The Empire building in downtown Birmingham, Alabama was constructed in 1909. After completion the 16-story Classical Revival style skyscraper became the tallest building in Alabama. The exterior was covered in molded terra-cotta with pink granite columns showcasing the 1st ave entrance. Four years later the American Trust and Savings building across the street took the “tallest building in Alabama” title. These two buildings along with the Brown Marx Tower and the John Hand were proclaimed the “Heaviest Corner on Earth.” Today it’s still the most prominent corner downtown.
A wrought iron awning overhangs the entrance at 1928 1st Avenue. Originally a drug store occupied the ground floor with offices and businesses on the upper floors.
The Empire building was sold in 1964. After a year long remodel the building reopened with City National Bank occupying the ground floor space.
In 1982 the Empire building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Dusty granite-lined walls and iron pendant chandeliers adorn the ground floor lobby.
The view looking up through the decaying lobby staircase.
The Empire building is one of the most ornate historic buildings in Birmingham.
A terra-cotta cornice wraps around the entire top of the Empire building with a prominent E on display.
Overlooking the city sits a half face moon cracked and chipped.
After sitting vacant for 3 years the Empire building was purchased by investors in 2012.
The $27 million renovation will revamp the 107 year old building into the 5-star boutique Empire Hotel featuring 117 guest rooms, a restaurant, and rooftop bar.
The Empire Hotel is slated to open Summer 2016.