This season, Regions Field—home of the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League)—will have a more bustling backdrop, thanks to the opening of a new luxury apartment building.
Located directly behind the left field wall, The Venue at the Ballpark is a six-story building that aims to attract new residents to Birmingham. With 236 units, the development by the Dallas-based University House Communities is set to open in early May, representing further transformation in a section of Birmingham that is already undergoing considerable change.
“This was a great partnership with the City of Birmingham, specifically the mayor’s office, as well as the Birmingham Barons,” said Susan Lam, development manager for University House Communities. “Together we basically helped regentrify this area.”
While this section of Birmingham received a boost when Regions Field opened in 2013, the area offers much more than the ballpark. Among the other highlights are Railroad Park—a sprawling 19-acre public space that provides numerous activities and excellent views of the area—a medical campus from the University of Alabama Birmingham, the Good People Brewing Company, and numerous shops and restaurants, all of which are within walking distance from The Venue. “This area is revitalizing as an urban, walking atmosphere,” said Lam.
Residents of The Venue will enjoy an unobstructed look at Regions Field. The fourth-floor pool/courtyard area offers a great perspective, as do the back-side units that face the ballpark. For another view there is the Premier Sky Lounge, a party area that is open to all residents.
An initial glimpse at the back of The Venue leaves a more modern impression when it comes to design, but the building features some nods to Regions Field’s classic look. At various points of the building—most noticeably in the front along 16th street—there are elements of brick and steel that are similar to what is featured not only at Regions Field, but also at some of the newer construction around the ballpark. This allows the building to seamlessly fit into the area, making it a natural fit for the surrounding development.
Besides the views of Regions Field, The Venue has another unique component that furthers its connection to baseball. The building is located next to the Negro Southern League Museum, which opened last summer. In fact, The Venue and the museum will share spaces within the apartment building’s parking garage.
The Venue is the latest addition to the trend of apartment buildings that are being constructed behind ballparks. This season will also mark the opening of The Outfield Apartments, a building that overlooks Cooley Law School Field, home of the Lansing Lugnuts (Low A; Midwest League). Another notable example is The Harrison, an apartment complex known for its views of the Fort Wayne Tincaps’ (Low A; Midwest League) Parkview Field.
The Venue at the Ballpark will only add to the transformation that is taking place around Regions Field. With its views of the ballpark and proximity to surrounding amenities, it will put residents on the cusp of the action and advance the rapid change that is unfolding in Birmingham.
All photos by Zach Spedden.