This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Business Journal.
Despite challenges with rezoning and the coronavirus pandemic, a development team is pushing forward with the renovation of Bayer Properties’ former headquarters after landing an anchor tenant.
D&A Companies and The FiveStone Group are partnering on 2222 Arlington, a Class A office project in Redmont Park between downtown and Over the Mountain neighborhoods. The team closed on the property March 15 with financing from ServisFirst Bank. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available in public records.
Atlas Senior Living will be the lead anchor tenant after signing a lease for 30% of the 55,000-square-foot building. Kevin Sokol of Red Rock represented the tenant.
Michael Reilly, associate at FiveStone, and Philip Currie, president at J.H. Berry & Gilbert Inc., represent the leasing team. KPS Group is the architect of record. Hoar Construction will be the contractor.
It’s an $18 million endeavor that started out as a mixed-use project that called for a boutique hotel, condominium as well as a spa and wellness concept. The team went back to the drawing board after their proposal met with some opposition from the local neighborhood and the city of Birmingham’s advisory committee recommended approval with conditions such as an 80-foot height restriction.
It wasn’t easy but Evan Watts, who is a partner and co-founder of the New York City-based company, said the project has only become stronger.
“We’ve had to not only address some of the neighborhood concerns about the rezoning and the hotel but responding to the market and being able to reposition our own business plan and to focus on utilizing a great old asset to launch on a great new project in this community in the nexus of what we believe is one of the strongest markets in Birmingham,” Watts said.
Terraced with indoor and outdoor space, the building will be renovated to include floor-to-ceiling windows to emphasize its modernist geometry and a new east lobby with an atrium and exterior reflecting pool.
A condominium on a vacant parcel on the property is still in the works and is expected to be a $23 million investment in a second phase of the project.
“It gives us the ability to create a residential and office campus and have continuity between the two designs and the hardscaping and landscaping elements as well as parking and have it work together and gel as a cohesive unit and be right there at the gateway to the Southside neighborhood,” said James McCormick, partner and director of construction at D&A.
Watts, a native of Birmingham, inspired his colleagues to take a look at the Magic City after they worked on several high-end design and development projects in Manhattan.
“The more we visited, the more we’ve gotten to know it, the more we realize this is an amazing place and has so much potential,” said Kartik Desai, partner and co-founder at D&A. “We’re so excited to be here and can’t wait to do more.”