Birmingham Public Safety Complex

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The Birmingham Public Safety Complex was a proposed development which would anchor a mixed-use public-private project, "Ensley Junction", covering several blocks of downtown Ensley. The complex would provide new space for the Birmingham Municipal Court, Birmingham Police Headquarters and Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service administrative offices, and would involve renovation of the historic 10-story Ramsay-McCormack Building, which has stood vacant since 1979.

The project was announced on November 30, 2016 by Mayor William Bell. The public safety functions would occupy the southern portion of the overall $40 million Ensley Junction development, which would include a new public park, office and retail spaces, and affordable apartments. Those elements, already part of plans for Downtown Ensley being developed by the non-profit Bethel-Ensley Action Task (BEAT), would be supported with $6.5 million in direct city funding, supplemented by the public safety complex and new parking lots or decks on city-owned parcels nearby.

The timing of Bell's announcement coincided with a ruling in a 2012 lawsuit accusing the city of negligence in allowing the vacant Ramsay-McCormack building to deteriorate. Judge Mike Graffeo ordered the city to demolish the structure, but then revised his order to allow the city to pursue redevelopment, with a deadline of February 10, 2017 to begin work on the site and for the building to be re-opened within two years.

ArchitectureWorks, which had performed feasibility studies for the city in 1998, prepared new preliminary space-planning studies dated February 3, 2017 which were submitted to Judge Graffeo in an attempt to satisfy his order for work to begin.

References

  • Edgemon, Erin (November 30, 2016) "Birmingham mayor proposes $40 million plan to move municipal court, police, and fire headquarters to Ensley." The Birmingham News
  • Owens, Cody (December 2, 2016) "Judge orders Ramsay-McCormack Building to be demolished." Weld for Birmingham
  • Edgemon, Erin (December 6, 2016) "Group asks for judge to reconsider Ramsay McCormack demolition." The Birmingham News
  • Edgemon, Erin (February 9, 2017) "Historic Ramsay McCormack building could bring office space to Ensley." The Birmingham News