In late 2020, an exciting announcement took the city by storm—a massive new skyscraper could be coming to the Birmingham skyline. Proposed by The Ultimate Fan (TUF Inc.)—a company founded by Theodore Holloway and NFL star/Birmingham native Karlos Dansby—the $250M skyscraper would have been the tallest building in Alabama and was to bring 2,000+ new jobs to the area.
However, it’s been three years since that announcement and no skyscraper has been built. What happened to The Block?
What was The Block?
Announced in mid-2020, The Block was a proposed mixed-use development located in the 1900 Block of 2nd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham. The project was to be developed, managed, owned and operated by The Ultimate Fan, (TUF), a business, land, sports and entertainment development company founded by Theodore Holloway and Karlos Dansby.
The proposal for The Block boasted huge additions to Birmingham, including:
- A $250 million price tag for the development
- 2,000 full- and part-time jobs
- 2.5 million annual visitors
- 1.25 million square-feet of mixed-use space
- Unique restaurants, bars, hotels, office space and more
According to the website, The Block would be developed in three phases:
- Phase I — A $33 million, 180 thousand square feet building upgrade and renovation development. To be partially completed before The World Games 2022.
- Phase II — A $35 million, 250 thousand square feet building upgrade and renovation development. Also to be partially complete before The World Games 2022.
- Phase III — A $150 million, 750,000 square foot, 48 story high-rise development named The Dansby Tower.
Obviously, none of the three phases has even begun—much less been partially completed before The World Games 2022.
What happened to The Block? A listing about the project on Construction Journal states that the project has been canceled. Higher construction costs and interest rates in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic may have had an impact on the project. According to City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, the City of Birmingham’s Head of Planning has not received any communication about The Block, which may indicate that the project was just a marketing ploy.
Does Birmingham need a new skyscraper, anyway?
The Dansby Tower was not the first proposed skyscraper in Birmingham that never came to be. In 1987, real estate agent Everett Shepherd Jr. proposed a $200 million, 2.5 million square foot twin-tower office development dubbed the Shepherd Centre. The plan called for two massive towers—one 72 stories tall and one 44 stories tall—that would have dwarfed pre-existing towers in Birmingham. However, Shepherd failed to secure anchor tenants for the project, and the Shepherd Centre did not move forward.
Although the addition of a new skyscraper to the Birmingham skyline sounds visually appealing, there is no need for an additional tower—at least for now. Remote working has picked up steam, making it harder for companies to justify large office spaces.
Did you want The Block to happen in Birmingham? Why or why not? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!