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Category: Client Spotlight

Louis Nequette on Buying Downtown Birmingham Living

nequette architecture downtown birmingham living

Wondering if downtown Birmingham living is right for you? And if so, which part of the Loft District really has your name on it? Our friends at Nequette Architecture & Design recently made the leap from renting a downtown office to creating their own downtown development on 2nd Avenue North. They loved the neighborhood enough to buy into it, and we think it’s worth sharing why.

Even since we started this blog–two years ago now–the 2nd Avenue corridor has undergone some dramatic changes. Urban Standard, El Barrio, and Charm were all there, but Bamboo’s owners were still running Tavern on the Summit. And Paramount was an empty former yogurt shop. The “walkable energy” of this now very mixed-use area was part of the draw for his firm, Louis Nequette told us.

“We were trying to find a walkable community environment,” he explained. The firm considered our two favorite over-the-mountain spots, Homewood and Mountain Brook, but also set their sights on the downtown market. They quickly honed in on Second Avenue, according to Nequette.

“We said, let’s move down here and do a short-term rent and just see what it feels like. But it didn’t take but a few months to fall in love with the energy down here and the people and the character.”

Sold on the neighborhood, we helped them close on a building within the same block. A combination of street-level retail, upper-floor lofts, and their own penthouse design studio, Nequette said construction on the development should be completed in November 2017.

And their current space won’t have a chance to be empty, Nequette said. Not only is there a tenant lined up to replace his firm, but an art gallery should be moving into the ground floor as soon as April 2017.

For a firm with a big stake in building community, Nequette believes 2nd Avenue is the ultimate design lab for his firm. “It represented everything we wanted to embrace and the type work we do and learn from by participating in.

“We said, why not find a way to be permanently involved.”

Emily and Lee’s Historic Hybrid in Highland Park

highland park clients emily and lee

We love the way our blog space helps us showcase Birmingham’s great and varied neighborhoods. We think it’s an invaluable tool to help our clients settle on the right location. But sometimes it’s helpful to hear about other people’s decisions, too. Our client spotlight series takes you behind the scenes of local real estate searches to help you find your own idea of home.

highland park clients emily and lee

Emily and Lee spend a lot of time in downtown Birmingham. It’s where they work. And with the thriving entertainment scene, it’s also where they like to hang out. They wanted to stay close by with their home purchase but still get some space. Working with friend Betsy Reamer, our very own H2 realtor, they quickly zeroed in on two neighborhoods: Highland Park and Forest Park.

Part of what drew them to those neighborhoods was the idea of a home with character. They wanted the details you only find in older homes, but not the full project load of an emerging neighborhood fixer upper. The parks are historic neighborhoods that started regaining popularity decades ago — check out our post on Forest Park’s history — so they tend to offer the right mix of charming details and modern updates.

After a whirlwind tour of five homes in a single day, Emily and Lee decided that the last one Betsy showed them was the one they truly loved. They closed on their new home in April.

Their home has Highland Park’s signature historic accents plus the modern amenities that feel like home today. It has a deep front porch, tons of natural light, plus a fireplace and window seat in the master bedroom. Thick trim and gorgeous old hardwoods abound, and the entryway opens into the living room through a wide, columned doorway. Slate floors and white kitchen cabinets feel appropriate to both the home’s age and its modern stainless steel appliances.

Now Emily and Lee spend their days alternating between the vibrant energy downtown and the quiet, tree-lined streets of their Highland Park neighborhood. We’d already dubbed this neighborhood “the suburb for people who aren’t suburban,” and these active professionals are the perfect fit.

 

Check out more photos of Emily and Lee’s home on our Facebook page, and check out our first client spotlight post with the Loft District’s Clay Loveless.

Client Spotlight: Woodlawn (the Movie)'s Clay Loveless

The new Woodlawn movie features two of Alabama’s most iconic cultural strands — faith and football — in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Its filmmakers describe it as “the true story of how unity and revival saved a city torn apart by race.” And it’s set here in Birmingham.

As Woodlawn brings the national spotlight to one of Birmingham’s reviving neighborhoods, we caught up with with one of its crew, freelance cameraman and H2 client Clay Loveless. Clay not only shoots in historic Birmingham, he lives here, too, making his home in the Loft District.

 

clayloveless

 

“I travel around shooting sports and doing live remote broadcasts from around the country,” Clay told us. “When I’m not doing television, I work on commercials and movie sets.” He tries to spend his time between gigs with family, and as one of five siblings, there’s always someone to see.

Clay didn’t have a long wishlist for his home base, but it had to be a space that fit his family. “Family is huge for me,” he said, “so I wanted a space that felt homey but also big enough to have family and friends come down and everybody spread out and chill.” He knew a loft would fit those criteria, and he liked the idea of “a place with tall ceilings, exposed duct work, hardwood floors and brick.” The neighborhood feel mattered too, and Clay was drawn to the Loft District’s revitalizing energy. He wanted to be around “people who love Birmingham and want to see the city grow,” he said.

His home in the Liberty House Lofts met all his expectations, and then some. His corner unit boasted extra windows and city views, he said, plus the building offers a rooftop hangout space. He’s also been able to transition to a largely car-free lifestyle thanks to his central location. “There are a ton of restaurants/bars all within half a mile from me,” he said. “The only thing not around is a grocery store, but the Publix is on its way and will be a huge contribution to downtown.”

If you hadn’t guessed, Clay is a vocal Birmingham advocate. We’ll close out with his praise for our city, which we think is pretty emblematic of our passionate clients and the new Birmingham spirit:

I love Birmingham and want to see it grow and become one of the best cities in the South. I get hyped when I tell people about Birmingham and all the new things happening. From crazy bars to delicious food, Birmingham has a little bit of everything and I dig it.