Birmingham City Council

Ensley’s Ramsay-McCormack Building to be Razed, Replaced

Ramsay-McCormack building in Ensley (Source: City of Birmingham)

Ensley’s long-abandoned Ramsay-McCormack building will be demolished and replaced by a four-story, multi-use building, Mayor Randall Woodfin told the Birmingham City Council on Wednesday.

An assessment by commercial construction firm Stewart/Perry revealed numerous structural problems in the 10-story, city-owned office building, which has been vacant since 1986.

“As hard as we have tried and wanted to go with the building in its current form, based on an assessment by third-party professionals and their rendering and submission to us, we can’t move forward,” Woodfin said. “We need to reconfigure the building.”

Last October, the city allocated $4 million for a rehabilitation of the Ramsay-McCormack building. Woodfin’s predecessor, William Bell, had announced in 2016 plans for a $40 million renovation, but those were scrapped when Woodfin took office.

Stewart/Perry President and Founder Merrill Stewart told councilors that the building has numerous serious problems, including a flooded basement, deteriorating masonry and failing structural supports.

“After all of this work and study, we just came to the conclusion that the building probably needed to be deconstructed, with a new building in its place,” Stewart said.

The new building “will salvage as much of the existing building as we can,” Woodfin told councilors.

Work on the Ramsay-McCormack property could begin as early as this fall, Stewart said. In the interim, he suggested a monthly “open house,” where developers can “share with (residents) what we’ve been doing from a real-estate perspective and a construction perspective.”