Take a look at proposed six-story office building planned for Mobile Civic Center property

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:13 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - City staffers have weighed in favorably on a plan to construct a six-story office building that would consolidate area employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Mobile Civic Center property.

The building is slated for the southern part of the property, where Canal and Claiborne streets intersect. There also would be a 1,000-car parking garage for employees and the public.

The plan is before the Mobile Architectural Review Board. The board’s staff has made some recommendations but gives overall positive marks.

“Staff believes the proposed 6-story office building and related site improvements at the northwest corner of South Claiborne and Canal streets, in concept, would not impair the architectural or historic character of the surrounding district,” a city document reads. “Staff recommends approval of the application in concept, with full approval contingent on design changes and provision of materials information as outlined above.”

The Mobile Planning Commission next week will hold a public hearing on a rezoning proposal that could dramatically alter the existing Civic Center. District 2 City Councilman William Carroll told FOX10 News that he favors major development – as long as it respects the surrounding neighborhood.

“It’s not impervious to a commercial site, you know, from what it used to be years ago,” he said. “What I don’t want to happen is I don’t want the site to overpower Church Street East and a residential neighborhood next to it. That’s the most important thing. That property stayed vacant for so long and it has come back so strong that I would hate to see anything overpower it.”

The Architectural Review Board document includes several preliminary renderings for what the building might look like. According to the site plan, trees along Canal Street would have to be removed to comply with Corps of Engineers security requirements.

The mayor and council have grappled for several years over what to do with the Civic Center, an aging complex that is getting costlier to maintain. The Planning Commission public hearing is set for Thursday on the proposal to create a special district for the Civic Center site.

On Tuesday at 4 p.m., a council committee will hear a presentation from Populous Architects about two redevelopment options with the initial cost estimates. The firm also will show conceptual layouts of how the overall project could further develop based on approval of re-zoning the site.

“I’ve also been told that there may even be an estimated value of some of the renderings, too, so we might possibly know what we’re looking at,” Carroll said.

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