Seven Springs

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This article is about the residential development, for the wildlife refuge, see Seven Springs Ecoscape.
Entrance to Seven Springs in 2011

Seven Springs (formerly Westhaven) is a proposed residential subdivision of 153 houses, on the east side of 24th Street Southwest, between Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and Nabors Branch, near Arrington Middle School in Birmingham's Jones Valley neighborhood.

Rick Bentley of Business Realty Investment (BRIC) purchased the land from the Belcher Lumber Co. in 1988 and proposed a 47-home development on the site in 1989. He was granted a city-backed loan of $320,000 to develop the subdivision with the property secured by mortgage. No progress was made and, in 1997 the city declared BRIC in default and foreclosed on the property. Bentley filed suit claiming wrongful foreclosure and alleging that the city caused his firm intentional harm. The case was appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court where Bentley prevailed.

After he won that lawsuit he shelved the redevelopment plans until 2008 when he went before the Birmingham City Council to request public investment in infrastructural work for the project. On March 25, 2008 the council approved spending $988,469 for sidewalks, sewers and other infrastructure for the project.

As planned, the first 10 of the 1,300-1,650 square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath houses would be completed by 2011 with the remainder completed in 2012. By June 2011 the first phase of streets had been paved with concrete gutters, and underground electrical service had been laid. BRIC landscaped the entrance to the property with boulders and dwarf palms. Due to the Great Recession, Bentley had switched to a development model in which the houses would be constructed after they were sold. He offered seven models ranging from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet, and was open to having any builder come in to construct them. He claimed that model homes and, "a barrage of marketing and advertising," would be completed in October. As of 2021 24 lots had been subdivided along Westhaven Drive, Ann Haven Drive and Maria Place, but only one double-wide trailer occupied the property.

A second phase, to the west across 24th Street Southwest, was expected to include 30 acres of green space, including mini-parks and a pavilion on the banks of Nabors Branch. Bentley sold the 26.1-acre western parcel to Emily Godsey in 2018. She subsequently negotiated a conservation easement with Freshwater Land Trust to preserve the natural habitat around the springs, expanding an existing preserve owned by the Seven Springs Watercress Darter Coalition and protecting habitat for the endangered Watercress darter.


  • Bryant, Joseph D. (March 18, 2008) "West End house plan back on track." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (June 20, 2011) "Birmingham housing venture planned as 'fresh air' to renew southwest part of city." The Birmingham News

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