Capital City Benchmark
A luxury apartment complex on the Alabama River establishes a new gateway for Montgomery.
The Heights will offer one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that come standard with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and walk-in closets.
The Heights, Golden Construction’s recent apartment project, is scheduled to open in Montgomery this summer. Golden specializes in multi-family construction and delivered an upscale apartment complex overlooking the Alabama River. The $28.4 million project sits on 206,544 square feet in the capital’s city center. It will house 164 luxury units with incredible views and easy access to the surrounding city. The first building is expected to open later this month, with more to follow soon after.
Montgomery city officials say the development — across from Wright Brothers Park — provides a gateway entrance to the city center, a link to Maxwell Air Force Base, and a greatly improved view of the city from southbound Interstate 65. The city began acquiring the property in the ’90s under Mayor Emory Folmar and continued assembling the pieces under Folmar’s successor Bobby Bright and current Mayor Todd Strange. City officials agreed that StoneRiver’s plans met their expectations and sold the property to the developer last September for $643,000.
StoneRiver President Joseph Welden believes that the city is ripe for such development and was eager to play a part in Montgomery’s downtown activity. “We liked what we saw going on downtown,” he says. “There’s a lot of momentum in the city.”
The Heights will be visible as travelers enter the city from I-65 and Maxwell Air Force Base. Located near the city center, the apartments will be in walking distance of restaurants, parks and attractions, like the Montgomery Performing Arts Center, Union Station Train Shed and Riverwalk Stadium.
The four-story buildings combine brick and contemporary features that complement the surrounding city. “We planned it with the downtown setting in mind,” says Welden. “It has a more urban design. We tried to incorporate the typical look of downtown Montgomery.”
Sitting on a hilltop overlooking the Alabama River, the complex’s most striking feature is its incredible views. “We were immediately impressed with the river,” says Welden. “The project was built with that in mind, and the apartments make the most of the location with views of the water and skyline.”
Golden Construction held a topping out ceremony on June 26, celebrating the placement of the final beams on the buildings. This adds another multi-family project to a portfolio that already includes high-quality developments across the state. “Continued success with similar projects has demonstrated our ability to provide quality products in an expedient manner,” says Senior Project Manager Stanley Higgins.
The Downtown Redevelopment Authority worked closely with StoneRiver to find the prime location. “The support we had from the city was great,” says Welden. “Excellent development directors were there to help in the beginning, and so was Mayor Todd Strange. The project would not have happened without him.”
The project was not without complications, however. As development began, a scarcity of skilled labor strained the project’s subcontractors. “Ensuring they are able to adequately staff the project to meet our production and quality expectations has been challenging,” Higgins says.
The labor shortage threatened to slow down construction, but Golden’s penchant for cooperation yielded a solution. “We have seen that collaboration with our subcontractors to reduce rework can effectively reduce skilled labor man hours, allowing them to achieve higher rates of production.”
The project involved a number of subcontractors to contribute labor and specialized services. ProBuild provided framing; Quality Architectural Roofing handled roofing, and Gro Landscaping supplied landscape and irrigation. Modular retaining walls were supplied by Superior Walls, and stamped concrete was provided by Jeffco Concrete.
Golden encourages subcontractor collaboration through their waste-cutting Golden Production System. They’ve found that the emphasis on cooperation has saved time when construction issues arose. “Our Golden Production System is continually improving the way we approach construction,” Higgins says. “The results of the collaborative efforts of our people and the subcontractors we engage continue to be impressive.”
The development uses every square foot of the downtown purchase, a feat which presented complications of its own. With plans for a leasing center, pool and pavilion, fitting the desired facilities into the apartment plan required innovative design.
The Heights will offer one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Among their standard features, these units come with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and walk-in closets. The property features a pool, fitness center and pavilion. Residents park in a gated lot behind the buildings.
“It was challenging trying to determine how we could accommodate all the amenities we had planned into a smaller space,” says Welden. “Working with Golden Construction and the teams involved made a difference. They all did their job well and we were able to accomplish what we wanted to do.”
Tom Little is a freelancer writer for Business Alabama. He is based in Birmingham.