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Proposed mixed-use for Coldwell Banker site

By Kevin Elliott

A four-story, mixed-use building proposed at 294 E. Brown Street in Birmingham would include two floors of apartments, a full-floor of office use, first-floor retail and a public courtyard connected to the future Restoration Hardware building, according to plans submitted to the city.

Birmingham Planning Board members met on Wednesday, February 23, to discuss the project, the related community impact study and preliminary site plan. Proposed by a team represented by architect Victor Saroki, who is working with the RH development, the project calls for the removal of the current Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel building at 294 E. Brown, and a complete redevelopment of the site. In its place would stand a 120,000 square foot building, including a 59-space underground parking garage.

Saroki said the building is intended to complement the RH development.

“The proposal occupies the entire site, not just the building,” Saroki said. “It includes the building, but has plazas, courtyards, vias, landscaping, a fountain and allows for complete circulation on four sides. There’s a large courtyard through the center of the whole building that is partly open and partly enclosed. Visitors from RH can use those courtyards, and they will have seating, likely with RH furniture. It’s really an extension of what RH does with their courtyards and has been extended here.”

Plans call for an active rooftop for use by building residents, including a swimming pool, lounging area, landscaping, coverings, benches, fire pits, grills and other amenities.

“We intend it to be beautiful,” Saroki said.

Planning board members were supportive of the plans, and no significant issues were identified in the project’s community impact study, site plan or design. However, board members refrained from accepting the plan, as the city’s traffic engineering consultant hadn’t completed a review of the traffic impacts prior to the review.

“This corner will be transformed,” said planning board member Bert Koseck. “There have been critics of the RH project, but this complies with the ordinance. It not only complies, but meets the spirit and intent of what was written in the 2016 Plan. It checks all the boxes in every way. I’m very pleased.”

The board postponed a decision on the preliminary plans and community impact study until March 23, which will include a report from the city’s consultant regarding traffic.


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