City Center Partners
Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema
The Birmingham Candy Company
Eli’s Jerusalem Grill
Juiced Up Essentials
The Louis Bar
Piper & Leaf: Artisan Tea Co.
Pho Pho Vietnamese
Opened in 1923, the Pizitz Department Store building served as a fixture in the downtown Birmingham, Alabama commercial scene until its doors closed in 1988. Part of the Downtown Birmingham Retail and Theater Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places, The Pizitz has found new life as a mixed-use development revitalizing downtown Birmingham.
For 15 years, there were plans for the rehabilitation of the historic Pizitz Department Store, but the scale of the project and the 2008 recession led to difficult financing and stalling of the project. To push the project forward, sponsors Bayer Properties were heavily involved in the establishment of the first Alabama state historic tax credit program. The $70 million project would not have been possible without both state and federal historic tax credits, which helped reinvigorate a 15-year stagnant investment. The Pizitz now offers a multitude of community-focused spaces, a Food Hall, and market-rate apartments.
While The Pizitz was able to serve the Birmingham community for over sixty years at its location on 19th Street, eventually a focus on suburban development forced it to close. Bayer Properties purchased the building in 2000, with hopes of finding a motivated occupant for the large, centrally located historic structure. In 2013, an opportunity arose for Bayer Properties to partner with Wisznia Architecture + Development, to transform the interior of the building into a mix of retail space, a Food Hall, coworking office space, market-rate apartments, and a community movie theater.
Working with a large team, the partnership was able to faithfully restore the terra cotta-clad exterior of The Pizitz building and adapt the interior to house new, community-centered uses. The building achieved LEED Certification by retaining 75 percent of the original structure of the building and recycling 17 percent of building materials and 13.5 percent of building content. The Pizitz also qualified for LEED certification through water savings within the building, sustainable material selection, indoor environmental quality, and energy efficiency. The preservation work at The Pizitz demonstrates the ability for historic structures to meet modern sustainability ideals without losing its historic character.
The building now houses multiple new uses with a focus on the local community, including a 20,000 square foot food hall, coworking office space, a movie theater, and apartments. The Pizitz Food Hall houses a restaurant, fourteen food stalls, two retail shops, and a central bar. The Pizitz also houses 114 apartments to combat the low inventory of housing opportunities in downtown Birmingham.
On the first-floor mezzanine of The Pizitz, Forge offers co-working space that contains offices, shared working space, and conference rooms. Forge allows local businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups flexible work space without having to pay for permanent, costly office space which draws more new talent to downtown Birmingham. The lower level of The Pizitz features Sidewalk, a Birmingham nonprofit that has dedicated itself to bringing independent movies to Birmingham since 1999.
ULI Alabama | 2019 Development of Excellence
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