Times staff report
The former Bessemer City Hall will undergo a $10 million renovation and become a 60 unit mixed-use housing development designed for millennials, young families and empty nesters, according to city officials and developers.
The proposed redevelopment will be spearheaded by Scott Crawford, Inc., a real estate development company.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the City of Bessemer and our local partners to provide quality housing for the citizens in downtown Bessemer,” said Que El-Amin, Principal of Scott Crawford, Inc. “Scott Crawford is excited to be leading a project that will be one of many in the revitalization of downtown Bessemer under Mayor Kenneth Gulley.”
The proposed development is the first downtown residential project in the history of Bessemer and the product of a year-long collaboration between Scott Crawford, the mayor’s office and the city of Bessemer.
“I am pleased that Scott Crawford Inc. has selected Bessemer and our historic downtown as the site for its first residential project in Alabama,” Gulley said. “We’re committed to revitalizing our downtown and this proposal aligns with our vision for the future of downtown Bessemer.”
Cheyjuan K. Martin, a Brighton native and Principal of Montgomery Martin Communications LLC, said, “Bessemer has always been a second home to me and my family. It is a privilege and an honor to be part of the team bringing quality residential housing to downtown Bessemer.”
The proposed development will utilize the latest in technology including proximity based messaging through a platform called LifeTagger.
Kendrick Pullen, co-founder of LifeTagger, said, “Our goal is to not only provide a beautiful development but to also embrace technology while creating a connected, informed, and inclusive downtown Bessemer. Wherever you live in the city, we will be using LifeTagger technology to create an enhanced experience for you every time you visit downtown Bessemer.”
According to the LifeTagger website, the app is “a platform for creating, distributing, and receiving content based on your proximity to people, places, things or ideas.”
Transforming The 1938 Building
Once finished, the property at 1800 3rd Avenue North will feature 60-housing units and also 4,000 sq. ft. of commercial space.
City officials say developers intend to uphold the cool historical features of the art-deco building, such as the limestone trim and large city hall clock that dates back to the 1890s.
According to developers, the building will help cultivate an “amenity-rich, cross-generational neighborhood” designed for working millennials, young families and empty nesters. Again, such great news for the downtown Bessemer area!
The sale of the building is expected to close in November and is contingent on the close of a parcel of land next door to the former City Hall facility.
According to city officials, developers will have two years to begin construction. Once started, they’ll have 18 months to complete the job.
The redevelopment has only just begun in Bessemer as developers from around the country anticipate the area’s needs for the 2020 opening of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer. The $325 million fulfillment center is expected to bring over 1,500 jobs to the area.
“Amazon’s announcement has sparked another round of interest from companies who can see the value in being in the area and taking advantage of the anticipated job growth in the city,” said Toraine Norris, chief of staff for Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley.
The former Bessemer City Hall building was built between 1938 to 1941 by the Works Progress Administration. It originally housed city hall, the municipal auditorium and retail space on the first floor.
It was also the site of a 1979 package bombing that killed one person and injured three others. The structure itself only suffered minor damage from the event.
In 2012, the building was declared “in a deplorable state” by the Bessemer City Council. It has been vacant since 2016.
www.bhamnow.com contributed to this article