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A vacant five-story, 125,000 square-foot office building on 3rd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham is getting a facelift. New York developer Ed Ticheli is planning to redevelop the former American Red Cross building to fit 192 market rate workforce housing units.
Vacant Since 1998
The building’s story begins in the 1920s, with the Municipal Market building. The one-story, city-owned building hosted a marketplace of 100 individually-owned stalls for vendors. In the 1940s, architects and engineers worked to add four more floors and record the exterior in limestone. From 1946 to 1974, the building was used as the Birmingham office of the U. S. Social Security Administration.
In 1975, the American Red Cross made the building their home. But in 1998, the Red Cross moved—and the building has been vacant since. In 2004, Operation New Birmingham put the building on their 12 Most Wanted list of downtown buildings in need to renovation.
New Hope for the Building
After years of vacancy, the building has a new owner—with big dreams. The team behind the redevelopment of the American Life Building, led by New York developer Ed Ticheli, is gearing up to tackle the American Red Cross building. The group of developers acquired the property on August 12th for $4.25 million. Now, they’re planning to invest $28.8 million into the project.
The project plans to kick off in the second quarter of 2021, with Wyatt Builds serving as the general contractor and Hendon & Huckestein Architects as the designer. David Schneider of Schneider Historic Preservation will serve as the historic consultant.
Since most of the recent apartment developments in Birmingham start at $1,500/month on the low end, the plan is to offer affordable units to fill the gap. The 192 units will range from 302 to 633 square feet and go for about $680 to $1,266 a month.The project, located in Birmingham’s Historic Loft District, is funded in part by Opportunity Zone funding and federal historic tax credits.
Ed Ticheli’s related project at the American Life Building is nearing completion, and plans to be open in October.