By Hanno van der Bijl – Birmingham Business Journal
Even though the office market continues to face uncertainty as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Bayer Properties is moving forward with an adaptive reuse project along Rotary Trail.
The Birmingham-based company is joining forces with a new commercial real estate firm in town to lease space at The Hardwick.
Magic City CRE veteran Meredith Calhoun recently launched Tessa Commercial Real Estate and will oversee office leasing as one of the new firm’s first projects.
“I am thrilled to join forces with Bayer Properties on The Hardwick, a truly cutting-edge office offering in the Birmingham market, supporting our city’s ongoing pursuit of top-tier companies and talent,” Calhoun said. “We have a unique opportunity to meet the needs of the worker and the employer of the future with this project. Bayer’s team is re-imagining the mixed-use environment and focusing on creating a space that will meet the changing office needs of our business and tech communities.” Calhoun co-founded Practice Works, a co-working business in Birmingham, a couple years ago and held executive roles at Corporate Realty before that.
“With a strong reputation in commercial real estate and knack for working directly and efficiently with developers and tenants, Meredith will be invaluable to our team as we transform The Hardwick into a first-of-its-kind offering for the city of Birmingham and surrounding markets,” said Libby Lassiter, president of Bayer Properties. “This project provides us with the opportunity to create quite a unique office and retail environment that does not exist in the market today.”
Bayer Properties is also working with several other local companies, including Williams Blackstock Architects, Stewart Perry Construction, Schoel Engineering, and Schneider Historic Preservation. Construction is expected to start summer next year.
As part of the project, Bayer is also exploring several options for making the development a post-Covid office product with touchless technology at the elevators and entryways and a filtering HVAC system. The firm is also exploring a WELL Health-Safety Rating, a third-party verified rating for all facility types by the International WELL Building Institute in New York.
Located on the eastern end of the Rotary Trail in the Automotive Historic District, The Hardwick is an adaptive-reuse project of a 110-year-old former steel fabrication plant. Bayer Properties has the property under contract, and if the project moves forward, the development will feature 62,000 square feet of build-to-suit Class A office space along with three ground-level retail and restaurant spaces. The project will incorporate light wells throughout the building.
Amenities will include an indoor and outdoor plaza on the first floor and an outdoor rooftop terrace along with bike lockers, showers, lounge area, on-site parking, and electric car charging stations.
Bayer is applying for federal and state historic tax credits and also plans to raise Opportunity Zone equity to help finance the project.
Situated between Parkside and Pepper Place on the Rotary Trail, the development will benefit from close proximity to the city center as well as the Red Mountain Expressway.
It is one of several new projects that is expected to continue the transformation of the area and further connect redevelopment hotspots in Birmingham.