The Brown Marx Building in downtown Birmingham, the second oldest pillar of Birmingham’s “Heaviest Corner on Earth,” which was once home to the largest buildings in the South, may soon become a hotel.
According to the Commercial Observer, the building’s current owners, Ascent Hospitality, secured $49.8 million from Atlanta-based Peachtree Group to build a 338-room Marriott AC and Element hotel. This will include nearly 150 extended-stay rooms and will target business travelers.
The Brown Marx Building, located on the corner of Birmingham 20th Street and 1st Avenue, was constructed in 1906 on the National Bank of Birmingham site according to designs by William Weston.
It was named after two early tenants: Otto Marx of Marx & Company and Eugene L. Brown of Brown Brothers.
The building was one of four skyscrapers on the intersection dubbed the “Heaviest Corner on Earth” in the early 20th century. Others included the Woodward Building, the Empire Building and the American Trust and Savings Bank Building.
The title came from an article in Jemison Magazine in 1911, which claimed the corner was the “Heaviest Corner in the South.” That claim evolved over the years, and in 1925, a directory to “Greater Birmingham” called the corner the “Heaviest Corner in the World,” words which are now included in the National Register of Historic Places and displayed on a marker from the Birmingham Historical Society.
The Brown Marx Building functioned as an office building for the next century before becoming vacant in the early 2000s. Accent purchased the property for $3.66 million in 2018 and began renovations.
Officials from Peachtree told the Commercial Observer that the deal was attractive due to the success of Marriott and the building’s vicinity to the University of Alabama Birmingham.
The project is expected to be completed by 2025.
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