Avondale resurgence: Office condos planned
Birmingham Business Journal - April 20, 2007
Lauren B. CooperStaff
Developers Clint Choate of Birmingham and David Kessler and Laura Kessler of Gadsden will leave the historic facade of the building and restore its storefront into seven office condo units.
The $1.2 million project, Avondale Bricks, will join an already vibrant business community, which recently has become known as an art and design district.
Each 1,600-square-foot office will start in the low $200,000s, enabling buyers to purchase and finance for the same price as rent, Choate said.
Red Mountain Bank will finance the project and Richard A. Campbell III of Corporate Realty Associates will provide broker services. Jeremy Erdreich of Erdreich Architecture will design the project.
Main Street Birmingham Inc. has targeted Avondale for its BEACON project, which helps to strengthen economic development in nine urban commercial districts in Birmingham.
David Fleming, Main Street's executive director, said the area is a good alternative to the downtown and Lakeview areas.
"There is a lot of strength that is beginning to be apparent, not only in residential, but also in the commercial district," he said. "A number of the older buildings there have seen a lot of attention lately."
Fleming said a lot of the loft conversions downtown have left many artists without workspace and many are seeking space in Avondale and nearby Woodlawn.
"The beauty of (Choate's) project is he understands a lot of small-business people need an opportunity to buy a place for themselves," he said. "There is a gap in the market for that project and he will address that need. I think it will be attractive to a lot of creative professionals."
Fleming said there is $3.1 million in recent and current development projects and transactions in Avondale, which encompasses 17 blocks from Fifth Avenue South at Avondale Park to Messer Airport Highway.
Some other projects in Avondale include:
*The Agency, which was an old gas station on 41st Street South renovated by Avondale businessman Tim Burt, owner of Parkside Home & Garden. The space sold to a home inspection and architectural design firm. Additional space is available.
*Gary Hyche and Lisa Lovett plan to renovate a building on 41st into a residence and office space for Hyche's construction and renovation business.
Ram Tool & Supply Co. Inc. purchased adjacent properties to be used for expansion.
*Toro-Cordes Iron Arts Inc. will relocate to the 3800 block of Second Avenue South from First Avenue South.
*Beloved Community Church renovated a building on 41st, which is leased to Customwood, a woodwork and architectural furnishings company.
*Bottletree, a cafe and lounge, is a new venue for national and international music acts and will soon open a cafe.
*The Oddfellows Lodge building was purchased by Marc Bondarenko and will lease space to artist Fran Nagy for a gallery and studio.
*A building on the 100 block of 41st was renovated by Corey Kearse, who will offer the space for offices and lofts.
*The Avondale Library has reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation.
*The Avondale Business Association also has been restored after being dormant for close to 12 years. Michael Mazer, president of Mazer Discount Home Centers on 41st, serves as the new president.
Mazer said the association's goals are to increase redevelopment in the area by attracting new business and investors and to attract visitors to the area with events in Avondale Park.
"Our logo emphasizes that Avondale is a place to live, work, play and shop and our goals are in-keeping with those four watch words," he said.
Avondale was initially founded as a mill town to serve the families and workers of Avondale Mills, a textile manufacturing company.