Shopping Center Business

MAY 2017

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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BAYER 314 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2017 B irmingham, Alabama-based Bayer Properties has two projects open- ing this year that are changing markets and providing new experiences for tourists and residents. Bayer has con- sistently broken ground with its projects. Its iconic project, The Summit in Birming- ham, brought lifestyle and upscale retail along with entertainment to a starved market when it opened in 1997. Now, the company is breaking new ground with its redevelopment of a former department store in downtown Birmingham and The Summit at Fritz Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. In Birmingham, Bayer has redeveloped the historic The Pizitz, a mixed-use build- ing that resides inside a restored 1920s-era department store, into modern day resi- dences and creative co-working office space with a bustling food hall below. The $70 million renovation and redevelop- ment, where every inch of the terra cotta exterior was hand-polished to its original grandeur, took two years to complete. Bayer Properties sought out local and regional food purveyors to bring unique concepts that would offer new experienc- es and cuisines. In 2000, the mayor of Birmingham at the time, Richard Arrington, asked Bayer Properties to do a study to look at ways the city could encourage development in its downtown district. At the time, Bir- mingham suffered from the same malaise that many mid-size cities do — while much office space remained downtown, enter- tainment, dining and retail had moved to the suburbs. A result of the study was the discovery that ownership of downtown buildings was so fractured that it was dif- ficult to create a cohesive marketing effort or create a critical mass of real estate to control a block of space. Bayer Properties knew that The Pizitz building sat on the majority of a city block, plus had a large parking deck attached — and was for sale. In 2013, Bayer began an ambitious plan to develop the ground floor into The Pizitz Food Hall, which in- cludes retail and entertainment space; of- fice space that occupies the mezzanine of The Pizitz, marrying the historic architec- tural elements of the former department store with the latest in technology and modern co-working space design; and six floors above that contain 143 modern apartments. On the ground floor, the retail space has 20 tenants in small format stores. "The idea was 17 years in the making," says Jeffrey Bayer, CEO of Bayer Proper- ties. "We didn't know that we would be developing a food hall with retail 17 years ago. The retail, dining and entertainment component of The Pizitz Food Hall is approximately 20,000 square feet. Warby Parker is one of the retailers to take space in The Pizitz Food Hall, recognizing a market from its online orders. It is the first Alabama location for the eyewear retailer. Local printer and design firm Yellowham- mer Creative — which also assisted with the branding of the food hall — has taken retail space to sell t-shirts, prints and other graphically-inspired goods. Mostly local and regional tenants occupy The Pizitz Bringing Life To Existing Markets With two new projects online this year, Bayer Properties is livening up Birmingham, Alabama, and Lexington, Kentucky. Randall Shearin The Pizitz Building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, once housed a department store. Today, the building is home to a thriving food hall, co-working office space and luxury residential apartments.

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