Nov. 9, 2017 — The Birmingham City Council’s Economic Development, Budget and Finance Committee voted Monday to sell 24 vacant lots in Belview Heights to developer RD Squared, LLC, for $1 per lot. RD Squared will develop the lots, along with five other previously purchased lots — collectively the former site of the Camellia Terrace Apartments — into single-family housing units.
The meeting was attended by committee members Valerie Abbott, Jay Roberson and Darrell O’Quinn, as well as by Councilors Steven Hoyt and Sheila Tyson. Immediately after the meeting concluded, District 4 Councilor William Parker entered the room asking, “Did I miss it?”
The redevelopment agreement is intended to raise property values in the area. Chris Thomas, who spoke for RD Squared during the committee meeting, said that the value of existing houses in the area, most of which were built in the 1950s and ‘60s, was about $105,000. The new homes, Thomas said, would range in value from $130,000 to $175,000.
“The goal of this project … is to induce the market and to stimulate other investors to (redevelop) abandoned homes, or even existing homeowners to improve their homes,” Thomas said. He added that he planned to offer a homeownership course to buyers to encourage a “comprehensive approach to neighborhood development.”
Thomas said his initial timeline for the development was 24 months — with 14 houses completed in the first year and 15 in the second. Ground has been broken on the five originally purchased properties, Thomas said, with the foundation laid on one of them.
Several of the councilors present at the meeting spoke of their excitement for the project. “I’m glad to see we’re back moving on these houses,” Hoyt said.