Vester Square — a three-phase redevelopment project estimated to cost $20 million-$25 million— is making its way through Ferndale government approvals, according to city officials and a lead developer, Christian Fuller of Birmingham.
Vester Square would comprise a restaurant with a rooftop deck, privately owned but publicly usable green space, a food market, other commercial space and a new building with eight townhome-style residential units.
In the first phase, the developer would renovate an existing building at 621 Vester Ave. and add a second story, building out a 4,050-square-foot restaurant with a rooftop patio. It would also build around 1,500 square feet of adjoining space for retail that could house “anything from fitness studios to an ice cream shop,” Fuller said.
The second segment of work — expected to start construction in fall 2020 — would create the actual Vester Square the project is named after: approximately 9,000 square feet of green space funded and maintained by the developers, according to Fuller and city documents. That would be joined by a new two-story, approximately 6,000-square-foot building called The Station. It would likely be home to a market that Fuller described as a “very small Ferndale version of an Eastern Market,” or farmers market, that offers fish, fresh butchered meat, bites to eat and room for events.
In the third phase, slated for a spring 2021 construction start, Vester Square would get a three-story mixed-use development with eight townhomes on its second and third stories.
Fuller declined to price out the three individual phases. He has signed on McIntosh Poris Associates of Birmingham as architect.
SOMI and related entities started out buying an impound lot, and their holdings off the main Nine Mile Road drag grew as businesses around them closed and houses fell into disrepair due to flooding.