Robertson Towers

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Robertson Towers in March 2004.

Robertson Towers or the James S. Robertson Towers is a 101-unit public housing project located at 312 19th Avenue in downtown Tuscaloosa. The project is owned and operated by the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority (THA) and was completed in 1967.

The location for the tower was indicated in March 1965 as being in the northeastern section of downtown along 19th Avenue. At that time, the building was to have cost an estimated $1,250,000 to complete and include one three bedroom, ten two bedroom, 64 one bedroom and 24 efficiency apartments for seniors. However the proposed location caused some local controversy resulting in other potential sites being evaluated. The delay resulted in the Federal Housing & Home Finance Agency to tell the authority if the apartments are not built, federal funding would be forfeited in October 1965.

Later that month, a public meeting was held to present to the community other potential sites for the proposed high-rise. The THA considered fourteen other sites throughout the city for its construction and determined the only other site suitable for the project other than the 19th Avenue location was the site of the former state capitol building in the West End. As the West End property was owned by the University of Alabama, city officials agreed at that time if the University was unwilling to sell the former capitol property, construction of the tower would proceed at the 19th Avenue location. Ultimately, the tower was built on the 19th Avenue location.

In September 1966, Robbins Engineering Company of Birmingham was selected to serve as general contractor for the project. They were selected after submitting the lowest of seven bids at $1,017,088 to complete the tower. Construction commenced later that fall. After nearly a year of construction, the building officially opened to residents on November 6, 1967. Named in honor of former Tuscaloosa mayor James Robertson, the tower was officially dedicated on December 1, 1967. The final cost of the project including both land acquisition and construction costs was $1,410,713.


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