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Once abandoned, the Pizitz is now home to 143 multifamily residences

A model unit is shown at the Residences at the Pizitz in Birmingham, Ala., Thursday, Jan.24, 2019. (Photo by Mark Almond)
By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times

The Residences at the Pizitz Building, which occupy the six upper floors of the refurbished structure, opened in December 2016. People who live there have access to several best-in-class amenities, including The Skyline, which features a rooftop, panoramic views of the Magic City, and a fitness center with locker rooms complete with steam showers and saunas. Plus, residents enjoy nearby attractions like the Alabama Theatre and Railroad Park.

The residential aspect of the building has helped bring people back to the city and downtown.

“Our purpose is to revitalize downtown, … to bring people back downtown and bring [the area] back to life,” said Mindy Rohr, Experience Manager of the Pizitz Food Hall.

Pizitz residents cover a wide demographic, from different age groups to different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

“We’ve given people a place to live, which helps them,” said Rohr. “Many of our residents are [University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)] graduate students, or they work at UAB or somewhere downtown. A handful of them walk to work, so we’ve given them that place.”

Residents have their own private access to the Pizitz Food Hall, as well as access to Forge, a co-working space located on the building’s mezzanine level.

“We were the first co-working space in Birmingham … giving that start-up person a chance when it comes to growing their business,” said Rohr.

What’s Inside the Pizitz?

The Pizitz is a $70 million renovation of a former 1920s department store in downtown Birmingham. The building was restored and transformed by Bayer Properties into a mixed-use destination and now features The Pizitz Food Hall, two restaurants, 143 multifamily residences, modern co-working office space named Forge and the soon to open Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema.

The restoration of the 251,000-square-foot building, which had sat vacant for 28 years, was completed in December, 2016.

One business occupant of note in the Pizitz Building is Warby Parker, the first and only location in the state of Alabama for the affordable eyeglass distributor that offers designer eyewear while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

“Every pair purchased is donated to someone who can’t a pair afford to buy glasses,” Rohr said. “Most of their regular glasses that aren’t bifocals [cost less than] $100; that includes the frame and lenses, and there are no additional costs. It’s really cool to have them here. They’re a very popular, trendy eyeglass distributor.

Another occupant, Yellowhammer Creative, is a print shop that presents the finest local goods alongside their own in-house design and hand-screen-printed goods.

Global Food

The Pizitz Food Hall is renowned for its variety.

REVeal Kitchen, a partnership with REV Birmingham, is a rotating stall that provides incubator space to help start-up restaurateurs learn everything from inventory control to handling cash flow and managing a staff; it also serves as a proof of concept for a restaurant’s menu, pricing, and other elements. After four to six months, the restaurant is expected to move into its own space and allow a new restaurant to set up in the incubator.

“If someone needs assistance to get a concept up and going, that’s what REVeal Kitchen does,” said Rohr. “[Occupants] switch out every six months. We’re in the process of that now, but [the space has housed] Bitty’s Living Kitchen and The Preservery.”

Also in the food hall are the Alabama Biscuit Company; Busy Corner Cheese and Provisions; Eli’s Jerusalem Grill; Ghion Cultural Hall; Lichita’s Popsicles and Ice Cream; The Louis Bar; Mo:Mo:; Ono Poke; Piper and Leaf Artisan Tea Company; Silver Kati Indian Street Food; The Standard; Waffleworks; Juiced Up Essentials; and Pho Pho Vietnamese, which is scheduled to open this spring.

This story was updated on 2/15/2019 at 1:34 p.m. to correct Mindy Rohr’s title. She is the Experience Manager of The Pizitz Food Hall.