New hotel would bring life to historic Birmingham Building that has been vacant for years

New hotel would bring life to historic Birmingham Building that has been vacant for years

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Glance through the dusty, streaked windows of 2027 1st Avenue North and you will get a glimpse of the glory of the art deco designs of the past. A gilded gold elevator lobby with ornate carvings, and exquisite light fixtures. You can see their beauty through the dust that has gathered as the building has sat vacant for almost a decade.

Built in 1928, it was once the Protective Life Company building, later home to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, before being sold to an Atlanta developer, who never followed through on plans for apartments. Now it's poised to become the city's latest luxury hotel.

Birmingham Based Rhaglan Hospitality is now seeking funding to transform the historic building into a 96 room hotel. The developer has asked the city’s help in securing a federal loan of up to $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant program. Monday night the budget and finance committee approved the resolution, and it is set to go for a full council vote on Feb. 20th, where it’s expected to pass.

"I think it's very exciting. I think the synergy that's happening in our city, not just downtown, but across the city, and is really felt here at city hall especially. You have the entire city council and mayors' office actually working together to bring new economic development projects to the city this is an example of the continued growth of the city of Birmingham," says city councilor Hunter Williams.

Rhaglan is the same developer who brought the Redmont Hotel back to life and the CEO says the new hotel would have a similar feel. Rhaglan has already secured funding through Iberia bank, and also plans to apply for Federal and state tax credits for developing a historic property. If all goes through,

the project would begin later this year, and would create between 50 to 100 new jobs in the city.

"I think that the city council right now is really looking for ways that we can foster any economic development project. I think that us in line with the mayor's office need to find ways that we can expand our economy and find jobs for our citizens which will in the long run help bring down our crime rate," says Hunter.

Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.