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HABD board approves Southtown Court development agreement

Southtown Court, built in 1941, is an older development with poor site layout, outdated materials, aging infrastructure, and a lack of modern conveniences. The HABD’s plan is to redevelop the area with upgraded housing and amenities. (Frank Couch, For The Birmingham Times)

The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District’s (HABD) Board of Commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a redevelopment agreement that moves forward plans for the new Southtown Court which include rezoning, resident relocation, design, demolition, contracting, and site work.

The board’s action culminates a lengthy process that included engagement of Southtown Court residents and other community stakeholders in developing plans for the site.

“This agreement marks a major milestone in the planned redevelopment of Southtown Court, which will truly be a cutting edge mixed-use and mixed-income development,” said HABD President/CEO Michael O. Lundy. “The needs and desires of our current Southtown Court families will be given every consideration and those desiring to return to the redeveloped site will have that option.”

Lundy said his development team will also focus on creating job and business opportunities for residents of Southtown Court.

HABD officials said the redevelopment of Southtown Court will be transformational, providing affordable family and senior residences in a vibrant mixed-income setting with well programmed green spaces, walkable retail, services, and other amenities. 

The idea, they say, is to create a multi-modal oriented development that prioritizes the flow and safety of cyclists, pedestrians, buses, and ride shares and has numerous sustainability features to demonstrate excellent environmental stewardship.

 Phase 1 of the construction will focus on infrastructure and residential buildings; phase 2 will include office and retail space, and additional (market rate) residential buildings; and phase 3 contemplates additional office space and a full-service hotel with conferencing facilities.

“Today was an important step on the road to redevelopment of Southtown Court,” said Carol Clarke, General Manager of Southside Development Co. “We’re proud of the collaboration with Southtown residents and other key stakeholders that brought us to this point, and we look forward to continuing that partnership as we bring these plans to life.”

HABD submitted the Section 18 demolition/disposition application for Southtown Court to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department in August and is currently awaiting approval of the application. That process typically takes approximately 30 to 90 days.

Resident relocation, based on preferences indicated in surveys of all residents, is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2020 to minimize the disruption of the school year for students. HABD officials have said they are very intentional in the effort to ensure Birmingham City School students are relocated with their families in their respective school zones.

Demolition of units is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2020. The team is committed to retaining almost 90 residential units in Southtown Court to serve as temporary housing until some of the replacement units are funded and proceeding towards construction.

HABD is holding informational sessions for Southtown Court residents to receive updates pertaining to the ongoing redevelopment process, discuss relocation options and ask questions. There will be continued interactions with residents to walk them through every step of the redevelopment process. All Southtown Court families will have the opportunity to return to the newly developed site, if they choose to, or utilize other relocation options.

HABD provides affordable housing opportunities to approximately 10,000 families in the Birmingham area.

Click here to read more stories about Southtown Court and HABD redevelopment projects.