Courtesy of Michael Mouron.
18th Street Development
A planned Capstone Properties development for two retail buildings at the corner of 18th Street South and 28th Avenue South.
Capstone Properties founder Michael Mouron is planning two new retail buildings at the corner of 18th Street South and 28th Avenue South, the current home of Hatfield Auto and Little Professor. What's really going to set it apart, he said, is the parking: 136 parking spaces just for the retail tenants and their customers.
Mouron recently closed on the Hatfield, Little Professor and Wolf Camera properties. While Wolf Camera still has four years left on its lease, with the option of a five-year renewal, Mouron is planning to demolish the other two buildings in spring 2017.
At one time, Mouron said he and the city of Homewood were in unofficial discussions for him to sell the rear portion of the property to build a parking deck. He was considering building a hotel facing 18th Street, in the price range of Aloft Hotels and including a restaurant and potential neighboring retail shops. However, Mouron said he didn't feel confident that enough spaces in the deck would be available to his customers to make the hotel idea work.
With that, he turned to another concept: two one-story retail buildings, totaling 17,600 square feet, with about six spaces for retailers. As someone who frequently eats in downtown Homewood, Mouron said he believes a large private parking lot will be critical to the development's success.
“We know all about hunting and pecking and jamming on your brakes if you see somebody with their backup lights on,” he said of current 18th Street parking.
In addition to the private parking lot, Mouron is planning to install greenery and a fountain in front of the larger building as well as sidewalk and rooftop dining areas for future restaurant tenants.
The city is already planning a streetscape improvement project on 18th Street to add sidewalks, landscaping and public on-street parking, which Mouron said will benefit his development.
While he didn't give specifics about the exterior appearance of the building, Mouron said he is planning a distinctive piece of vertical architecture for one building, in the same vein as Mountain Brook's clock tower in Crestline. With the development's central location for Homewood and Birmingham traffic, Mouron said he wants the building to be an "eye-catcher." He is working with CMH Architects on the building plans and said he envisions high ceilings, polished concrete floors and exposed ductwork in the interiors, much like the neighboring Holler & Dash.
Mouron is in talks with several possible tenants for both restaurant and shopping options, though he would not give details until leases are signed. He did say that due to the expense of purchasing the land and new construction, the tenants would likely be high-end. His discussions have included both large chains and local shops.
“I think Homewood has not had as many of regional or national tenants because of the lack of dedicated parking. So I think we might have that opportunity. But at the same time, there’s been some very successful operators in Homewood with whom we’ve spoken about relocating here,” Mouron said.
Mouron is expecting construction to take roughly 14 months, which would set its opening in summer 2018. More details about the project will be available as leases are signed.