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Business Briefs: Condos Approved for Railroad District, Yoga Shop Moving Downtown

Also happening in Birmingham: Lululemon and Francesca's have signed leases for the former Ann Taylor Loft location downtown.

Here's a snapshot of what's going on in the Birmingham business community this week:

New condo complex approved for Railroad District

The Birmingham Planning Board gave the green light to plans to build new condos, with first-floor retail space, at 401-451 S. Eton St.

At the board's Aug. 25 meeting, the board approved the final site plans for Iron Gate of Birmingham, a 2.5-story mixed-use building with 11 multi-family and live-work units.

The lot, which is currently vacant, is situated between Villa and Hazel on the east side of Eton, just south of and .

The building was originally part of the Eton Street Station development, also known as the Crosswinds Condominiums, approved by the planning board in 2005.

The current owner of the building has since withdrawn from the condominium association and will be developing a building that mixes retail and residential with a different look from the current condos in the area.

According to Planning Director Jana Ecker, the new development fits with the intent of the city's Eton Road Corridor Plan, which looks to foster an eclectic mix of buildings in the city's former warehouse district, now known as the Railroad District.

Planning board members had nothing but good things to say about the project. "I think you've done a beautiful job here," board member Berk Koseck said. "You've thought it out well."

"Welcome to the neighborhood," added board member Gillan Lazar.

Groundbreaking for the development will take place this fall, with an opening scheduled for fall 2013.

Yoga, women's clothing shop set to open in downtown Birmingham

Two visible downtown vacancies may soon to be filled.

According to a report in Downtown Birmingham/Bloomfield, Lululemon Athletica has signed a lease for the former Ann Taylor Loft location at 101 S. Old Woodward. The site has been .

Lululemon sells yoga, running and activewear for women and men. Lululemon also has a location at the Somerset Collection in Troy.

Meanwhile, Francesca's has signed a lease for the smaller retail space at the former Ann Taylor Loft location. Francesca's, a nation-wide women's boutique, sells clothing, jewelry and accessories.

"We're very excited to have Lululemon moving downtown later this year," Birmingham's Principal Shopping District Director John Heiney told Patch. "They're a top retailer in the industry right now and this is just the kind of store that we think should be coming to Birmingham."

According to Heiney, Lululemon coming to Birmingham is a direct result of the work completed by Birmingham's retail consultant, Julie Fielder. Heiney said Fielder began working with the building's owner, Ted Fuller, months before Ann Taylor Loft left at the beginning of the year.

"Their cooperation allowed us to basically identify this opportunity," Heiney said. "Ann Taylor closed in January and this is supposed to open later this year. In commercial real estate, that's a pretty good turnaround time."

Both stores look to be open by late 2012, Heiney said.

Bistro owners say they're moving 'full-speed ahead'

One of Birmingham's newest bistro concepts for 2012 may be moving forward after several months of delay.

Market, a Mediterranean-style neighborhood bistro, was by the Birmingham City Commission, receiving one of two bistro licenses the city issues each year.

However, after months of inaction at the site, Planning Director Jana Ecker said development could be on the way. Ecker said restaurant's owners — the same group that manages across the street — indicated in a recent email that they're moving "full-speed ahead" on the project.

Ecker said the group finally received the financing they needed for the project, and the windows of 474 N. Old Woodward are now papered to block construction.

Upcoming Events:

  • Ribbon-cutting: 4-5 p.m. Aug. 1,
  • Chamber 411: 8-9:30 a.m. Aug. 3,
  • Ribbon-cutting: 4-5 p.m. Aug. 9,
  • Business After Hours: 5:30-7 p.m. Aug. 13, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
  • Ribbon-cutting: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Aug. 22,
  • Back to School Breakfast: 8-9:30 a.m. Aug. 29,
  • Vine and Dine: 6-9 p.m. Sept. 5,
Rita Mattmiller August 03, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Just what Birmingham needs another women's accessories store and a national chain one hello!! Why is this city continue to fill its spaces with accessories stores. How about something unique and diversified!!! :(

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