A proposed five-story mixed use development for the former Peabody Restaurant site on Woodward received final site plan and design review approvals from the Birmingham Planning Board at their meeting on Wednesday, February 28.
The building, at 34965 Woodward Avenue, will be developed by Matt Shiffman of Alden Development, also includes the site of the former Art & Frame Shop on Peabody Street. The site is a total of .597 acres, and the building will be 161,910 square feet. “The applicant wants to construct a five-story mixed use building with two levels of underground parking,” Birmingham Planner Matt Baka said. He said the first floor would be retail, second and third floors office, fourth floor a mixture of commercial and residential, and the fifth floor, residential.
Architect Chris Longe of Birmingham presented designs for the exterior of the building which would utilize a variety of materials for construction, including granite for the base of the building in charcoal gray; tan stone panels for the façade of the first floor; a light salmon colored masonry veneer for the second, third and fourth floors; and metal composite panels that would clad the fifth floor and sections of the rooftop screenings. He said there would be steel window and door systems on all elevations, and decorative stainless steel metal grates for rooftop mechanical screening. On both the Peabody and Woodward elevations, there would be metal pedestrian scale canopies on the building as well as a cantilevered structural glass section on the third floor.
“An important factor in the design of this building is the completion of the Maple Gateway project outlined in the Downtown Birmingham 2016 Master Plan. The Maple Gateway was envisioned to provide a 'main entrance' to Birmingham’s Central Business District. The plan recommends that the buildings should be designed with reference to the other, sharing a similar height, massing and as much architectural syntax as possible. The building will match the height of the Greenleaf Trust building to the north, and the Balmoral building to the south as well as provide identical massing. The proposed building also has a modern architectural design which is featured in the abutting buildings. The proposed building will uphold the vision of the Maple Gateway and Downtown Birmingham 2016 Master Plan,” the building proposal stated.
At preliminary site plan presentations for the building, representatives for the neighboring Greenleaf Trust and Balmoral buildings voiced complaints about close proximity of the proposed project and the impact it could pose to their buildings. However, in a planning department memo, it stated that, “A thorough review of the minutes and staff report revealed no encouragement or requirements by the Planning Board or by staff to require the installation of windows on the property lines abutting the 34965 Woodward site,” meaning there was no problem with the new building developing and building to the property line, as it proposed.
The final site plan and design review were approved by the planning board, and do not need to go to the city commission for further approvals.