Demolition is underway at Carraway, marking a key step forward in what will become a mixed-use development called The Star at Uptown.
“This is an important time for Birmingham and especially for our neighborhoods in north Birmingham,” said Robert Simon, CEO and President of Corporate Realty, which is developing the 50-acre hospital site. “These communities have been working with us for years, and it’s time for this land to once again be an asset for the city and the people who live here.”
The first building torn down is near the corner of Carraway Boulevard and 15th Avenue North. Before the end of the year, eight other buildings on the site are scheduled to be demolished. Several structures, including parking decks and the hospital building, will be cleaned out and refurbished for future use.
“I was born at Carraway Hospital, and I know what this place has meant over the years to Birmingham,” Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said. “This was once a source of jobs and economic vitality in this community, and the real story is we’re bringing this site back to life. This will be one of the biggest and most impactful developments our city has ever seen.”
Starting in 2023, work will begin on a project to convert the hospital building into attainable multi-family housing. Other housing, commercial and entertainment spaces will be added over the course of several years.
The new development is named for the hospital’s iconic blue star, which will be refurbished and remain on the site.
“The star was what once guided people to this corner of Birmingham, and we are eager for it to draw people here again,” said City Council President Wardine Alexander. “As a council, we all recognize the need for blight removal and neighborhood revitalization, and we are so glad when we see progress and know we are making a real difference for our city.”
The once-thriving site sat vacant for many years and became a community eyesore after the hospital closed in 2008. Corporate Realty’s plans for the site were developed in partnership with Druid Hills and other nearby neighborhoods.
“Our residents have been waiting a long time to see this site transformed,” said Charlie Williams, the president of the Druid Hills neighborhood, where Carraway is located. “We have worked closely with Corporate Realty and the city to get to this point, and we can’t wait to see The Star shining on Druid Hills once again.”
Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, who represents some of the neighborhoods surrounding the site, said including residents has been one of the most important aspects of the process.
“Whenever you have a major project like this, we have to make sure that the people who live in the area have a seat at the table,” O’Quinn said. “We attended countless work sessions in the community over the years, and I feel like the input that residents were able to give was received and is being implemented in this redevelopment plan. I’m very happy with the inclusivity that was extended to residents in the surrounding areas.”
The property is located just north of the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, and the development is expected to complement recent investments that have been made in the tourism/entertainment district. It is also expected to spur additional revitalization in the area.
Corporate Realty calls this the “ripple effect,” and it has been a guiding principle for its other successful developments in Birmingham.
“We believe in working with communities to build on their strengths, meet their needs and give them a platform to thrive in the future,” Simon said. “We are excited to mark another step toward that goal.”