The Parisian building, also called the 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 various U.S. Army offices on the floors above.
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.
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.
- Suite 100: Gray Construction
- Suite 300: Arcadis US
- Suite 320: Stephens Insurance LLC
- Suite 400: Atlas RFID Solutions, former location of Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama (2004)
- former location of Artur Davis district office (2003-2011)
- "A. G. Gaston opens $1.5 million bldg. in Birmingham." (April 3, 1969) Jet magazine. Vol. 35, No. 26, pp. 20-21
- White, Marjorie Longenecker (1977) Downtown Birmingham: Architectural and Historical Walking Tour Guide. Birmingham: Birmingham Historical Society.
- Hollis, Tim (2005) Birmingham's Theater and Retail District. Images of America series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738517771
- Hollis, Tim (2008) Vintage Birmingham Signs. Images of America series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 073855376X
- 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
- BTW Insurance Building on Emporis.com