This morning’s Design Review Committee meeting was heavily attended and had a fairly long agenda. 3choBoomer attended the meeting due to a request before the committee concerning a residence. His account of the meeting is available by clicking here.
The meeting was interesting in that there were actually two requests before the committee for demolition. The first was for demolition of a contributing residential structure in the Red Mountain Suburbs neighborhood for the purposes of building a new structure. The request was denied; setting up what would have been an interesting vote for the Birmingham News building. The representative from Williams Blackstock, Stephen Allen, presented a proposed reworking of the historic building site as a parking lot. The lot would be separated from the sidewalk by a six-foot tall wrought-iron
topped fence with brick veneer. There would be approximately 105 parking spaces. There would be a lower retaining wall along the back of the new parking lot, separating it from the alleyway that separates it from the News’ printing press.
It appeared that there were many in the room prepared to ask if the News really wanted to tear down a landmark building and replace it with a parking lot, causing pedestrians to have a clear view at the back of the printing press, a point raised by Richard Mauk, a member of the Design Review Committee. That remark was met by several heads nodding in agreement to the disbelief of the proposal. Those awaiting a decision will have to wait until mid-September, as the committee voted to delay a decision since two members of the board that many felt needed to be in attendance, Sam Frazier (the board chair) and Cheryl Morgan (with the Auburn University Urban Design Studio).
I found the comments posted in response to my first mention of this vote in yesterday’s post interesting, provocative, funny, constructive and necessary. I would be interested in what others believe on this issue. Realize that even if the committee denied the request, the Birmingham News would only need to work on an alternative solution for the building for six (6) months. We’ll try to provide images of the proposal later on today.
One other quick note, the old A&P building in Ensley is one step closer to being renovated as a Family Dollar. More on that later too.