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Demolition of Ensley High School Property Begins; 244 Homes On The Way

David Northern Sr., president/CEO of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District. (Ryan Michaels, The Birmingham Times)


The start of demolition at the former Ensley High School property marks the next significant step in plans to develop a 244-home mixed-used neighborhood at 2301 Avenue J.

The $55 million project would see Georgia-based developer Zimmerman Properties SE LLC demolishing most of the old school building, which was severely damaged in a 2018 fire, and rebuilding affordable housing and a 15,000-square-foot commercial development at the site.

The project represents another big step in revitalization efforts for Ensley, which has already seen a major project at the Ramsay-McCormack Building, among other initiatives and projects, underway.

“Neighborhood revitalization is our top priority,” Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said. “For many years, Ensley High School provided the educational foundation for this community. As the next steps are taken, this site will provide a new foundation for vibrant and livable space for our residents.”

Woodfin; State Sen. Jabo Waggoner; David Northern Sr., President/CEO of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District; Birmingham City Councilors Carol Clarke and LaTonya Tate and developers were at the school Friday for the announcement.

The Zimmerman Development Team, which is overseeing the project, estimates demolition will be complete in less than four months. Once demolished, the developers will have a nine-month design and community engagement period. Construction could start as early as late 2022.

The school building, which closed in 2006, was destroyed by fire in 2018. The property, situated on four blocks, will provide developers more than 10 acres to construct stacked flats, carriage houses and a three-story apartment building for a total of 244 new homes ranging in size from one to three bedrooms.

Plans include converting the Ensley High School gymnasium into commercial space. The mixed-use development will also include off-street parking, green space and an early childhood learning center.

Updated at 9:01 a.m. on 11/13/2021 to add name of those in attendance.