BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Look up at the Pizitz building and you will see intricate details in terra cotta outlining the roof and windows. Buildings just aren't made like this anymore.
That's why when Bayer Properties decided to renovate the then vacant building, they earned historic tax grants to preserve it, and worked with New Orleans-based Wisznia Architecture and Development, to make sure the façade and other details stayed intact.
That innovation has earned them the 2018 Marvin Architects Challenge award for Best Historic Project. The award honors a project that alters a historic building to accommodate new uses, while
retaining the building's historic character. The Marvin challenge is a decade-old juried competition awards innovative real estate projects in six different categories.
The Pizitz was constructed in two phases from 1923-1925. The original building is a poured in place concrete structure, with a terra cotta exterior surface on two sides.
There are 252 double hung wood windows, some as large as four feet by eight feet, and 52 pairs of casement windows. The windows are such a big deal because the federal and state historic tax credits used to fund the project required windows that would match the originals, and they had to be approved by the National Park Service. Marvin Windows and Doors worked with the Bayer team to restore the windows.
The building was a department store until 1988, and sat vacant for years. It officially re-opened as apartments and retail space, including the Pizitz Food Hall on the ground floor, in December of 2016.