The response to Ed and Leo Ticheli's Gallery Lofts on Second Avenue North points to an enthusiasm about downtown living that the brothers say is still in its infancy. With two other projects in the works, the Tichelis' Gallery Lofts are mostly sold, and prices are appreciating.
In addition to the 32-unit Gallery building, which will be ready for occupancy in spring 2006, the Tichelis last year purchased the 12-story Stonewall Insurance Co. building and the former Massey's Corral Inc. building (a Western wear store that moved to Trussville several years ago).
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Plans for the Massey are incomplete, but Leo Ticheli says he and his brother are investing about $18 million in the renovation of the Gallery and the Stonewall into lofts, with about $6 million going into the Gallery and $12 million earmarked for the Stonewall.
"(The Tichelis) are always looking for buildings," says Stephen Coker of Stephen Coker Architect LLC, who is overseeing renovations to their three current projects, "so I wouldn't be surprised if there is a fourth one here in a while."
Leo Ticheli, who owns a television production company in Birmingham, says he and his brother opted not to use a reservation system for the Gallery Lofts, instead going directly to contracts. He says four were purchased by early investors and are now back on the market, and four are being marketed by the Tichelis. The rest, including a third-floor unit purchased by Ticheli, have been spoken for.