2012 1st Ave N.
Birmingham, Al 35203

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Welcome to the Neighborhood: The Loft District

We’ve always loved driving over the Rainbow Viaduct, crossing the modern moat of railroad tracks around the city and down into an urban center that’s quietly charming. Between the casual foot traffic and the CAPS bike patrol, the loft district maintains a pretty Mayberry persona – if Mayberry had custom cocktails at The Collins Bar and the Trattoria/Paramount/Barrio restaurant trifecta.

We’re just spitballing here, but we’d guess the loft district has a higher number of dogs per capita than any other neighborhood. Though it’s possible they’re just more present here, since loft dwelling dog owners have to walk their dogs on a leash. You see them everywhere, and we think it’s a good reminder of how far this area has come.

There’s a steady rhythm of new shops opening and a heavy focus on restaurant development. We tend to think of the area as a paradise for the modest foodie, one who enjoys solid, affordable food with few frills but plenty of personality.

But of course the biggest accomplishment here is the move toward residential housing options for what we’re certain is the most mixed-use part of the city. Rental and condo styles range from the reclaimed industrial look of factory windows and exposed brick to the polish of smooth drywall and Pella double panes ino a historic facade, which is to say you have a host of housing choices. And many of these buildings are downright neighborly – with plenty of elevator conversation and even a communal Christmas dinner at City Federal.

Some folks have turned small buildings into single-family homes, which makes us wax nearly poetic about the restoration possibilities. There’s also the steady pitter patter of new rooftop decks going up, a feature that’s almost exclusive to the city’s urban core. You may have seen our snaps from atop the Brown Marx Annex, but if not, we can attest that the views are stunning from several stories up.

If you’re into interesting architecture and a walkable style of living, this is your new favorite neighborhood. Welcome.