Birmingham’s Southside skyline set for game-changing high-rise

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One of Birmingham’s largest announced apartment projects is about to get underway.

Harbert Realty Services recently announced that Birmingham-based BL Harbert International will build the Vesta apartment development at Highland Avenue and 14th Avenue South, overlooking the Five Points South area on the Southside.

“We’re basically ready to go,” said Harbert Realty Services Senior Vice President W. Dean Nix in an interview with the Alabama Center for Real Estate. “That just means they are finalizing things related to the contract. We fully anticipate getting started early this fall. I don’t know if that’s going to be September or October, but it’s trending that way.”

HRS partnered with Atlanta-based Cortland Partners on the project. Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart & Stewart designed the Vesta development.

The $53 million project will include a 17-story high-rise building and a five-story midrise building that will have 318 units, about 3,500 to 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and a rooftop pool, exercise facility, yoga and Pilates center, outdoor sun terrace and club lounge.

The 390,000-square-foot facility will include a 502-space parking deck.

The advantage of waiting

The project, which is beside Temple Beth-El, was announced in late 2013. Nix said CH Highland LLC (Harbert Realty and Cortland Partners) had control of the property for a couple of years but had not settled on what to put there.

“In the beginning, we didn’t know that multifamily was the thing to go there, but we went through that process and determined that multifamily would be the highest, best use. … Our product is basically the same as when we started and had the conceptual idea back in 2014 and 2015,” Nix said.

Nix said waiting for other announced projects, like the ones near Railroad Park and in the Lakeview district, to come online could have its advantages.

“There’s been quite a few announcements and there’s been quite a few developments that have opened and are leasing up,” Nix said. “Actually we think that may not be such a bad thing that we’ve been in a little bit of a delay, because we think those projects will be leased up, and by the time we’re done, which would be in the fall of ’18, that we’ll be in a good spot. Most all of those projects will be up and done, and we’ll be the new product on the block.”

New dining spot

Nix said the retail element on the ground floor of the facility will likely add at least one restaurant to the Five Points South area, which already boasts prominent establishments like Hot and Hot Fish Club and Highlands Bar and Grill. It will be located blocks from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which allows HRS to target young professionals.

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