Ensley Business Alliance preps community for growth

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 11:01 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Don’t be surprised if 2022 serves to be a very active property development period in Birmingham’s Ensley community.

The Ensley Business Alliance held its fall luncheon in the Tuxedo Ballroom Thursday, where business owners and city officials talked about the history and the future of the community that was once an industrial hub of Birmingham.

The Alliance’s Brandon Cleveland says there is plenty of opportunity to invest in the community now.

“We have several business owners who are prepared to allow investors to come in, to invest in those buildings, to restore those buildings,” said Cleveland. “We also have several other buildings that are currently being restored as we speak. And so, when those buildings are finishing their restoration process, we expect people to come down and engage with us, see those businesses and see how they can plug in to compound the results that we’re hopeful for.”

In addition to property owners like Antonio Spurling and Brian Rice, representatives of the City of Birmingham and Urban Impact were also present as were two newly elected city councilmembers, Carol Clarke and Latonya Tate.

One major piece of the change taking place in Ensley is the redevelopment of the long-vacant Ramsay-McCormack building which the city had demolished in April.

Project manager Llewelyn Rhone of Ensley District Developers said expect to see construction coming out of the ground next month.

A 5-story project will replace the 10-story shell that stood vacant since the 1980′s when U.S. Steel sold the building to the City of Birmingham.

Rhone said the building’s anchor tenants will include Regions Bank and Innovation Depot and will also serve as a logistics hub.

“Once it’s finished, we’re hopeful that it will serve as kind of a catalyst to other businesses, particularly in the downtown of Ensley to actually come into this area,” said Rhone.  “Because we’re going to be generating traffic, existing traffic, but hopefully bring new traffic to the area that could and would support other businesses that are there.”

Rhone says the Ramsay McCormack redevelopment is expected to be completed by Christmas of next year.      Earlier this year Parker and Associates investment company led by president Andrea Parker closed on several properties just south of Ramsay McCormack with redevelopment plans that include bringing a high-end restaurant to the community.

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