Blach's building

From Bhamwiki
Jump to: navigation, search
The Hood Building in an 1888 engraving

The Blach's building (originally the Hood Building, now known as Blach's Lofts) is a four-story commercial building on the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue North and 20th Street. It was built in 1888 by merchant William Hood and featured a deeply-profiled cornice and window trim, fancy brickwork and arched windows.

The building originally housed Hood's Hood-Yeilding General Merchandise Store and the W.K.T.B. grocery store.

In 1908 it was reported that Hood had sold the building to a newly-formed Saks Investment Company, led by Louis and Herman Saks for $260,000. In 1910 the building was converted into the 100-room Bencor Hotel. Hardin's Coneys operated a crowded, sawdust-strewn hot dog stand on the corner. Ben Fell operated a newsstand on ground level and resided upstairs.

In 1935 the building was completely remodeled in a modernist style by Warren Knight and Davis for Blach's department store. The arched windows were squared off, the cornice and window trim were stripped away and the brickwork was stuccoed over and painted off-white. The store moved into its new location in 1936 and remained until the mid-1980s.

In 2004 Operation New Birmingham put the then-vacant building on their 12 Most Wanted list of downtown properties in need of renovation.

Blach's building, July 2010

In 2007 a $5 million renovation of the Blach's building was completed by the Carroll & Green Group on behalf of architects and owners Kenneth Owens and Franklin Woods of the Owens and Woods Partnership. 5,000 square feet of ground floor office space was leased by MBA Structural Engineers. 18 one- and two-bedroom residential lofts on the upper floors were also included in the renovation. That number was increased to 24 units by 2013.

In July 2007 Birmingham mayoral candidate Larry Langford signed a month-to-month lease for an apartment at the Blach's lofts in order to establish residency in the city. After the election, opponent Patrick Cooper filed a lawsuit claiming that Langford did not meet the requirement and his claimed use of the apartment was "a sham."

In February 2009 Regions Bank foreclosed on the building and sold it for $2 million. They have sued the Owens and Woods Partnership for non-payment on a $700,000 loan. In September 2013 the LIV Development group sold the building to an undisclosed buyer for $3.2 million.