Exclusive interview with Robert Simon about The Star + Southtown Court in Birmingham

Robert Simon, Corporate Realty
Robert Simon at Railroad Park. (Corporate Realty)

When you start digging into some of the big changes happening in Birmingham, you realize Robert Simon of Corporate Realty has his hand in a few major projects. We reached out for an exclusive interview with the man behind the redevelopment of the old Carraway site, Southtown Court and more. Keep reading to find out what we learned, including why he’s very optimistic about Birmingham and Jefferson County.

Meet Robert Simon, President & CEO, Corporate Realty

Robert Simon
Robert Simon of Corporate Realty in downtown Birmingham. (Corporate Realty)

Robert Simon and I first met back when we were both working on what was to become Railroad Park. Back then he was doing what he and his company do now: taking overlooked and underused parts of town, coming up with a vision and then creating something new and awesome for the area.

Some of Corporate Realty’s completed projects include:

Here’s what Simon had to say about himself:

“Raised in Birmingham, I was destined to be in the family business—selling meat to institutions and restaurants. I wanted to break from that and got interested in real estate, which eventually led to the formation of Corporate Realty.

I had great partners, and we worked on a vision, and things worked out for us. It is a risky business, but we had lots of confidence and made our opportunities work. I love it.

I am blessed with two children and a wonderful wife. We are very fortunate in so many ways.”

When I asked him which project he was most proud of, he named Regions Field and Railroad Park. He’s been in development for almost 20 years, and he loves working on projects that have an impact on entire communities.

“I’m proud that our involvement with Regions Park coupled with Railroad Park transformed an underused and even avoided area of Southside to a place where people live, work, play and enjoy our city.”

Robert Simon, Corporate Realty

Bham Now: Which projects are you most excited about right now?  

Carraway Star
Carraway Hospital has been abandoned since 2008. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Simon: Carraway and Southtown Court. Both developments will have a big impact on their respective neighborhoods and on our city.

I’m especially excited because the vision for these developments has been the result of great collaboration and partnership with local residents and leaders.” 

Bham Now: What is the impact you think they’ll have on the city?   

Southtown Court Demo
Demolition begins on the historic Southtown Court in Birmingham. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Simon: “When we have large pieces of property, we have an opportunity to take something that is underutilized, remove any blight, and create something that will immediately mean jobs, services, and/or housing for our residents.

But you also launch a wave of new investments that will compound these benefits many times over. This is how we can truly revitalize neighborhoods and expand opportunities for our local residents and businesses.” 

Bham Now: Can you share any specifics about the Carraway project?

The Star
A vision for The Star at Uptown. (Corporate Realty)

Simon: “The Carraway site will become a mixed-use development known as The Star at Uptown. We’re already at work now to clean up the site, and we are finalizing plans for what will remain in place and what will be torn down. You should begin seeing demolition later this year.

In addition to new multi-family units and single-family cottages, you’ll ultimately see new retail, office and entertainment options.

We’ve worked closely with the Druid Hills neighborhood, and we know how important it is for them to create something that serves their needs and complements the entertainment district nearby.”

Bham Now: We’re also curious about Southtown Court… 

Southtown Court
A conceptual rendering of the Southtown redevelopment. (Gensler)

Simon: “Southtown Court will be transformed into a mixed-use development called EdgeHill at Southtown. Demolition work has already begun on the site, and Corporate Realty is proud to be one of the partners that will help bring new housing, retailers, restaurants and offices to this property.

Because of its proximity to UAB, Southern Research and St. Vincent’s, we see unique opportunities here in the research/development and bio-manufacturing space that will have huge impacts on our city’s economic growth moving forward.”

Bham Now: What else should we be asking you?

view of Birmingham
Birmingham. (Bham Now)

Simon: “One thing I get asked a lot is how I feel about the future of Birmingham and Jefferson County, and the answer is I’m incredibly optimistic.

Putting aside what I’m working on, I see real momentum with the construction of Protective Stadium and redevelopment of large sites like Century Plaza, Trinity Hospital and Ramsay-McCormack.

Big projects like this are complicated and hard, and they are happening because of the leadership, collaboration and determination we’re seeing from our city and county leaders as well as our business community. Projects like this demonstrate what can happen when a lot of people work together to make big things happen, and how all of our communities can benefit as a result.”

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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