Tuxedo Terrace

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Tuxedo Terrace in 2009

Tuxedo Terrace (formerly Tuxedo Court) is a public housing project operated by the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District located at 2035 Avenue Q Ensley in the Tuxedo neighborhood of the Ensley adjacent to Exit 120 off I-20/I-59. The project was completely rebuilt beginning in 2006 and reopened in November 2009.

History

Construction of the original Tuxedo Court project was completed in 1961 after twelve blocks of existing housing were cleared. It took its name from its close proximity to the historic Tuxedo Junction. The project included 110 separate buildings to house low-income residents. At its closure, the project contained 488 low-income units.

As the project declined, it became known as "The Brickyard".

Rebuilding

The $23 million redevelopment produced a mixed-income community with 290 units, of which 220 are apartments and the remainder duplexes and town homes. Half of the apartments are reserved for public housing clients while the remainder are leased at market rate. Initially, and at the urging of the Tuxedo Neighborhood Association, the Housing Authority planned to build 86 single-family homes in the community as well. Those plans are on hold pending improvements in the housing market.

Demolition of the 1961 housing began in 2006 with funds from a $20 million grant Hope VI grant from HUD received in July 2004. The homes were designed by Williams-Blackstock Architects to fit in with other Western Birmingham neighborhoods. Construction was managed by the Boulevard Group of Atlanta, Georgia. Ground was officially broken in May 2006, but there were several delays before construction could proceed.

In October 2006 the Jefferson County Commission committed $2 million toward infrastructure improvements at the revitalized community. In March 2007 it awarded a $14.8 million construction contract to Trawick Contractors for construction of phase one, however, construction was delayed a month later when the authority rejected all bids for infrastructure work after learning of errors in the bid specifications. It awarded a $6.4 million infrastructure contract to Russo Corporation in June, but voted to terminate the contract a few months later before work began because of conflicts with City of Birmingham requirements. The infrastructure contract was re-awarded to Russo at $6.3 million in February 2008, a month after the second phase of construction was awarded to Trawick at $16 million. Crews resumed work in late March.

In August 2008, the Authority voted to combine the two phases into a single project. Captsone Building Company was awarded a $21 million contract for all 306 units. According to HABD's executive director, combining both phases saved the Authority about $10 million while keeping the project on schedule. The federal grant funding was set to expire on October 1, 2009.

In March 2009 the Authority scrapped its plans to include single-family houses in the development, citing the abysmal real estate market. The possibility of returning to the idea at a later time was left open. In July the board voted on various renaming proposals including "Steel Oaks", "Villas at Magnolia Trace" and "Renaissance Terrace" before selecting Tuxedo Terrace.

In March 2010, the nearby New Pleasant View Missionary Baptist Church announced plans to build a new sanctuary and renovate the 1947 building. The existing building would be retained for community development programs.

In September 2010 the Board approved a contract for architectural design for 21 single-family homes at Tuxedo Terrace, with an eye toward a total of 60 as funds become available.

References

External links