1920s department store renovation earns LEED certification

1920s department store renovation earns LEED certification

Photos courtesy of KPS Group.

The Pizitz, a former 1920’s department store that sat vacant for nearly three decades, was recently transformed into a vibrant 251,210-square-foot mixed-use development in the heart of the theatre district in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Bayer Properties opened the multifamily component of The Pizitz to the public in December 2016, followed by the opening of the Food Hall in February 2017. After a $70 million renovation, the building is now home to 143 multifamily residences featuring 29 affordable units, the first food hall in Alabama, two retailers including first-to-market Warby Parker and Forge, a modern co-working office space.

To preserve the historical integrity of the building the original terracotta façade was restored. All windows were replaced in keeping with the original profiles and in compliance with National Park Service guidelines to achieve Historic Tax Credits. Specialists were called to work on stabilizing and restoring the terracotta skin and copings. New street-level storefront improvements and a new public lobby provide an image in character with the building's original style.

The redevelopment included repurposing the parking deck for the Pizitz, adding low-flow water fixtures, creating an open-air atrium to allow for sunlight and recycling 17 percent of building materials and 13.5 percent of the building content, which diverted 65 percent of construction waste from a landfill.

The Pizitz achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“Market transformation happens one building at a time. The Pizitz project understands the value of LEED and has exemplified extraordinary leadership in reshaping their sector,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “The success of LEED is due to the partnership and support of those committed to advancing green building and sustainability. Each new LEED certification is one step closer to revolutionizing the environment in which live, work and play.”

LEED credits

The Pizitz achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

By reusing a well-known existing building instead of developing a new structure from the ground-up, the team was able to incorporate various design and construction aspects to meet LEED qualifications:

Sustainable sites

 Well-known existing building repurposed and existing parking structure revitalized

Water efficiency Incorporated low-flow fixtures to reduce domestic water consumption

Energy & atmosphere

Added an open-air atrium to allow daylight to pour into all units, reducing dependence for artificial lighting

Incorporated new thermally efficient window units, building and roof insulation

Materials & resources

Recycled 17 percent of building materials and 13.5 percent of building content

Diverted 65 percent of construction waste from landfill

Indoor environmental quality

Used low-VOC emitting stains, paints, carpet adhesives

Innovation in design

Kept existing high ceilings, reused original flooring where appropriate, restored the original terracotta façade

"The Pizitz has been a treasured icon in Birmingham for nearly a century, and our team is honored to have been involved in the renovation of the building which has already seen great success since its re-opening last year," said Gray Plosser, principal and president of KPS Group, Inc., the architecture firm whose responsibilities for the project included securing the LEED certification. "Obtaining LEED certification is a significant honor that marks the culmination of this project, and we look forward to seeing the impact the development will have on the local economy."


Topics: Architectural Firms, Certifications, Energy Saving Products, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Office Buildings, Thermal Envelope - Building Envelope



Gary Wollenhaupt
Gary Wollenhaupt is an experienced writer and editor, with a background as a daily newspaper reporter as well as corporate and agency public relations and marketing. He is constantly looking for affordable green upgrades to make to his home in eastern Kentucky. wwwView Gary Wollenhaupt's profile on LinkedIn

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