Cool space

Photography by Edward Badham

What was once a commercial bakery has been transformed into a place where economic development deals are being baked into a recipe for a more prosperous Alabama. The new home of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama is in the rechristened Bakers Row, the old Merita Bakery property. The white brick building stands just across from Railroad Park and Regions Park, ground zero for the startling rebirth of this part of downtown Birmingham.

“In its new location, EDPA has a new look that goes beyond our new office building,” says Steve Spencer, a long-time Alabama Power executive who was named president of the organization back in February. “EDPA went through a total brand evolution, including our logo. We chose this location because it is an excellent example of the vibrant growth that is occurring all over the state of Alabama, from Huntsville to Montgomery to Mobile to places in between.”

The prime attention-getter in the new space is the EDPA Digital Video Display. This 320-square-feet video display is one of a kind in Alabama. The video display is an important part of how EDPA markets Alabama, highlighting what makes the state a great location for growing a business. The videos are filled with footage of “Did You Know?” information about Alabama, focusing on automotive, aerospace, research, business, and innovation.

“We have already gathered a considerable amount of video content and are encouraging companies and communities to help us build a larger and more dynamic content library,” Spencer says.

The space is perfect for hosting economic development prospects who are considering Alabama as a business location. “They enjoy visiting the EDPA offices and meeting in our boardroom that looks across the street at Regions Field and Railroad Park. This punctuates the diversity, growth and success that has occurred and continues to occur in Alabama,” Spencer says.

Large windows flood the offices with light and the open, airy design of the space is both modern and classic. The video wall as well as a large conference room with additional video displays dominates the front part of the office.

Merita operated a commercial bakery in this space from the 1930s until the company shuttered it in 2013. A partnership between LIV Development and Corporate Realty brought the building back to life; KPS Group was the project architect.. The investment for the adaptive re-use was $6.6 million. The 30,157 square-foot building is 100 percent leased.