Originally developed in the late 19th century, the historic Lakeview District is named for an artificial lake and other attractions that defined the former Lakeview Park. The park contained the Lakeview Hotel and Pavilion, complete with a swimming pool, skating rink, bowling alley, and ball park that was home to the first Alabama-Auburn football game in 1893. Rolling hills and wooded countryside enhanced the landscape, and the fashionable residences of South Highlands, as well as an electric trolley constructed around 1895, surrounded the lake.
The present day Lakeview District bears few of these original attractions, but the area has continued to flourish throughout its varied history. The area grew during the late 1920s when depression-era Birmingham saw a need to diversify its economy from the steel industry. The Birmingham Kiwanis Club investigated the possibilities of future industrial development, stressing the need for industries that would provide employment for women, who made up only five percent of industrial wage earners in Birmingham at that time. This initiative, as well as the completion of the 24th Street viaduct in 1926, sparked further growth of the district, which soon became home to new businesses such as the Martin Biscuit Company and the Dr. Pepper Syrup Plant. The subsequent growth resulted in the North Lakeview Light Industrial District, featuring warehousing and light manufacturing.
The redevelopment by Sloss Real Estate of the Dr. Pepper Syrup Plant, Martin Biscuit building as well as other buildings in the area sparked the creation of the Lakeview Design District. This district is a catalytic nexus connecting the St. Vincent's Hospital campus, the Lakeview entertainment District, Sloss Furnaces National Historical Monument, the Railroad Park, University of Alabama at Birmingham and other Birmingham neighborhoods.
Pepper Place Design Complex
The Pepper Place Complex includes Pepper Place, the Martin Biscuit Building, and the Ferguson showroom and warehouse. Many other independent businesses have located in the area to enjoy the synergy of an emerging, vibrant design and entertainment district.
Formerly the Dr. Pepper Syrup Plant and Bottling Company, the Pepper Place Complex is a group of seven buildings totaling more than 227,000 square feet. After undergoing extensive renovation, the complex currently houses Birmingham's premier design center as well as the Farmers’ Market, the Terrific New Theater, restaurants, and numerous shops, galleries, and businesses. Sloss Real Estate Company and Cathy Sloss Crenshaw spearheaded this redevelopment and is responsible for leasing and managing the complex.
The focal point of Birmingham’s Lakeview Design District, the Pepper Place Complex is among Birmingham's 24 commercial revitalization districts that are subject to design review protection. This highly visible renovation project has been celebrated in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and a CNN television feature.
Sloss Real Estate Company
The Sloss family has been shaping the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama for over a century. Colonel James Withers Sloss founded the giant furnaces on First Avenue North in 1882, forging the Magic City’s future in iron and steel. Founded by A. Page Sloss in 1920, and later led by A. Page Sloss, Jr., the company remains a family business. Today, the Colonel’s great-great granddaughter serves as president of Sloss Real Estate, a collection of companies that continue to redefine the city’s future through a variety of urban renovation and construction projects.
“When you build a thing you cannot build that thing in isolation, but must also repair the world around it, so the larger world at that one place becomes more coherent, and more whole; and the thing which you make takes its place in the web of nature, as you make it.” ~ A Pattern Language
Sloss Real Estate is a company that believes the city of Birmingham itself serves as a touchstone for the entire metropolitan area, and works tirelessly to revitalize and enhance the city’s unique commercial districts.