hard to bring their Birmingham base up to snuff. Over the years, the building has fallen into disrepair—water had damaged much of the third floor and other sections needed some love.
In addition to tackling the water damage, the renovation project is planning some other updates:
- Upgrading much of the mechanical systems
- Rebuilding a section of the roof
- Upgrading the fire exits.
- Furthermore, the renovation includes a wide painting project—sprucing up the facade, the bricks in the alleyway, and the interior.
Built in 1890 by Gilreath Construction Co., the building was commissioned by E.G. Taylor—in fact, you can still see his initials on the triangular piece on top of the building. Although Taylor built the structure for use by doctors, gas and land companies, it became home to milliners, shoe salesmen and clothing stores over the years.
From the 1950s to 1983, a clothing boutique called Three Sisters occupied the Taylor Building. After Gussini Shoes took over the space in 1985, the metal sign was removed. (Thank goodness—why would anyone ever think covering up a beautiful building with metal was a good idea?)
When will the renovations be done?
Although complications from COVID-19 have slowed down the project, the owners expect to complete renovations in mid-2021. Roof repairs began last week, and the mechanical upgrades are next. Over the summer, the team plans to tackle painting the exterior.
The renovation of this historic building is made possible in part by state and federal Historic Tax Credits, which incentive companies to renovate and restore old buildings rather than tear them down to build new ones. Since I adore old architecture and think most modern projects are gaudy, I am a huge fan of the Historic Tax Credits—but that’s just me.