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Birmingham’s Renaissance: The Pizitz Building

img_3833Downtown Birmingham, Alabama, is currently undergoing a transformation, and Building & Earth aims to play a significant role in its success. With our headquarters located in the greater Birmingham area and a long history of successful work in the city center, we have a firsthand vantage point to the revitalization of an area of the city that has needed it for some time.

A star in this transformation is the historic Pizitz Building on 2nd Avenue North, a former flagship department store for the iconic Birmingham retailer Louis Pizitz, which was built in 1923 but sat dormant since 1988.

According to developer Bayer Properties’ website, the 250,000-square-foot building will feature six floors of multifamily residential space, a mezzanine with office space, a ground-level food hall (the first of its kind in Birmingham) and an attached parking deck. Birmingham-based Brasfield & Gorrie is the general contractor on the project and KPS is the architect.

The food hall will feature 13 food stalls, 2 restaurants and a bar, including a restaurant incubator that will rotate every 4 to 6 months. Some of these vendors will include Birmingham staples like Alabama Biscuit Co., Eli’s Jerusalem Grill and Revelator Coffee.



img_3837“The renaissance going on in downtown Birmingham serves to strengthen a critical area of the overall metro region. Many people who live in surrounding cities and suburbs are coming around to the idea that a strong, vibrant Birmingham city center is a key element to improving the perception of the region as a whole, which in turn increases the potential to attract new businesses and industries to our area,” said Matt Adams, a principal with Building & Earth. “Such growth benefits everyone, regardless of where you live in the Birmingham metro area.”

Adams said the historic property fosters nostalgia for many who grew up in the Birmingham area, too.

“To see it brought back to life and take its place in the revitalization of that part of the city center, rather than being completely demolished to make way for something with no historical context, is a testament to the development team,” Adams said. “Several elements, such as the food hall, will be unique ‘firsts’ in the Birmingham area.”

Building & Earth’s role in the project was to provide geotechnical engineering consultation, construction materials testing and Special Inspections on behalf of Bayer Properties.

“We have evaluated bearing capacity for new foundations; testing soil backfill; utilized ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to scan existing beams, columns and walls to locate and identify steel reinforcing; performed a geotechnical exploration for a planned new bridge between the building and its parking deck; and conducted positive material identification (PMI), a type of metallurgical analysis of the existing steel beams to help determine proper welding methods,” said Richard D. Brown, P.E., assistant branch manager for the Birmingham branch.

Over the course of the project, Building & Earth engineers, technicians, special inspectors and certified welding inspectors have all worked on the building on an on-call, as needed basis, according to Brown.

The newly revitalized Pizitz Building will open its doors this fall and, after a 28-year absence, once again take its place as a vibrant part of the city center.

For more information, visit Bayer Properties. For related articles, see below.

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