S. H. Kress & Company Building

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This article is about the 1937 building at 3rd Avenue North and 19th Street. For other buildings used by S. H. Kress & Company, see Kress Building.
S. H. Kress & Company Building in 1937

The S. H. Kress & Company Building is a 75,000 square foot, five-story Art Deco commercial building on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue North and 19th Street. It was built in 1937 for S. H. Kress & Company's 5-and-10 cent store.

The modern design was a an early example of stylistic change for the company's architect, Edward F. Sibbert, who had recently designed a modern flagship store for New York's Fifth Avenue. The steel-frame building features streamlined white marble cladding and horizontal groupings of windows trimmed with bronze. Cantilevered canopies shade the sidewalk at the entrances and a monumental vertical sign graces the principal corner. Day & Sachs of Birmingham was the contractor.

The Kress store thrived in the center of Birmingham's downtown theater and retail district during it's mid-century heyday. In the 1960s the exterior was covered with new metal panels. The store closed in 1978 leaving the ground floor vacant and offices on the upper floors. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 1982.

In 1983 Costa and Head planned to redevelop the building as part of their project for "The Atrium", which would also include several other structures on 2nd Avenue, and would return Blach's department store to its former corner in the Kress building. The project was reduced in scope and proceeded without Blach's involvement.

In 2003 the firm of Wiggins, Childs, Quinn & Pantazis acquired the building and remodeled it to relocate their offices from the SouthTrust Tower. The renovations were performed by Southpace Properties and designed by Cohen & Company with help from historic preservation consultant Linda Nelson. The project, which was completed in 2004, qualified for a Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The lower level was also remodeled into a cabaret theatre for the Red Mountain Theatre Company.


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