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Developers secure lease, advancing commercial development at Southtown site

The site is ultimately expected to be home to about 800,000 square feet of commercial space for a biomedical innovation corridor.

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Companies working to create a mixed-use, mixed-income development on the former site of the Southtown Court public housing community now have the green light to move forward with commercial plans for the property. 

A ground lease signed Wednesday, June 26, gives Southside Development Company the authority to move forward with construction in the blocks between 24th Street and the Red Mountain Expressway. The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District will continue to own the property, while private developers will have a long term ground lease to develop the site. The new master planned development will be called Edgehill at Southtown Court. The development began with an initial groundbreaking in April 2023 of the site’s affordable residential components.

The first commercial building is expected to be a 150,000-square-foot building at the corner of University Boulevard and 24th Street that will house an incubator for biotech businesses along with the necessary supporting infrastructure including roads, utilities, and parking. This will be the first part of developing the Birmingham Biomedical Innovation Corridor, which is a key component of the plans moving forward for Edgehill at Southtown Court. The corridor is possible under new state legislation that authorized cities to establish research and development corridors to spur investment in innovation-related industries.

“Our vision is to build on current assets in the community, including key medical and research institutions,” said Robert Simon, CEO of Corporate Realty, which is one of the companies that make up Southside Development. “The lease is the first step in bringing to life a vibrant, multi-dimensional community that not only offers inclusive housing but also includes places to work, shop, eat, relax and play.”

The site is ultimately expected to be home to about 800,000 square feet of commercial space for the biomedical innovation corridor, with about half of that devoted to research and development facilities and the remainder available for innovation partners and medical office space. Other plans for the site include 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 150-200-room hotel, and about 250 residential apartment units.

“We are pleased with the execution of the ground lease for the commercial components of our Edgehill at Southtown Court redevelopment and look forward to the impact that its various spaces – from office and retail to restaurant and hotel – will have on residents,” said HABD President and CEO Dontrelle Young Foster. “From the beginning, we have been adamant in working with Southside Development Company to ensure all components of the Southtown Court redevelopment support our mission of creating vibrant, inclusive communities, and we are confident that the commercial plans for Edgehill at Southtown Court will support the improved quality of life of those who will reside in the community’s affordable housing.”

Already, two housing complexes are under construction west of 24th Street, and they will serve many of the residents who lived in Southtown Court.

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BREC Development, a Birmingham-based firm, expects to have the 60-unit family building open in fall of this year.

“With us, along with our sister companies SPM LLC and Welden-Field Development, having been in Birmingham since the 1970s, we are excited to see this historical and transformative site be re-developed for many people for generations to come,” said Steven C. Hydinger, managing director of BREC Development LLC.

The Benoit Group, an Atlanta-based firm, expects to have the 143-unit senior building complete in March 2025.

“It takes the strong commitment of a public-private partnership between our team, HABD and the City of Birmingham to create this transformation at Edgehill at Southtown Court while maintaining the inclusion of all stakeholders,” said Eddy Benoit Jr., the CEO of The Benoit Group.

Stirling Properties is the retail leasing agent for the commercial development.

“Building on the vibrancy of downtown Birmingham, Edgehill at Southtown Court can provide retail, service, and food and beverage space that will enhance this dynamic location,” said Darryl Bonner, senior advisor with Stirling Properties. “Bringing this density of office and medical, along with residential and hospitality will create an 18-hour business day and capture the patronage of the immediate trade area as well as creating a destination for the greater region.”

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