Former AT&T City Center added to National Register of Historic Places

The AT&T City Center in Downton Birmingham
The former AT&T City Center in downtown has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. P.S. can you spot the plane heading to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport? Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

On December 14th, the Alabama Historical Commission officially announced that four Alabama properties had been added to the National Register of Historic Places—including the nearly 50-year-old AT&T City Center in downtown Birmingham.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places

The AT&T City Center in Downton Birmingham
The former South Central Bell Building among the skyscrapers of downtown Birmingham. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Not familiar with the National Register of Historic Places? It’s the official, nationwide list of properties with cultural significance marked worthy of preservation. Since the list was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, thousands of properties across the country have been identified and added. In fact, according to the Alabama Historical Commission, Alabama has more than 1,250 properties in the National Register.

“Through the advocacy of citizens and the Alabama Historical Commission, we hope these cultural resources and their legacies remain for generations to come. National Register properties in Alabama tell an incredibly rich and diverse story of how our citizens and state have changed the world.”

Lisa D. Jones, State Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director, Alabama Historical Commission

After extensive research, Meri Beth Slaughter of McNair Historic Preservation nominated the former AT&T City Center for recognition by the National Register of Historic Places. According to the Alabama Historical Commission, the AT&T City Center is historically significant, “as a symbol of Birmingham’s rebirth as an urban center in the New South.”

In addition to the AT&T City Center in Birmingham, three other Alabama properties were added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 14th:

  • Macon County High School (Notasulga, AL)
  • Mobile Seamen’s Club Building (Mobile, AL)
  • Ashland Place Fire Station (Mobile, AL)

To learn more about these four additions and their significance to Alabama’s history, click here to view the official statement from the Alabama Historical Commission.

A Birmingham Landmark for Nearly 50 Years

The AT&T City Center in Downton Birmingham
Golden hour makes anything and everything look better. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Originally known as the South Central Bell Building, this downtown skyscraper first served as the corporate headquarters for South Central Bell. Designed by New York firm Kahn and Jacobs, along with associate architect Der Scutt, it is a stunning example of the International Style, an architectural style emphasizing modular forms, flat surfaces and rejection of ornament and color.

From its completion in 1971 until 1986, the 390-foot-tall building was the tallest skyscraper in The Magic City. In 1988, Brasfield & Gorrie completed an $80M renovation for the new owners, Bell South. Along with the renovation came a new name: the BellSouth City Center. After AT&T purchased BellSouth in 2006, the building was renamed the AT&T City Center. However, AT&T eventually moved most employees to other locations and, in 2018, decided not to renew their lease.

A New Lease on Life: The 600

The AT&T City Center in Downton Birmingham
The upcoming rooftop patio of The 600. Rendering via TSW Planners, Architects, Landscape Architects, first published in the Birmingham Business Journal

In 2018, Atlanta developer Tellus Partners, alongside Varden Capital Properties and Buckhaven Construction, acquired the former AT&T City Center. Their plan? To renovate the tower as a new luxury apartment and condominium complex, dubbed “The 600”.

In addition to 435 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, the project includes a ton of amenities:

  • An outdoor plaza on the ground floor, with room for retail space.
  • An all-inclusive fitness center with free weights, treadmills, rock-climbing walls and yoga space. 
  • A rooftop space with outdoor + indoor dining, with a wet bar and kitchen.

Want to learn more about The 600? Check out our previous article!

Several Birmingham properties are on the National Register of Historic places, including the Alabama Theatre, the Empire Building and the Woodward Building! Click here to learn more.

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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