A few years ago, CNN declared: “Warehouse conversions are sweeping the globe.”
This adaptive reuse strategy began in Birmingham long before that CNN report, with derelict older buildings being turned into exciting livable spaces that meet the ever-changing needs and aesthetics of the evolving city.
One of the latest projects in Birmingham’s warehouse renaissance is the aptly named Urban Supply, a redevelopment of historic buildings in the heart of Birmingham’s popular Parkside district. Urban Supply consists of about 100,000-square-feet of commercial space adjacent to Good People Brewing Company and is being developed by Birmingham-based Orchestra Partners.
“The overall project is part of a larger vision for Urban Supply, a two-block reimagined district that takes on a personality similar to its historical use – a supply district,” explains Senior Project Manager Matt Phillips of Dix.Hite + Partners, Inc.
Dix.Hite led a team of consultants through a visioning process to help Orchestra Partners realize the design opportunities as the district shifts to a vibrant commercial district, Phillips adds. Poole & Company Architects did the original space planning for the interior spaces and collaborated with the Dix.Hite team and Kimley-Horn to develop a masterplan for the district.
Phase 1 is called The Aisle, which was originally a service alley that is being developed into the heart of the district, Phillip says. It is a linear, pedestrian-focused spine that connects Twelfth Avenue to Regions Park designed to be a dynamic spot for food trucks and outdoor events. The Urban Supply project also includes a market center to bustle with restaurants, bars and food emporiums – all in keeping with the original function of the buildings as grocery warehouses.
In addition, Urban Supply will become the launching-off point for fitness, fitness-focused businesses and provide a gathering place for people with active lifestyles. Historic warehouses will be readapted for use as a fitness center to include retail and studio space designed around a locker room to be used by all tenants. Space designed for bicycle or running shops, a yoga studio and a traditional fitness facility. And room for a pop-up juice bar, snack areas or other health and fitness uses.
While there is no residential component to the Urban Supply project, there is a significant amount of residential construction taking place all around it, Phillip observes. “Urban Supply will become the place where people living and moving to the area will shop, dine and socialize.”
And, as he points out, the absence of residential space is actually true to the area’s historical use as a supply district for Birmingham.
The plan is designed to encourage social distancing with broad openings to the buildings so people can spread out. Phillips says the overarching concept encourages social distancing with much of the design focused around outdoor activities and connections.
Also involved with the Urban Supply project are Matt Shelby of Shelby Company as general contractor, traffic engineer Clark Bailey and civil engineer Clay Smith of Kimley-Horn and branding by Derick Belden of FRED Communication by Design.
Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Images Courtesy of DIX•HITE + Partners