Ensley High School property to be transformed into a 244-home mixed-use development and more (photos)

Ensley
Demolition of Ensley High School begins in late 2021. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Surrounded by multiple generations of Ensley High School alumni, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin announced plans to develop a 244-home mixed-use neighborhood on the grounds of the former Ensley High School property.

Ensley Rebirth

Ensley High School
Mayor Randall Woodfin speaking to the press and Ensley High School alumni on November 12, 2021. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

“Neighborhood revitalization is our top priority,” said Woodfin. “For many years, Ensley High School provided the educational foundation for this community. As the next steps are taken, this site will provide a new foundation for vibrant and livable space for our residents.”

The school building, which closed in 2006, was destroyed by fire in 2018.

Final demolition of the school building and other surrounding structures will take about 4 months., which is overseeing the project, estimates demolition will be complete in less than 4 months. 

Upon completion of the demolition, the Zimmerman Development Team will conduct a 9- month design and community engagement period.

Ensley High School Project
Screenshot of the former Ensley High School redevelopment map provided to City Councilor John Hilliard.

Situated on 4 blocks — more than 10 acres — the developers plan to build multiple kinds of apartments and homes (244 in total), including:

  • Stacked flats
  • carriage houses 
  • 3-story apartment building

More Than Housing

Ensley High School
Yellow Jacket mascot on the Ensley High School gym. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Plans also include converting the Ensley High School gymnasium into commercial space.  The mixed-use development will also include off-street parking, green space and an early childhood learning center.

“They’re not just building buildings, they’re doing a lot of wraparound services,” Birmingham City Councilor Carol Clarke, who represents the residents within former Ensley High School boundaries.

“This (development) is big enough to be a big stabilizer for this area. I just hope it sets up a new trend for this type and quality of infill development. I think vacant schools present a unique opportunity to get enough land to do something catalytic in a built environment. It’s really exciting,” she concluded.

Ensley High School
Mayor Randall Woodfin with Ennsley High School alum State Senator Jabo Wagonner. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

The redevelopment team is made up of Zimmerman Properties, TriStar, Star-C, East Lake Initiative, and David Baker Architects. Construction on the new mixed-use development could start as early as late 2022.

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new development.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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