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Birmingham advances first research and development corridor at Southtown site

The Southtown Court site in Birmingham is preparing to become a mixed-use community built in with plans for retail spaces, residential units, and a state-of-the-art biotechnology incubator that will benefit the research and medical workforce across the state. Edgehill at Southtown Court has the green light to move forward with commercial plans for the property as of this week.

A newly-signed ground lease gives Southside Development Company the authority to move forward with construction in the blocks between 24th Street and the Red Mountain Expressway. The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District will continue to own the property, while private developers will have a long term ground lease to develop the site.

The first commercial building is expected to be a 150,000-square-foot building at the corner of University Boulevard and 24th Street that will house an incubator for biotech businesses along with the necessary supporting infrastructure including roads, utilities, and parking.

This will be the first part of developing the Birmingham Biomedical Innovation Corridor, which is a key component of the plans moving forward for Edgehill at Southtown Court.

The property will become the state’s first Research and Development Corridor, made possible by state lawmakers under the workforce and economic development package of legislation passed earlier this year. The biotech center will support workforce needs in research facilities across the state. The broader research corridor framework was designed to benefit Birmingham as well as other cities across Alabama.

RELATED: Waggoner, Smitherman: Alabama needs a biotech training center to support a vital, growing industry

The site is ultimately expected to be home to about 800,000 square feet of commercial space for the biomedical innovation corridor, with about half of that devoted to research and development facilities and the remainder available for innovation partners and medical office space. Other plans for the site include 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 150-200-room hotel, and about 250 residential apartment units.

“Our vision is to build on current assets in the community, including key medical and research institutions,” said Robert Simon, CEO of Corporate Realty, which is one of the companies that make up Southside Development. “The lease is the first step in bringing to life a vibrant, multi-dimensional community that not only offers inclusive housing but also includes places to work, shop, eat, relax and play.”

Already, two housing complexes are under construction west of 24th Street, and they will serve many of the residents who lived in Southtown Court. BREC Development, a Birmingham-based firm, expects to have the 60-unit family building open in fall of this year.

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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