Federal Reserve building
The Federal Reserve building at 1801 5th Avenue North in downtown Birmingham was built in 1924 to house a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta which was first opened here in 1918. The building was designed by A. J. Krebs of Warren, Knight & Davis and built of Georgia marble and Indiana limestone for a cost of $290,000.
A major expansion of that facility was completed in 1957, bringing the total area to 104,000 square feet. The construction of this annex was complicated by groundwater, possibly related to an underground stream reported to lie beneath parts of downtown. The foundations were pumped continuously during construction.
The Birmingham Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta moved to a new facility in Liberty Park in 2000. Later that year, Sloss Real Estate and Barry Real Estate announced plans for One Federal Place which included renovation of the Federal Reserve building along with construction of a new 300,000 square foot multi-use structure facing 19th Street North.
In 2002 Newark, New Jersey artist Stephen Hendee was invited to install the first phase of his project in the Birmingham Museum of Art's "Perspectives" series at the Federal Reserve building and the Concord Center. The illuminated geometric sculptures displayed at the Federal Reserve building included "The Vigilant, Thankful Excuses"; "Orange Chimera"; "The Counters, Transfer Ritual", "Date of Design" and "Dead Pool". During this phase the public had only a limited view of the work, through which Hendee was "working with the residual meanings of the building and its interior spaces," because the building was not open. Those elements were then relocated to the Museum and incorporated into the monumental Phase II installation entitled "Ascension".
In 2006 a Georgia developer announced plans to purchase and renovate the Federal Reserve Building and an adjacent building and to develop a new 18-story office/hotel tower on an adjacent surface parking lot. The project, estimated at $70 million, was never realized.
In early 2014 architects Robert and Susan Stewart of the Stewart Studio proposed a $24 million renovation of the property into a 44-suite boutique hotel with a restaurant and event space. They successfully applied for historic tax credits and found an eager hotel operator, but were unable to secure enough capital to proceed.
In late 2014 Harbert Real Estate Services partnered with Capstone Real Estate Investments to purchase the property and embark on a $20 million renovation. Williams Blackstock Architects prepared design drawings and Hoar Construction broke ground in March 2016.
Anchor tenant Hand Arendall leased nearly 23,000 square feet and public relations firm Markstein moved into the full 13,000 square foot second floor. Urban Cookhouse leased 3,600 square feet on the ground floor for its first downtown location. A kinetic sculpture was commissioned from Lin Emery for the entrance to the building.
- Bryant, Walter (November 27, 1975) "Underground river helped shape city". The Birmingham News
- Calvert, Michael (October 20, 2000) "City Center is adding new office space." Birmingham Business Journal
- Birmingham Museum of Art (2002) "Stephen Hendee: Perspectives 7" press release
- Tate, Jean (March 3, 2004) "Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta" New Georgia Encyclopedia
- Tomberlin, Michael (March 27, 2014) "Downtown Birmingham Federal Reserve property facing deadline for hotel, restaurant plans." The Birmingham News
- Azok, Dawn Kent (September 8, 2014) "Harbert Realty Services announces purchase of Federal Reserve property in downtown Birmingham, plans 'vast' redevelopment." The Birmingham News
- Poe, Kelly (August 28, 2015) "Construction on downtown Federal Reserve building to begin by year's end." The Birmingham News
- Grass, Jonathan (March 16, 2016) "Birmingham mayor, construction team break tile on historic Federal Reserve building renovations." The Birmingham News
- Godwin, Brent (Febraury 9, 2017) "One of downtown's major historic renovation projects opens for business." Birmingham Business Journal
- Vacant buildings on the National Register of Historic Places