Lane Parke

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This article is about the proposed development in Mountain Brook. For the Birmingham park, see Lane Park.
Lane Parke logo.PNG
Construction at Lane Parke in December 2021

Lane Parke of Mountain Brook Village is a 14-acre, $130-140 million commercial, office and residential development near Mountain Brook Village. The owners of the property, which included the former Mountain Brook Shopping Center (1955) and Park Lane Apartments (1942), are Rele Evans and his son John, incorporated as "Evson, Inc."

MVE & Partners of California completed master planning for the proposed development, assisted locally by Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood. The first proposal called for phased construction, coordinating with the Watkins Brook Flood Hazard Mitigation Project being done by the City of Mountain Brook to reduce the risk of damage caused by flooding of nearby Watkins Brook. The first phase was to have included space for retail tenants of the shopping center whose businesses would otherwise have been disrupted by the flood mitigation project. Ultimately the center was to have had 206,000 square feet of retail and commercial space accessed from pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and plazas, centering on a new "main street" at the center of the site. Ken Findley and Retail Specialists, Inc were contracted to target local, regional and national retailers to fill the available spaces.

The initial project's 1,200+ parking spaces would have include street-side parking, parking lots and covered parking. Automobile access to the property would have been cut from the previous 12 points to five. The proposal included a 75-room boutique hotel and 45,000 square feet of office space above the shops. The final phase of development was set to include a residential component of condominiums, town houses and/or apartments.

The project plan was subject to approval by the city's planning commission, city council, and architectural review board. The project was opposed by the newly-formed Friends of Mountain Brook Villages. In early 2010 the developer acknowledged that it was looking at making changes to the proposed project to satisfy some of the objections raised by residents.

In May 2010, a redesigned development was announced. It was reduced to 14 acres instead of 27, preserving the majority of the existing apartment complex. The revised Lane Parke design called for 206,000 square feet of retail space, an 85-room hotel, 20 town homes and enclosed parking decks. It also incorporated three park areas and nine access points into the development. The proposal attempted to mimic the existing village more closely, to appear as if it is a natural extension. A buffer block was introduced, with one- and two-story retail shops that would replace the Mountain Brook Shopping Center along Culver Road and a new road to be created between Montevallo Road and Lane Park Road, to be called Jemison Lane. The change to a "planned unit development" zoning district was approved by the Mountain Brook City council on June 28, 2010.

With delays in the Watkins Creek flood mitigation project, the Lane Parke development was put on hold. In August 2011 Evson announced that the Daniel Corporation would be the developer of the project, which would be redesigned at a slightly smaller scale. Mountain Brook's City Council approved rezoning for the revised project on May 21, 2012.

Because the project site included areas of flood plain, the developer was required to raise the base grade of the site by two to three feet, meaning that existing trees were destroyed, including some in the right-of-way facing the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which had to be removed to widen the street.

In October 2012 the developers announced that the Kessler Collection had agreed to operate a 100-room Grand Bohemian Mountain Brook hotel in the development. That project broke ground in January 2014. The first retail tenants were announced in May 2015, and opened on October 1, 2015.

Demolition of the last section of the older retail strip was delayed until July 2018 because of Rite-Aid's lease. Completion of what became phase 2, with 50,000 square feet of leasable space at a cost of $24 million, was further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction continued into fall 2022, with some tenants opening in early 2023. Since it was located between the historical Mountain Brook Village commercial areas and the first part of Lane Parke to open, its opening represented the establishment of long-awaited pedestrian connections across the district.



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