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Birmingham, Al 35203
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Tag: birmingham real estate

The Story Behind 2112 Morris Avenue – Now Listed for $389,900

It’s 1998 and the scene in downtown Birmingham is 180 degrees different than the scene we know today. The “Loft District” was not yet a sought after downtown community but Elisa Crowder was ahead of the curve. Already occupying space downtown at the Wheelock Building for her business, Elisa was in search of a live-work space that she could customize to suit her needs and aesthetic preferences.

When she initially viewed the space she now calls home, it was the open floor plan, high ceilings and storefront windows that drew her in. Formerly an art gallery, Elisa saw it as blank canvas to design the live/work space she was imagining.

Overall Elisa wanted the condo’s aesthetic to feel industrial and contemporary with a soothing color palette and almost everything in the space is custom. She added curved walls to create visual interest, aluminum baseboards to tie in the exposed ductwork, solid birch doors and earth-toned marble flooring can be found throughout. 3-Form translucent and polyresin architectural panels were incorporated in several areas and feature a design of grass, leaves, and water to bring earthy elements into the mix.

It’s fair to say that beyond the architectural details, this condo offers amenities that aren’t often found downtown. The master bathroom features a Jacuzzi tub, walk-in shower, dual sinks and heated towel racks. A sound system was also installed throughout the home so Elisa could enjoy music in every room.

“Downtown Birmingham is developing so quickly and this property is in the center of it all, “ said Elisa when describing her favorite aspects of the home. She has loved being walking distance to numerous restaurants and bars (The Atomic is right next door), taking exercise classes at Railroad Park, popping into of art galleries and going to shows in the Theatre district. “It’s nice to have everything so close.” From new restaurants like The Essential to The Famous Peanut Depot, Barons games, breweries and clothing boutiques, everything is at right your fingertips.

“Having a work-live space right in the center of and in walking distance to all of this activity has been wonderful and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in Birmingham.”

Now this fabulous 2,0000 square foot condo could be yours and features a new price! Contact us today to view this unique 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom loft-style condo in the heart of downtown. View the listing here.

 

Loft District Spotlight: Lewis Communications Makes Mid-Century Home

lewis communications building downtown/loft district

 

Our neighbors at Lewis Communications are another high-profile example of our favorite Birmingham real estate trend: sprawl reversal. Or, put more simply, moving back downtown, where there are a host of popular draws within sitelines, let alone walking distance. “A lot of the creative community has moved downtown in the last several years, and we really wanted to be a part of that,” Lewis Communications President and CEO Larry Norris told AL.com. “We really wanted a place that was very walkable. Out in the ‘burbs, you have to get in your car to go anywhere.”

There’s the convenience of downtown — which we’ve clearly also embraced — and then there’s the economics of revitalization. According to an earlier AL.com story, Lewis Communications faces a yearly $75,000 tax break for its first five years downtown to help offset the estimated $2.5 million needed to redevelop the building. Norris told the Birmingham Business Journal that new construction would certainly have been better for the company’s bottom line, but incentive programs on the city, state, and federal levels helped make the downtown project possible.

But it’s hardly a case of charity on the part of Birmingham’s city government. An official in the mayor’s office told AL.com the city expected to reap some financial rewards even during the tax break years, and more in the additional 5 years Lewis Communications is set to occupy the building. (In exchange for a total of $375,000 in tax breaks from the city, Lewis Communications has agreed to spend 10 years in the downtown space or face repayment obligations, AL.com reported.)

And for that, the city gets a restoration partner on a mid-century gem designed by a noted firm that helped shape Birmingham’s buildings through much of the twentieth century. A Chicago native, architect Charles H. McCauley began practicing in Birmingham in 1919, opening Charles H. McCauley Associates in 1925, according to the Birmingham Public Library Archives. Their list of the McCauley firm’s Birmingham projects includes our Gotham-worthy city hall and the main post office branch at 3rd Avenue North and 24th Street, perhaps the clearest kin for the Lewis Communications building.

Lewis Communications opted to embrace original building elements, according to AL.com, preserving the paneled design on the building’s facade (albeit with updated glass) and the floating staircase that links the grand lobby with upper floors. But that’s not to say they haven’t made their own mark. The BBJ reports modern cool additions like a rooftop entertainment space (complete with fire pit) and a company workout facility.

And the new features aren’t limited to employee perks. The BBJ also reported that Lewis Communications will be housing an art gallery open to the community. “Our designers have played a part in bringing together the local creative community through Design Week, and now the Lewis gallery will allow us to highlight regional and local artists on a more regular basis and support the next generation of creatives,” Norris told the BBJ.

We often think of “historic” properties as things like the Lyric Theatre or the John Hand building, but Birmingham’s renaissance is growing much more broadly than that. Important buildings aren’t limited to 20s and 30s glamour; Birmingham’s mid-century energy has a message, too. And part of what Birmingham’s downtown/loft district interesting is the close proximity of wildly different architectural influences.  So welcome, Lewis Communications, and thank you for giving new life to another Birmingham building!