The new building planned for Birmingham's downtown is about to change names and become a little bit bigger.
The development that has been known as the LaSalle Bank building on Woodward Avenue will probably be renamed the Bank of America building now that the sale of LaSalle to Bank of America is a go.
The building's developer is also working with city officials to turn the structure that will be bordered by Woodward, Brown and Peabody streets from three to four stories.
A Bank of America branch is set to occupy the first floor of the 80,000 square-foot building. The second floor will be set aside for a health club while the third and fourth floors will be used for Class A office space.
"Right now I am negotiating with at least two companies for the health club and there has been a lot of interest in the office space," says Harry Blackward, the developer. "The building would not have been built without Bank of America. It was the driving force behind this."
Blackward razed a couple of old structures to make room for the new building, including a 1920's bowling alley that later became a furniture store. A little strip mall was also torn down. Blackward hopes to start construction later this month or in early November and plans to finish in late 2008.
The new structure will feature a drive-through section and some space for a restaurant on the ground floor. Blackward also wants to widen the sidewalk on the Brown Street side so he can plant trees.
The building fits with what city leaders hope to see built in downtown and the Triangle District, an area just east of downtown bordered by Woodward Avenue, Adams Road and Maple Road. The area, which is in the shape of a triangle, has recently experienced development pressure, yet has lacked a clear vision and framework for growth.
Birmingham's new master plan for the Triangle District is expected to spur development on surface parking lots and underutilized properties, which dominate the landscape, to create a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use district similar to downtown. A couple of developers, including Blackward, are working with city officials to make their projects taller, denser and more urban to fit in with the district.
Source: Harry Blackward, developer of the LaSalle/Bank of America building
Writer: Jon Zemke