Birmingham, Alabama

Continuing a legacy of leadership

At Crawford McWilliams Hatcher Architects Inc. (CMH), the firm's current projects mirror the present trends in retail centers which are mixed-use, lifestyle and value-driven centers. Over the course of more than twenty years, Birmingham, Ala.-based CMH has been a leader in the design of key trends in retail development.

The firm's current projects reflect that leadership and include a mixed-use office/residential/retail town center in Orlando, Fla. for Colonial Properties to lifestyle centers for Bayer Properties, Cousins MarketCenters, and Jim Wilson & Associates with value-driven centers in a variety of formats underway for AIG Baker, Aronov Realty Management, Newton Oldacre McDonald and others.

Demand for mixed-use continues to increase, despite the challenges that go along with it. “The planning departments in many cities feel that mixed-use projects are key for revitalization and new development in their communities. They feel that those projects are more community-friendly than any of those usages by themselves,” says CMH principal Everett Hatcher. Birmingham, Ala.-based CMH is working on several mixed-use projects.

Jim Wilson and Associates tapped CMH to design the Shoppes at EastChase in Montgomery, Ala. The 435,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle center opening in November is built along a boulevard that centers around a 330-acre mixed-use development that will include residential and office space plus a 275,000-sq.-ft. convenience center and a 400,000-sq.-ft. power center.

The development is the first of its kind in Montgomery, and the developers wanted a familiar feel. “CMH included tower and rotunda elements to complement the state capital buildings,” says Bob Scarbrough, SVP of construction for Jim Wilson and Associates.

Noting that The Shoppes at EastChase includes upscale national retailers new to the market, Scarbrough adds, “CMH has a proven track record of innovative, economical and creative designs that meet the owners' needs.”

“We feel that helping manage the development process of a project is just as important as the design,” says Hatcher. “In a lifestyle center, we want the retailers to have their own identity, and we facilitate their integration into the overall design while maintaining their identities.”

Building on the success of its upscale Summit projects for Bayer Properties and the Avenues projects for Cousins Properties, CMH designed the 320,000-sq.-ft. Dogwood Festival Center in Flowood, Miss. just outside of Jackson.

The Eastern Shore Center being designed for Malbis Bay, LLC in Spanish Fort, Ala. reflects Spanish Colonial influences, incorporating stone, and stucco and clay tile roof pavers.

CMH's attention to detail, culture and environment insures that projects are community-friendly as well as timeless.

Hatcher sums up CMH's approach to retail, “It is a combination of the developer's vision, the design and the demographics. Putting the right thing in the right place and having the shopper recognize it. We know the retailer, the market and the process and we put that knowledge to work for our clients”.