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Seeking to End a ‘Launching Pad for Criminal Activity,’ City of Birmingham Sues Third Ave. West Businesses

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The Birmingham Times

The City of Birmingham said late Monday it is suing the owners and operators of properties located at 800 and 814 3rd Avenue West due to the continued high amount of illegal activity including violence.

Third Avenue Ventures, LLC and Express Mart of Alabama, LLC have been named as the owners in the complaint.

The city said the properties have been “essentially used as a launching pad for criminal activity” including drugs and violence. According to the city, in the past two years, Birmingham Police have responded to hundreds of calls at or near the properties. In the last year alone, police have responded to cases related in theft, kidnapping, assault, drugs, dangerous exhibition driving, and more.

On May 4, 2024, a shooting occurred resulting in at least seven injuries, and one death on the premises, the city said in a press release.

The city contends:

  • More than 50 calls were received by the Birmingham Police concerning the properties in the past month.
  • In January 2024, a woman was beaten inside the doorway of the property known as 3rd Avenue Shell, abducted and eventually murdered.

The complaint states “neighboring residents are in serious risk of suffering immediate and irreplaceable harm.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said he has instructed the city attorney, “to take steps to deal with the public safety concerns at this location. Our small businesses are the backbone of our city, but when they do not provide a basic commitment to protecting their premises, the jeopardize the well-being of their businesses and the public.”

He added that “local business owners must be held accountable for the activity on their property, specifically properties that have been constant sites for illegal disruption.”

Third Avenue Ventures, LLC and Express Mart of Alabama, LLC have not responded as of Monday evening.

City Attorney Nicole King said the administration is committed to “holding property owners accountable for ongoing criminal activity that poses a danger for individuals both at those properties and the surrounding neighborhood.”

In the court filing, an affidavit from Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr states the “properties have been at the center of numerous shootings, altercations and other felony assaults.” Carr’s affidavit also states the owners of the properties appear “unwilling to take the necessary steps to stop criminal activity from occurring on the premises.”

Third Avenue Ventures, LLC and Express Mart of Alabama, LLC have not responded as of Monday evening.

The city’s filing requests the court declare the properties a public nuisance and require the properties to take the necessary steps to eliminate criminal activity. The complaint asks the court to allow the city to demolish the properties if the defendants do not comply.