Downtown Birmingham's Baker's Row nearing completion of second office space in former Merita factory

 

            

Where Merita used to make bread is now a trendy downtown Birmingham office development. 

Baker's Row - a partnership between LIV Development and Corporate Realty - is getting ready for its second tenant as the building nears completion of its $6.6 million redevelopment.

"When we first toured through it, we saw the bones of the building and we saw a lot of opportunity for offices," said Corporate Realty's Director of Development Brian Wolfe. "It's just something you look at and think, I can preserve a piece of this." 

Corporate Realty is using about 4,400 square feet and is planning to move later this month. It moved its headquarters off of First Avenue North to lease the space to Coyote Logistics

The project is 30,157 square feet and has a covered parking area. It has two remaining spaces to be leased: one to be used an office, and a 12,000-square-foot space that Corporate Realty is talking to potential tenants for use as a restaurant or office space. 

KPS Group, which was the project's architect, moved into the building in August, leasing about 7,500 square feet. The firm moved from the Steiner building on 1st Avenue. 

The Merita sign has been moved indoors, and some of the outlines of tools painted onto the walls of the factory have been left up. Much of the building has kept its industrial feel - the developers left the sawtooth glass window ceilings. Sawtooth windows are often found on older factories, and they feature glass angled to diffuse light but keep out summer heat. Several of the smaller offices in the KPS Group space have entrances modeled after the Sawtooth windows.

The building at the corner of First Avenue South and 14th Street was first built in the 1930s. 

"[Tenants] need to respect the integrity of the building, and leave the structure of the building intact," Wolfe said. 

The Merita Bakery closed in November 2012 and 90 workers lost their jobs in the wake of the bankruptcy of parent company Hostess Brands Inc. Hostess has since been purchased and re-launched by a new owner who did not buy and renew operations at the Birmingham bakery.

Murray Building Co. is the general contractor. Meredith Calhoun of Corporate Realty is handling leasing. Walter Schoel Engineering Co. is the civil engineer.

- By AL.com