Seay, Seay and Litchfield Architects’ were honored by the Alabama Council of the American Institute of Architects this past February for the Kress on Dexter building renovation. Wes Osmer, principal of the firm, and Davis Campbell, project manager, accepted an Honorable Mention for the project at the 2019 AIA Excellence in Design awards gala.
The 1929 Neo-Classical inspired Kress Building on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery was a “five and dime” store which operated until the company’s liquidation in the 1990’s. Over time, the structure fell into a state of perpetual degradation, awaiting condemnation, demolition or a new owner to repurpose the architectural treasure. Led by an aggressive revitalization effort from City officials, an undying sense of optimism from project owners, and unmatched commitment to project quality from design and construction teams this massive undertaking really serves as the centerpiece of effort to restore the sense of historical importance and grandeur to the downtown Montgomery community.
Stretching an entire city block from Dexter Avenue to Monroe Street, all efforts were made to preserve the original historic context of the façade at both ends, as well as the delicately ornate interior plaster detailing. A new second floor retail mezzanine inserted into the double height main hall and two-story residential addition seek to further activate the property as well as maximize the project’s economic feasibility. Adjacent properties on each end of the building were incorporated into the projects footprint, permitting egress paths that avoid disturbing the fabric of the original Kress.