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Properties amended for RH development site

By Kevin Elliott


The Birmingham City Commission on Monday, May 10, unanimously approved a series of property line amendments along S. Old Woodward between E. Brown and Daines streets, making way for the future site of a four-story Restoration Hardware.


Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker said Restoration Hardware, or RH, proposed a series of parcel combinations and lot splits to combine the current three parcels of property, then split them in a way that would result in two parcels, which would be the building site of the new building.


Plans for the site call for a 49,624-square-foot building with three stories of galleries, as well as a fourth floor restaurant that would double as a gallery for indoor/outdoor furnishings. Representatives for RH estimate more than $25 million would be invested in the project and generate about 130 new jobs.


Designed by Birmingham architect Victor Saroki, the plans call for reconstructing more than an acre of property along Old Woodward, including razing the existing Capital Title/Lutz building, Frank’s Shoe Service/Roche Bobois building, and the Coldwell Banker Weir Manual parking lot.


The Birmingham Planning Board in April recommended approval of RH’s preliminary site plans and a rezoning request from RH that would permit a restaurant to be used on the fourth floor of the building.


Restoration Hardware is also seeking a rezoning of the property. Currently D3 zoning allows for a maximum hight of three floors; however, a planned restaurant for the fourth floor would require either a rezoning to D4 or a zoning variance.


City commissioner Clinton Baller asked what would happen to the property if the lot amendments were approved, but the plans to build the proposed project fell through.


“If the lot splits go through and the combinations go through tonight and the proposal for RH doesn’t happen, there will still be two rectangular parcels that are far more conducive to a future development,” Ecker said. “I think it would help the marketability of the property if it were to be sold to somebody else. That doesn’t mean RH has to go there, but it certainly would make it easier to sell the property and would certainly increase the value of the parcel to be combined.”


Specifically, the property amendments included a lot split/rearrangement for 300 S. Old Woodward, 294 E. Brown Street and 300-394 S. Old Woodward. The new lot boundaries were unanimously approved with two special conditions. Those conditions included a requirement that all outstanding taxes and special assessments on 300 S. Old Woodward be paid in full, and that it must either be approved for rezoning to D4 in the downtown overlay district or the height of the building be reduced to 68 feet.


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