Ramsay McCormack redevelopment plan approved

The City of Birmingham has approved the work plan for redevelopment of the Ramsay McCormack Building.

The city notified Judge Marshell Jackson Hatcher of the approval in a status report detailing completion of Phase 1 of the Redevelopment Agreement by Ensley District Developers (EDD).

EDD partnered with Stewart Perry Construction to perform a detailed site study to determine the best course of action for redeveloping the centerpiece of Ensley’s Commercial Business District. A plan was presented to deconstruct rather than renovate the 10-story structure. The developer determined a complete renovation of the building was not feasible due to several major structural challenges resulting from being vacant for nearly 35 years:

  • Mechanical bearing and anchoring systems are failing which could lead to a catastrophic failure of the structure.
  • The concrete floor and beam system are experiencing wide scale failure due to long term exposure to water infiltration which has weakened the bearing capacity.
  • The metal structural lining (jambs) of the windows which supports masonry above a window has rusted out on all of the windows.
  • Size limitations make it impossible to meet current code without completely restructuring elevator shafts and stairs.

The deconstruction plan will include filling in the basement, which is currently filled with standing water, and redeveloping the site with a new 4-story construction which will use salvaged materials from the existing structure in order to reflect its historic architectural style. The new structure will be 30,000 square feet.

EDD will guide the reconstruction with a focus on creating a multipurpose use for the building designed to drive additional foot traffic in the Ensley Commercial Business District. The redevelopment will serve as a catalyst to spur development in surrounding buildings and streets.

The city and local industry will provide anchor tenants for the property. The Ensley community provides a prime location for logistics companies. The strength of the logistics industry in Ensley, combined with new developments from local merchants and residents of the neighborhood, will create increased need for services and entertainment options such as restaurants, retail, nightlife and other hospitality-based businesses.

Based on discussions with the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity, EDD could break ground by August 1, 2020 with an estimated completion date of September 2022.

EDD entered a contract with the city in September to redevelop the 91-year-old Ramsay McCormack Building, which has been empty since 1986.

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