By KATIE STEWART
A $15.5 million upscale apartment project plans to spark redevelopment at Valley Avenue and connect Vulcan Park with downtown Homewood.
The 135-unit apartment complex will replace outdated units in hopes of revamping the area.
“The homes currently in existence are older and cannot truly be upgraded,” said Sam Scott, Ward 1, Place 2 council member. “This new complex will put a positive spin on the area because it will create activity, which will breed interest, which is great as a whole for the Homewood area.”
The yet-to-be-named development is a joint effort by Landology and The Dobbins Group. It will mainly offer one- and two-bedroom apartments, with some three bedrooms. Rents will range from $875 to $1,400 per month.
The new development will provide connectivity to Vulcan Park and downtown Homewood that has not been in existence before. The developers are working with Homewood officials to create sidewalks, walkways and greenways from the apartment community to SOHO and downtown Homewood.
Bill Dobbins, president of The Dobbins Group, believes that the location is ideal for the target markets of young professionals and graduate students.
“The idea is that the apartment development will connect this side of downtown with Homewood,” Dobbins said. “It’s the absolute ideal living location because it’s central to both UAB and downtown, as well as to the shopping in Homewood.”
The developers’ goal is to provide a rentable option for people who want to live in Homewood because currently those options are slim.
“We’re trying to help people take advantage of all the amenities Homewood offers without feeling the need to purchase a home,” Dobbins said. “Eventually down the road if there is a need for condominium conversions, these were built to condominium specifications; however, right now the market isn’t asking for that.”
The complex will also offer a clubhouse, swimming pool, fitness center and a gated entrance as well as many unique “green” features. These include more than an acre of green space, electric car charging stations, rainwater collection for irrigation, environmentally friendly carpeting and paint, as well as neighborhood storm water management improvements.
“For this project we really wanted to focus on the green initiative,” Dobbins said. “We realize as developers that it’s a huge responsibility to be aware of when building a large complex.”
This new development will be substantially different from the older, lower-rent apartments currently located in the area. However, David Ball, principal of Landology, believes that it will truly affect the Homewood community in a positive way.
“The reality is that Homewood is great,” Ball said. “The goal is that this development allows more people to experience that.”
A groundbreaking date will be released once a building timeline is set in the near future, but developers could not currently release a date. The residents in the existing apartments are being given assistance to find other living arrangements of equal or better quality than their current living conditions.