Clark Building

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Warren, Knight & Davis rendering of the remodeled Clark Building in 1962

The Clark Building is a 2-story commercial building located on the northwest corner of 20th Street and 4th Avenue North, on Block 60 in downtown Birmingham.

It was designed by Harry Wheelock and constructed in 1908 by T. C. Thompson for General Louis Clark. He expected the building to house Drennen's Department Store, but no agreement was reached and the space was subdivided for smaller shops. The property remained in his family for generations.

The Commercial Realty Company, owners of the building in 1962, commissioned a full remodeling and modernization of the structure from Warren, Knight & Davis and Brice Building Company.

The building housed the Birmingham Press Club, and later a ballet school, on the second floor. The ground floor space housed Smith & Hardwick book store, while the basement was home to Cafe Italiano and its Piccolino Lounge.

In the early 1980s, all of Block 60 was considered for redevelopment under the Downtown Master Plan created for the city by Pedro Costa and Angelos Demetriou. Developer Raymond Gotlieb's Metropolitan Development Inc. entered into an agreement with the city to construct a 28-story Westin Hotel and office complex on the block, but was never able to secure options on enough of the land to proceed. The possibility of condemning property for redevelopment was debated in the Birmingham City Council, but was not pursued. Nevertheless, the threat led owners, the Noland Family Trust, to decline long-term leases and prompted tenants to seek new locations. The building became vacant by 1986 when the high-rise SouthTrust Tower opened across the alley.

The Clark Building was slated for demolition in the mid 1990s, but was saved by the efforts of Richard Arrington Jr, John Lauriello and Bob Moody, along with Operation New Birmingham. They recruited the law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White to purchase the building and renovate it as their headquarters offices. The renovations, aimed at restoring the building's historic appearance, were completed in 1998 by the Charles & Vinzant Construction Company.

Tenants

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External links