HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) – The once prosperous Brookwood Village Shopping Center was purchased by two companies, Fairway Investments of Birmingham and Pope & Land Real Estate, for $21 million dollars last week. The purchase also includes the adjoining retail center where Fresh Market is located. The purchase does not include Target, Macy’s, Grill 29, or the office building.
It isn’t clear what the plans are for the property, but the news of the purchase has both city leaders and community members excited. Many in the area would argue the shopping center has needed an upgrade for some time.
“I just believe that atmosphere feels stale when I go over there,” resident Lucy Sullivan said.
Though the mall itself has been declining for years, Homewood City Councilwoman Jennifer Andress says her constituents still get plenty of use from the property.
“We are very active users of this property,” Andress said.
Especially when it comes to Shades Creek, where plenty of people are out riding bikes, running, or walking their dogs.
“It’s nice. It’s friendly. It’s beautiful,” Larry Nichols of Vestavia Hills said.
“So, it’s kind of just a convenient way to get outside and walk the dog,” Mary Lubar said.
Which is why Andress believes the companies who bought the property should invest more toward the outdoors, especially with Shades Creek and the Jemison Trail in Mountain Brook right by each other.
“So a reimagined Shades Creek to me sounds like they’re going to put it back in it’s natural creek bed and use the natural resources of the property to enhance what they are developing. Which I think is a win, win,” Andress said.
People like Lubar agree with Councilwoman Andress.
“Because the nature aspect is smart. It would get people outside and walking,” Lubar said.
Both city leaders and community members believe the once prosperous mall can be a place that can thrive again.
“Keep people coming. Give them a reason to come,” Nichols said.
Andress says the next step in the process is for any plans for the site to be presented to the planning commission, then to the city council. She says there will be public hearings on any proposed plan.
Both companies released this joint statement about the purchase:
Fairway Investments and Pope & Land Real Estate are pleased to announce the acquisition of The Brookwood Village Mall located between the Mountain Brook and Homewood communities in Birmingham. The acquisition also included the adjoining Fresh Market anchored retail center.Press Release August 2021
“We are excited to acquire this iconic Birmingham asset which is across the street from our Fairway office. We are looking forward to working with the cities of Mountain Brook and Homewood to try to transform the struggling mall into something more appropriate and representative of the communities it serves. A lot of work lies ahead which is why we have chosen to partner with Pope and Land Real Estate. Fairway and Pope and Land have been working together for more than 20 years to develop and enhance commercial real estate through the Southeast. Pope and Land is best in class in solving complicated real estate. We look forward to working with them and our other partners to try to unlock Brookwood Village’s true potential” said Sims Garrison, COO of Fairway Investments.
Like many of its peers throughout the country, Brookwood Village was once a vibrant, enclosed shopping destination featuring the best names in retail. In recent years the Mall had steadily begun to decline but its demise was accelerated by the Pandemic which has resulted in the substantial vacancy that exists today. While the enclosed mall format has become less popular, the location, demographics, accessibility, and prominence of the site provide numerous opportunities for enhancement or redevelopment.
“The unique and irreplaceable dynamics of the Brookwood Village property and our longstanding relationship with Fairway Investments are the reasons that Pope & Land chose this acquisition as our first venture in Alabama. We are confident that the path forward will include some way to leverage the impressive location, accessibility and demographics and a potential opportunity to create a central gathering space and integrate it with a re-imagined Shades Creek,” said Larry Kelly, CEO and Vice Chairman of Atlanta-based Pope & Land Real Estate.
Fairway and Pope & Land will lead the development team which currently includes architectural and planning services provided by Goodwyn Mills Cawood, DAG Architects, and numerous other consultants. No announcement has been made yet regarding the team’s plans for the property or their timing for the repositioning or redevelopment.