Developer plans mixed use project for old Carraway Hospital site


A decade after Carraway Hospital died, there now are big plans to pump new life into the site.

The development team at Corporate Realty has the site under contract to buy. They held a public input meeting Tuesday night to gather community feedback during the master planning process.

The plan is to create a mixed-use development on the site. Ideas on the table include housing, retail, entertainment, medical even a hotel.

Naomi Grigsby lives just across the street from the old hospital. She can see that iconic blue star from her front porch.

“It was a landmark,” she explained. “It would throw light all down in my yard at night at that was very very inviting.”

But that once bright star now sits on top of what she calls an eye sore.

“It has really had a terrible impact on the community since it has been vacant,” Grigsby added.

Now Grigby and her neighbors are dreaming of new possibilities for the 50 acre site.

“Maybe some condos or condominiums, maybe some drug stores,’ Grigsby said. “…Eating areas and all that kind of stuff.”

That's feedback Corporate Realty's Brian Wolfe is looking for as he drafts the site's master plan.

He's been meeting with the community six months now.

“The consistent thing we’ve heard in the community is walkability which we’re a huge fan of,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe hopes construction can start in 2019.

“A lot of the structures have been very much vandalized so we’ll try our best to reuse some of the buildings, see if they work functionally,” he said. “…We try to adaptivly to reuse buildings when we can. If financially it doesn’t make any sense, it’s time to bring them down and start over.”

He believes the project will add to momentum in North Birmingham.

“With the interstate improvements, with the BJCC new stadium and arena reset and with Top Golf’s success in that area, we’re really excited about where it’s going and what it can be,” Wolfe explained. “We like to develop into momentum and that’s exactly what we’re doing here in Caraway.”

That’s a plan Grigsby hopes can spark even more development.

“I would just love to see if they could do anything to bring in the crowd and just bring it back to like it was 40 years ago, would be a landmark for the area,” she said.

Corporate Reality plans hold another community meeting in October to get more feedback before the master plan is finalized.

As for when some of this might be open to the public, Wolfe expects the first phase open in 2021, at the earliest.

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