More leases cooking at Parkside's Bakers Row


Editor's Note: This story is part of a series taking a closer look at our 2015 Commercial Real Estate Deals of the Year. Today, we're looking at Bakers Row.

Just a few years ago, the Merita Bakery property was one of the most coveted lots in Birmingham.

Initially pitched as a site for a downtown ballpark, the site became a prime piece of real estate due to its proximity to Railroad Park and Regions Field – two assets that have become catalysts for downtown's growth.

Today, the former bakery – which operated from the 1940s until it closed in 2013 following the Hostess bankruptcy – is on the verge of reaching its full potential.

LIV Development partnered with Corporate Realty for a $6.6 million adaptive re-use project to transform the property into Bakers Row, which has more than 30,000 square feet of space. Renovations are still ongoing for about 13,200 square feet. Murray Building Co. is the contractor.

Corporate Realty and KPS Group, which was the architect on the project, were the first tenants to move in.

Corporate Realty's Meredith Ray Calhoun, who is handling leasing, said leases for two additional office tenants are out for review.

"The building will soon be fully leased," she said.

Securing more office tenants for the Parkside area is seen as important by many commercial real estate brokers, especially those trying to secure additional restaurants and retailers in the district. Experts say Parkside, and downtown as a whole, needs to continue increasing its critical mass of employees.

Corporate Realty's Robert Simon said he hopes the project is a catalyst for similar redevelopments.

"These developments help people and investors see beyond the façade of a building and promote further restoration of the existing inventory of buildings in the area," he said. "By showing that some building can be adaptively re-used and still be leased at competitive rates, it should encourage the CRE community to think positively about adaptive re-use when feasible."

-by BBJ