New Ramsay-McCormack building

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Rendering of the proposed New Ramsay-McCormack building

New Ramsay-McCormack building is a proposed 5-story, 30,000 square-foot office building on the site of the former 10-story Ramsay-McCormack building, at the corner of Avenue E and 19th Street in Downtown Ensley.

The design of the new building by Charles Williams & Associates and Williams Blackstock Architects reflects the massing and style of the former landmark tower, and incorporates many similar architectural details.


The 1929 office tower was largely vacated after the closure of U.S. Steel's Ensley Works in the early 1970s. The building closed in 1979 and was sold to the City of Birmingham for $1 in 1983.

Various efforts over the ensuing decades to rehabilitate and reopen the building bore little fruit, and its condition deteriorated. Attorney and neighboring property owner Antonio Spurling filed a lawsuit in 2009 seeking to require the city to either stabilize or demolish the vacant structure. Judge Mike Graffeo ruled for the plaintiffs, but the city continued to apply for extensions in order to try to preserve the building, which had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984. Then Mayor William Bell proposed including the building in a larger Birmingham Public Safety Complex, combining the Birmingham Municipal Court, Birmingham Police Headquarters and Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service administrative offices along with green space and new retail and residential projects to be developed by the Bethel-Ensley Action Task non-profit.

Incoming Mayor Randall Woodfin cancelled plans for the public safety complex around the building. Under his administration, the city solicited proposals from private developers for renovation plans beginning in August 2018. In November of that year the city rejected all the proposals it had received and prepared to revise its request.

Development agreement

A second RFP was initiated in February 2019. From that process, Ensley District Developers (EDD), headed by Irvin Henderson, a former chair of the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, was selected to proceed with preliminary plans that would qualify for additional city funding to carry out.

In April 2020 it was announced that structural inspections had shown that deterioration of masonry anchors was so extensive, that renovation was not feasible. The developers proposed demolishing the tower and building a new Ramsay-McCormack building, a 4-story, pedestrian-friendly mixed use building on the same site, with a planned opening in 2022. Charles Williams & Associates was selected as architect for the project. The developers proposed that the building would qualify for a "Silver" rating under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) version 4 standard. The Dragon Group of Atlanta, Georgia was brought in as a LEED consultant.

A press release issued by the city on October 1, 2020 projected that the new building would be a "catalyst for redevelopment of the business district and overall Ensley neighborhood." The developers hoped to recruit existing logistics companies operating in the area, and pitched the project as "a logistics hub, wrapped in an entertainment districts." At that time, completion of the new building was anticipated in September 2022.

Progress on the new building was delayed by issues relating to groundwater, the COVID-19 pandemic, and inflation. In April 2023 Jeremy Cutts of Williams Blackstock Architects presented an updated proposal to the Birmingham Design Review Committee, which approved the design unanimously.

In December 2023 the Birmingham City Council extended the timeline for the city's agreement with Ensley District Developers to June 30, 2025



  • Johnson, Roy S. (October 14, 2019) "Johnson: Restoring Ramsay McCormack and Ensley a must." The Birmingham News
  • Beahm, Anna (October 22, 2019) "Council approves Ramsay McCormack Building redevelopment agreement." The Birmingham News
  • Beahm, Anna (April 22, 2020) "Ramsay McCormack Building to be torn down, redeveloped." The Birmingham News
  • "Mayor Woodfin and Ensley District Development Launch Redevelopment of the Ramsay-McCormack Site" (October 1, 2023) City of Birmingham press release
  • Garrison, Greg (October 1, 2020) "Ensley’s tallest building coming down, new one to follow." The Birmingham News
  • "Redevelopment underway at Ramsay McCormack, Innovation Depot among tenants." (October 1, 2020) Birmingham Business Journal
  • Wright, Barnett (October 2, 2020) "Redevelopment underway at historic Ramsay-McCormack Building in Ensley." The Birmingham Times
  • Fambro, Cassie (April 16, 2021) "Ensley business alliance says Ramsay-McCormack building demo dust affecting health."
  • Byington, Pat (April 26, 2023) "New Ramsay-McCormack redevelopment in Ensley moving forward." Bham Now
  • Wright, Barnett (August 21, 2023) "Ramsay McCormack Redevelopment in Ensley Overcoming Hurdles to Reach Milestones." The Birmingham Times
  • Gaddy, Daniel (December 19, 2023) "Birmingham Council Extends Timeline to Build on Old Ramsay-McCormack Property." BirminghamWatch

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