$33 million affordable housing renovation on Red Cross Building begins

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The Red Cross Building will be transformed into affordable housing soon. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now
The Red Cross Building will be transformed into affordable housing soon. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

A building that’s been vacant since 1999 is being transformed into affordable housing. The Red Cross building on Third Avenue N will be transformed into 180 apartments. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting project.

Transforming the Red Cross Building

Red Cross Building
The Red Cross Building has been vacant since 1999. Photo by Libby Foster

The new Market Lofts on Third, formerly the Red Cross Building, is the latest step in the city of Birmingham’s plan to create naturally occurring affordable housing. “Naturally occurring” refers to housing that blends into the city’s existing infrastructure.

The five-story, 120,000 square foot Red Cross Building will be transformed into 180 apartments known as the Market Lofts on Third. The exterior of the building will look similar, but the interior will be totally transformed. Hendon & Huckestein Architects, Wyatt Builds and LMS Real Estate Investment Management are working together on the project.

Floor plans for the new Red Cross Building. Photo courtesy of City of Birmingham
Floor plans for the new Red Cross Building. Photo courtesy of City of Birmingham

What is affordable housing?

Affordable housing is financially accessible to citizens that make 60 to 120% of the city’s median yearly income. The new building will provide equitable housing and revitalize downtown.

“The real essence of revitalization is vitality in all 99 neighborhoods. A lot of people wouldn’t believe it, but that does include central city as well.”

Mayor Woodfin
Mayor Woodfin speaking
Mayor Woodfin is a huge advocate for affordable housing. Photo by Libby Foster for Bham Now

150 laborers and tradesmen will be employed in the $33M project. The revitalization effort qualifies for $3.9M in federal historic tax credits and $5M in state historic tax credits.

A project similar to this revitalization was recently finished a street over. Revitalization efforts for the American Life Building were completed in 2019. Today, almost 95% of the building’s 140 units are leased.

Tuskegee students get hands-on experience

A Tuskegee University architecture student talks about his experience as an intern on the site. Photo by Libby Foster for Bham Now
A Tuskegee University architecture student talks about his experience as an intern on the site. Photo by Libby Foster for Bham Now

Tuskegee University architecture students have been involved in the Red Cross Building project throughout the summer. One representative of the group and their mentor spoke at a press conference today.

“This is my first time being on an actual site project. It’s a lot more than I’ve experienced before, and it’s a lot more than I expected to experience.”

Lawrence Thompson, Tuskegee Univerity architecture student and contruction intern

Construction on the Red Cross Building is scheduled to take 16 months. It will open as the Market Lofts on Third and be open for leasing afterwards. The new housing complex will include Birmingham Public Library and veterans’ outreach initiatives. Furthermore, affordable and livable housing continues to grow in Birmingham.

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Libby Foster
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