The Crowne (formerly called Parkside or LIV Parkside 2) is an apartment complex at 1420 10th Street South in Glen Iris. The 5-acre site adjoins a portion of George Ward Park between 10th Court South and 16th Avenue South.
The project was first proposed by Formation Methods in 2003 when the City of Birmingham acquired the property from the Knights of Columbus. The city and Formation Methods jointly developed the Glen Iris Urban Renewal and Urban Redevelopment Plan in 2004 under which the developer would take possession of the property in order to construct 43 single-family houses and town homes.
The project was slow moving forward, however. In April 2006 Formation Methods announced that they would move forward on a revised plan drawn up by the Garrison Barrett Group for 31 semi-detached townhouses on the site. The houses would look like separate single family homes, but would share attached storage units. They were designed to mimic the style of historic arts and crafts cottages which predominate in Glen Iris. Carroll and Green Group was selected as the builder with plans to construct the project in distinct phases of five houses each, as the market allowed.
Again the project failed to move forward and in early 2008 the developers, which now included Crowne Partners as well as Formation Methods, asked for the city's approval for a complex of 107 "high end" apartments on the property, saying that the market would not support new single-family residential in that area. Although the property had been zoned for multi-family residential use, the developer's agreement with the city was based on the previous plans.
The Glen Iris Neighborhood Association has voted to oppose the change. Some suggested that the city should re-purchase the land and expand the park onto it. After a hearing before the Birmingham City Council in March, no action was taken and the council recommended that the Mayor's office negotiate with the developer to modify their prior agreement. On April 30 the Mayor returned to the Council with a request for a $1.2 to 1.8 million investment in infrastructure for the site, in exchange for which the developer would proceed with their initial plan for single-family residences, "once the economy improves".
On May 5 Langford reversed himself. In exchange for the return of $350,000 in city incentives he nullified the city's contract with Formation Methods, allowing the developer to proceed with a multi-family project unhindered. The reversal was perceived as stemming from a rift between Langford and Council member Valerie Abbott, who supported the plan for single-family houses. The mayor denied that connection, saying the city should never have entered into the agreement in the first place.
A day later the City Council voted to rezone the property to a single-family designation. On May 27 the council reversed itself and restored the multi-family zoning. Council President Carole Smitherman said at the time that Abbott misled them into believing they were voting to study rezoning rather than to apply it immediately. Abbott said the vote was very clear and residents have questioned why the council suddenly changed its mind.
In March 2009 Abbott made another proposal, this time to commission a sector study as part of an effort to rezone other parcels in the area to single-family. Mayor Langford pledged not to execute the proposal, calling it a "futile attempt" to stop the construction of apartments.
- Wilkinson, Kaija (April 14, 2006) "Glen Iris set for 31-home development." Birmingham Business Journal
- Pelfrey, David (March 6, 2008) "Dead City Diary". Black & White
- Coman, Victoria L. (March 3, 2008) "Residents oppose apartment plans on Knights site." The Birmingham News
- Whitmire, Kyle (March 5, 2008) "Glen Iris project stalls." Birmingham Weekly
- Bryant, Joseph D. (April 30, 2008) "Langford proposes compromise for Glen Iris property." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (May 6, 2008) "Mayor Langford changes mind about Glen Iris development, blasts neighborhood's councilwoman." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (May 6, 2008) "Langford says he's received money back to cancel deal to build houses on Glen Iris property." The Birmingham News
- Coman, Victoria L. (June 18, 2008) "Glen Iris residents to continue fight against apartments." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (March 24, 2009) "Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford calls Glen Iris rezoning study futile." The Birmingham News