BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Birmingham has begun its efforts to revitalize the business district in Ensley by demolishing the Ramsay-McCormack Building Tuesday evening.
The building had previously laid vacant for 38 years before the city agreed to a contract with Ensley District Developers (EDD) back in October 2020.
WATCH THE DEMOLITION DOWN BELOW:
The 10-story building was taken down after materials were salvaged from the building. These saved materials will be used to help construct the new five-story, 30,000 square foot building.
Ensley business owners and residents went by the old building Tuesday and watched the final moments of the Ramsay-McCormack legacy. Some people think the change will be good for the community, but others believe the building should still be standing.
“Out with the old and in with the new,” Attorney Antonio Spurling said.
Brian K Rice with the Ensley Business Alliance says whenever someone thought about Downtown Ensley, they thought about the Ramsay McCormick Building.
“Everybody who knows Ensley remembers that star that you could see at Ensley Highlands. You could see it from downtown Birmingham,” Rice said.
Rice was taking photos and videos of the building in it’s final moments.
“To me, this is not going to happen again. This building is a true landmark to the entire western area of Birmingham,” Rice said.
Spurling is with the Ensley Revitalization Committee. He says this project will benefit the area.
“There will be a significant investment in that community that the western section of Birmingham has not seen in the last 40 years,” Spurling said.
Spurling says the city of Birmingham has neglected the property for decades and that this project is what’s best for it.
“There are court rulings from judges that have assessed this as blight that adversely affected property values in that area,” Spurling said.
Rice disagrees with the idea.
“I think structurally, everything about that building was sound,” Rice said.
But Rice is embracing the change coming to the area, but he believes those building into the future should be held accountable.
“So, as a community, we have to figure out the best way to support the development forward,” Rice said.
The project is expected to be completed near the end of 2022. You can read more about the city’s plans for revitalization by clicking here.