Demolition on the Roebuck Castle renovation has begun [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Roebuck Castle
(l-r) Melody Brae, Listing Agent, Jesse Spear, Project Manager, Shelby Saxon, Head Administrator. Missing: Joseph Holt, Contractor. (Allen Lee Oakman)

In early July, we told you renovations on the long-neglected Roebuck Castle would be starting mid-July. Well, demolition has begun and we’ve got pictures and some awesome drone footage to prove it, thanks to Paul Mielke of A&E’s Flipping Down South. You have to see this house to believe it.

Who’s behind the renovation?

If Paul Mielke looks familiar, you may have seen him on A&E’s Flipping Down South, where he and two other young entrepreneurs flipped a bunch of houses in East Lake.

Now he’s bought a long-abandoned castle in Roebuck, and he and his team at Monroe Park Homes are hard at work on transforming it into something spectacular.

Fun facts about the Roebuck Castle

Screenshot 2022 08 04 at 3.10.20 PM Demolition on the Roebuck Castle renovation has begun [PHOTOS + VIDEO]
Mid-demolition, getting ready for the big transformation. (Dearborn Drone Co.)

Here are some fun facts about the Roebuck Castle, which, by the way, for people who grew up in Roebuck, is not Gabrella Manor:

  • Location: 416 Lance Way, Birmingham, AL 35206
  • Built in: the 1970s by the Khalaf Family, who owned Salem’s Pharmacy near East End Memorial Hospital (now St. Vincent’s East)
  • Size: 5000 square feet
  • Abandoned for: 12-15 years, judging by mail that was left in the house
  • Bought from: a wholesaler who had bought it from someone else

“My parents built the house in 1970s and we moved in around 1975. My mother sold the house in the 1990s. The house was full of life as they had many parties and events for the community and family.”

Nancy Bird Khalaf, one of the original residents of the home

What’s happening now with the Roebuck Castle

Front view of the Roebuck Castle. (Dearborn Drone Co.)

Mielke said he’s had to take out a lot more of the house than he originally thought he would. Not only was there rain damage, but there was also termite damage.

Instead of removing and reframing 70% of the home, it’s more like 90%. This is giving him the chance to open up the floor plan and start over almost from the ground up.

He’s particularly excited about the plan to convert an entire bedroom into an “insane bathroom,” complete with a soaking tub.

The budget + the timeline

Bird’s Eye View (Dearborn Drone Co.)

Even though they’ve had to remove most of the original home except the bricks on the outside, Mielke said they’re still aiming to have the whole thing ready by Thanksgiving this year.

“The contractors are about to start throwing the roof up—then it will stop raining in the house.”

Paul Mielke, Monroe Park Homes

The $250K budget, acquired through a rehab loan, needs to cover everything, including:

  • Reframing most of the 5000 foot house
  • Windows
  • Appliances
  • Roof
  • Wood

“I’m pretty thrilled about it. It’s the biggest remodel I’ve ever done. Affordable family housing is a big passion of mine, and we make sacrifices from every angle to keep it affordable. On this, we don’t have to compromise because we have a large rehab budget.”

Paul Mielke, Monroe Park Homes

Planning to stay in the neighborhood

One big change in plans is that Mielke is now planning for this to be his personal residence. Given that, he’s now planning to keep the pool and give the whole place “a bohemian kind of vibe.” He’s really looking forward to calling it home and being part of the community.

Once it’s ready, he’s planning a neighborhood viewing party at the house when it’s done.

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Sharron Swain

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

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