Red Cross Building
- This article is about the downtown building. For the current Red Cross headquarters, see Ridge Park.
The Red Cross Building (formerly the Social Security Building) is a five-story, 125,000 square-foot former office building at 2225–2231 3rd Avenue North, on the southwest corner of 23rd Street North, or the northeast corner of Block 83, in downtown Birmingham. Its conversion to an apartment building was completed in 2023.
In the mid 1940s the city sought to present the then-vacant 1923 Municipal Market as a possible new location for the Southeast regional office for the Social Security Administration. Architects and engineers worked out a plan to add a second story and re-clad the exterior with clean, modern limestone panels. That work was completed in 1946. In the late 1950s, an additional two floors were added above the roof of the two-story building. The appearance of five floors is belied by the fact that the old roof level was never converted into usable 3rd floor space.
The Social Security Administration relocated to a newly-built Social Security Administration Southeast Program Service Center near the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in 1974. The vacant building was acquired the following year by the American Red Cross and renovated as their local headquarters and blood donation center. In 1998 the Red Cross moved to the renovated Rust Building at Ridge Park on Red Mountain.
The building then sat vacant for two decades. In 2004 Operation New Birmingham put it on their 12 Most Wanted list of downtown buildings in need of renovation. Attorney Eric Guster purchased the building for $850,000 in 2015 for redevelopment. Guster announced that after renovations, it would house his Guster Law Firm, as well as other tenants. In 2019 Guster put the building back up for sale, saying he was refocusing his redevelopment efforts in the eastern and western sections of the city.
Developer Ed Ticheli purchased the property from Guster for $4.25 million, and commissioned Hendon & Huckestein Architects to plan for its $33 million conversion into Market Lofts on Third, a 192-unit complex of "workforce apartments", similar to his American Life Building redevelopment.
- "List of buildings recently designed by Long & Gatling, Architects" typescript (June 14, 1950), in "Architects & Architecture", Vol. 2 of material compiled by Hill Ferguson for the cornerstone vault in Birmingham City Hall
- Tomberlin, Michael (February 13, 2011) "Downtown dreams: Renovation slow for prominent buildings." The Birmingham News
- Diel, Stan (February 24, 2011) "Sign of times past uncovered downtown." The Birmingham News
- Godwin, Brent (October 13, 2015) "Lawyer plans massive mixed-use project on Third Avenue North." Birmingham Business Journal
- "Prominent downtown building back on the market." (September 26, 2019) Birmingham Business Journal
- Tomberlin, Michael (August 25, 2020) "Long-vacant American Red Cross building in Birmingham getting $30M rehab into apartments." Alabama NewsCenter
- Van der Bijl, Hanno (August 27, 2020) "Developer sheds more light on plans for American Red Cross building." Birmingham Business Journal
- (September 8, 2022) "Former Red Cross building transforming into workforce housing as Market Lofts on 3rd." AL.com