Social Security Building (1974)
- This article is about the 1974 building. For the 2008 building, see Birmingham Social Security Administration Center.
The 1974 Social Security building (officially the Southeast Program Service Center) is an 11-story payment center that was constructed for the federal Social Security Administration on the north side of 11th Avenue North between 19th Street North and 21st Street North. Owned by Chattanooga, Tennessee developer Frank Haney, it was designed by John H. Summer and Associates of Atlanta and built by Martin and Nettrour of Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
The site was cleared as part of a nationwide program of "urban renewal". The 600,000 square-foot building is surrounded by a 2000-car covered parking garage at ground level. When the Civic Center was opened on the adjacent site to the south, the garage was made available for public parking during night-time and weekend events.
In reviewing the architectural design of the structure, critic Philip Morris complained that it showed no regard for the potential for establishing a connection to the BJCC and downtown Birmingham, instead making the south facade the "back" of the office tower with service areas and a fluorescent-lit parking garage stretching across the north edge of the civic center.
In 2008, the Social Security Administration moved to a new 587,000 square-foot Birmingham Social Security Administration Center between 8th and 9th Avenue North and 12th and 14th Street North in Fountain Heights.
Haney has secured a 40-year agreement for about half of the building to be leased by offices of the State of Alabama. He has proposed that the City of Birmingham and the Birmingham Board of Education lease the remainder of the building for about $5 million a year. In exchange, he would renovate the building to add a 1,000-seat conference center and new entrance lobbies. He also proposed building a luxury hotel either at the site of the current Birmingham Board of Education building on Linn Park or near the BJCC. Former Mayor Richard Arrington lobbied the city on behalf of the proposal, which also had the support of then-Mayor Larry Langford, but no progress was made. In 2010 the possibility of a state agency using part of the building resurfaced.
- Morris, Philip (October 1975) "Here's Looking at YOU, Birmingham: Commentaries on Design and Land Use." Birmingham magazine. Vol. 15, No. 10, pp. 17-22
- White, Marjorie Longenecker, ed. (1977) Downtown Birmingham: Architectural and Historical Walking Tour Guide. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society. p. 132
- Bryant, Joseph D. (January 18, 2008) "Arrington pushes for renewal of current Social Security building to house city, school offices." Birmingham News
- Diel, Stan (October 28, 2010) "Alabama government agency eyes old Social Security site in Birmingham." Birmingham News