Parisian building

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Parisian building in 2018
Parisian in the late 1920s

The Parisian building, also called the Calder Building, Booker T. Washington Building and now Gray Construction’s Southeast Regional Office, is 5-story, 57,000 square-foot building constructed in 1928 for Parisian department store on the northwest corner of 18th Street and 3rd Avenue North in downtown Birmingham. The building, originally clad in Art-Deco-styled white terra-cotta, was designed by Warren, Knight & Davis with D. O. Whilldin.

Parisian experienced grave financial troubles during the Great Depression and relocated to smaller premises in the Roden Block in 1937. Calder Furniture Co. moved in to the former department store in 1940 and remained there until moving to a smaller building on 2nd Avenue North in 1952.

After the furniture retailer left, the ground floor space was leased by discount retailers including Gulf Miles and Dollar Dept. Stores and offices of the 4th U.S. Army Corps on the floors above.

In 1968 businessman A. G. Gaston purchased the building for $1.5 million and remodeled it for the offices of his Citizens Federal Savings & Loan. Davis, Speake & Associates designed the renovations.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony in 1969 were Gaston and his wife, executive Louis Willie, Mayor George Seibels, Birmingham City Council president M. E. Wiggins and Jefferson County Commission president Cooper Green. It later housed the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company.

The building was transferred to Citizens Trust Bank of Atlanta, Georgia as part of the sale of Citizens Federal in 2003.

In 2013 owner Mark Elgin announced plans to invest $7.5 million renovating the building into 32 apartments with ground-floor retail, a fitness center and rooftop deck. A. G. Gaston Design provided architectural services and Golden Construction was set to carry out the work. Elgin's health declined, however, and the building was put back on the market. One prospective buyer indicated that he would pursue a similar redevelopment project.

In April 2015 Lexington, Kentucky-based Gray Construction announced that it would purchase the building and renovate it for their Southeast regional headquarters and other office tenants. They signed Atlas RFID Solutions as a major office tenant later that year.

Birmingham developer Mike Mouron purchased building and adjoining parking deck from Gray Construction in 2019.




  • Tomberlin, MIchael (September 1, 2013) "$7.5 million The Parisian latest apartment project slated for downtown Birmingham." The Birmingham News
  • Davis, Bryan (February 20, 2015) "Parisian project cancellation not related to financing." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Watkins, Mia (April 16, 2015) "Gray Construction to redevelop Booker T. Washington building as new regional headquarters." The Birmingham News
  • Van der Bijl, Hanno (May 14, 2019) "Prominent developer purchases Gray Construction Co. building downtown." Birmingham Business Journal

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