1979 Downtown Master Plan
The Downtown Master Plan was a master plan for the Birmingham City Center which was commissioned in the Spring of 1979 by the City of Birmingham. Architect Pedro Costa and Washington D.C.-based urban planner Angelos Demetriou were awarded a $487,000 contract to create a plan which could be used to guide large-scale redevelopment projects in a rapidly-dwindling downtown area.
Their initial proposal, presented at a public hearing in February 1980, included extending the Birmingham Green concept to 19th Street North, creating five new small parks, instituting two Historic Districts, reducing curb parking, and developing a new multi-story hotel in the city center.
Costa and his development partner Nelson Head worked on several projects related to those plans. The City entered into a development agreement with Raymond Gotlieb's Metropolitan Development Inc. for a 28-story Westin hotel and office complex on Block 60. Gotlieb was unable to secure options on enough property to attract investor and the city declined to use its condemnation powers to secure the development.
The Clark Building, which became vacant during the controversy, was rehabilitated in 1998 for Lightfoot, Franklin & White attorney's, helping further a late 20th century trend for historic preservation as a redevelopment tool.
- Frieden, Kitty (February 6, 1980) "Short-range proposal would give facelift to heart of downtown" The Birmingham News - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections