Downtown Mobile Gayfers Building Renovation Possible

Downtown Mobile Gayfers Building Renovation Possible
Image by Lamar via Flickr

The Gayfers department store building in Downtown Mobile has been vacant and deteriorating for more than 35 years, but it may be poised for rebirth, FOX 10 recently reported. The nonprofit Gulf Coast Housing Partnership paid approximately $1.4 million for the property in 2015 with plans of renovating it and creating affordable housing units. The missing piece of the puzzle could be $8 million from the city’s share of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Mayor Sandy Stimpson has proposed using that portion of the money to close the funding gap on the Gayfers project. The Mobile City Council would have to approve the spending. The vision is for something that does not currently exist in downtown Mobile – a large-scale residential development for people with low and moderate incomes. The project would maintain the historic façade but otherwise completely overhaul the 56,000-ft2 building and add one-and-a-half stories. The plan calls for 94 loft-style apartments, mostly one- and two-bedroom units in the 600-900 ft2 range. Rents are projected at $569-$773 a month, depending on size and the renters’ incomes. The Mobile Housing Authority has pledged $1 million in exchange for setting aside 19 of the apartments for those with extremely low incomes. In addition to the apartments, plans call for retail or commercial space on the ground floor. If the Mobile City Council approves its spending this summer, financing could be obtained by the end of the year. Construction would take approximately 14 months.

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