Luxury apartment building on Adams approved
By Lisa Brody
The Birmingham Planning Board approved the final site plan and design review for a 157-unit luxury apartment building reaching up to six floors at 770 S. Adams in Birmingham’s Triangle District at their meeting on Wednesday, May 11.
The site includes three parcels that are currently home to a two-story office building, Citizens Bank, parking lots and streetscape elements along Haynes and S. Adams.
The 235,475-square-foot building planned by developers from the Forbes Group, Hunter Pasteur and Soave Enterprises, designed by Birmingham architect Chris Longe, had previously been approved by the city's planning board for a community impact study and preliminary site plan and design review, contingent upon certain conditions, including providing $20,000 to the city for a future pedestrian crossing on S. Adams, as well as $100,000 for the future development of Worth Plaza.
Planning Director Nick Dupuis said FHS, as the development group is now referred to, “has engaged with city staff on Worth Plaza, so that condition has been met, and talks have begun on the sidewalk.”
Dupuis explained that due to site conditions, in some places the building will be four stories, and other locations, stepping up to six stories. He said they are utilizing the additional hight due to meeting LEED building design accreditation.
“The materials are all high quality and meet the architectural standards for the Triangle District,” Dupuis said. He said there are a lot of benches and bike racks proposed along with the streetscaping.
A rooftop pool, along with pool seating, grill and entertainment area are all permitted uses in the Triangle District, Dupuis said. Upon questioning of the applicant's representative, it was determined there will be no fully enclosed structures on the rooftop, only umbrellas and cabanas.
A concern to the planning board, the use of a non-permitted material, artificial turf grass, was explained by Nico Schultz of FHS Birmingham, who explained that it is only planned to be used within a center first level enclosed courtyard which will have other natural plantings as well as a tall, natural buffered screened wall.
“The turf was proposed because, if it is natural grass, will it it turn into a mud pit? It would,” Schultz said. “It is very high end turf.”
The planning board voted 4-1 to approve, with Stuart Jeffares opposed due to the placement of first floor apartments and the lack of first floor retail. Planning board chair Scott Clein and board members Burt Koseck and Jason Emerine recused themselves due to potential conflicts of interest with the developers.