Dre\’s Ramblings


Historic News building slated for demolition

This morning the city’s Design Review Committee narrowly approved demolition of the former home of the Birmingham News at 2200 4th Avenue North. The building will be removed to provide dedicated assigned parking for employees of Birmingham, Alabama’s daily newspaper. The parking will be fenced with brick piers, using trees and shrubs to edge the property. A compactor will be refaced with brick to match the design of the fence and the new home for the paper, located directly across the street.

During the presentation to the committee Hanson informed committee members that he had been able to acquire original drawings of the building as well as drawings that showed additional modifications to the 1917 structure. He also agreed to document the building’s exterior and interior using digital and traditional photography as well as video, submitting these items to the city’s archives. Hanson told those in attendance that efforts were made to transfer the entryway of the original structure to the new building, completed last year. Research led to that decision being scrapped after learning that what was believed to be stone was in fact terra cotta.

Hanson told the committee that it will take up to eleven months to complete the changes to the site. The project must still return to the committee for approval of its landscaping plan and to provide visuals of what the view will be with your back against the existing structure looking across the street. If you want to get some pictures of the old building for nostalgia, now’s the time to do it.

Enjoy the day!

Cheers

.old-bham-news1.jpg

Existing site plan

bhamnews1.jpg

Site plan after demolition

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7 Comments so far
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Can’t tell a building owner what to do, no matter how illogical the proposal. The building would have made for an ideal Jefferson County History Museum, but instead, judging by these drawings, it will be about 20 parking spaces more than they could have gotten by leaving the 1917 building and redeveloping the rest of the half-block as shown.

BhamWiki’s article about the building is here:
http://www.bhamwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=1917_Birmingham_News_building

Comment by Dystopos

Such an embarrassing decision. The ghosts of 1969 have visited Birmingham yet again. I find it hard not to take this move as a slap in the face of historical integrity especially when I consider the fact that BPA’s Deck 4 (with hundreds upon hundreds of parking spaces) sits less than 90 feet away from the present building.

Comment by Deon Gordon

Very sad especially since there probably won’t be a need for more parking spaces soon. I predict there won’t be a hard copy of the paper in the next decade or so and most of the work employees will do will be online and can be done off site.

Comment by Melinda

I hate to see the building go like the old
train terminal did. That was really a loss
for Birmingham.

Comment by Barb

Dre,

Took your Bham News building challenge: http://kennysmith.org/blog/2007_03_01_blog_archive.html#6499994407192166724

Comment by Kenny

[…] being taken down an additional 3 feet to accommodate the installation of the surface lot. Based on statements made during their presentation to the committee in early March, the demolition process should take approximately 11 […]

Pingback by News building demolition approved : The Terminal

just read about this issue on the National Trust website and i must say, i’m not surprised. I was born and raised in Birmingham and left in december to persue my education in historic preservation. I had grown so tired of Birmingham’s history of ingnoring advice for how to promote the city in a positive way, including preservation efforts. I took an amazing class at UAB called History and Development of Birmingham. It really reveals a tragic timeline of arrogance, even indifference to the fact that change is inevitable and that at some point the old guard has to make room for the new. A Newspaper is supposed to be a community advocate by reporting the things that are important to it’s citizens. From it’s beginning, the News has chosen to cover and promote those things that promote the social and financial wellbeing of it’s owners and it’s owners friends who own everything in the city but live over the mountain. I hate to be a hater, but i doubt this pattern will ever change. It will be a sad day when their hideous new building stands empty accross the street from a parking lot that used to be a wonderful, useful, historic structure. RIP

Comment by paul




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