BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The final stage of demolition of the Ramsay McCormack building took place in Ensley Tuesday. The new five-story structure, that will include materials salvaged from the original building, will reflect the original site’s historic architecture style.
For years, the city-owned building has been the center of a legal battle. In 2020, a Jefferson County Circuit Judge ruled that he would not hold the city of Birmingham in contempt of court in a lawsuit brought nearly 10 years ago by members of the Ensley community to press the city to either demolish or renovate the decaying building.
Ensley District Developers (EDD) partnered with Stewart Perry Construction to perform a detailed site study to determine the best course of action for redeveloping the building which is the centerpiece of Ensley’s Commercial Business District.
A plan was presented to deconstruct rather than renovate the 10-story structure.
The developer determined a complete renovation of the building was not feasible due to several major structural challenges resulting from being vacant for nearly 35 years:
- Mechanical bearing and anchoring systems are failing which could lead to a catastrophic failure of the structure.
- The concrete floor and beam system are experiencing wide scale failure due to long term exposure to water infiltration which has weakened the bearing capacity.
- The metal structural lining (jambs) of the windows which supports masonry above a window has rusted out on all of the windows.
- Size limitations make it impossible to meet current code without completely restructuring elevator shafts and stairs.
Two tenants have already publicly committed to leasing space in the completed project including Innovation Depot and Birmingham Promise, Inc.
Read more about the project and the city’s role in the revitalization of Ensley’s Business District here: https://www.birminghamal.gov/ensleyredevelopment