BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Plans to redevelop the old Carraway Hospital property are one step closer to reality after action by the Birmingham City Council during Tuesday’s meeting.
City leaders voted to re-zone the property to allow for a mixed-use development at the now vacant and blighted property.
“I was born in Carraway Hospital. I have worked at Carraway Hospital and so it has been painful to drive by the site all of these years and see it this way,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.
Woodfin and members of the city council worked on the project for more than a year. Residents were invited to speak Tuesday and have been included in numerous public meetings with developer Corporate Realty over the last 18 months.
“This is going to be a catalyst for development in the northern corridor in the city of Birmingham and so we are excited. It is a true partnership,” said Birmingham City Council President William Parker.
Neighbors living in Druid Hills and Norwood are excited about the possibilities. Single and multi-family housing, retail, and entertainment options are expected to be included.
“We don’t have a grocery store that is close nearby. We don’t have restaurants that we could walk to, with the development of the stadium and the entertainment district, this property would be a great asset to the city of Birmingham,” said Robert Gilmore.
Gilmore has lived in the area for around 40 years. While he understands the development may raise property taxes, he believes it will also raise the value.
“There are going to be some property tax increases and it might make it difficult to some of our neighbors, but I think the growth of the property value will greatly exceed the threat that will come,” said Gilmore.
Becky Carpenter, Development Project Manager for Corporate Realty, said the project will be completed in phases over several years.
“We are looking forward to closing by the end of the year, after which we will be able to move forward with the demolition,” said Carpenter.
Carpenter could not give an exact timeline for demolition but said they hope to move quickly. Some buildings may be re-used.
The former hospital’s iconic blue star will be preserved. Carpenter said it may be included in artwork for a public space or on a new building.
Neighbors like Gilmore are just hoping the property will once again bring new life into the neighborhood.
“I think it would be a tragedy if we didn’t do something to this hospital so again it would be a great asset to our neighborhood,” said Gilmore.
A portion of the revenue from the development will go towards Woodfin’s Neighborhood Revitalization Fund.
“The whole idea of the extension in this northern corridor is for neighborhood revitalization. The immediate impact that we have is for residents of Druid Hills and for Norwood as well,” Woodfin said.
Stay with CBS 42 for updates on the project.
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