200 20th Street N, Birmingham, AL 35203
We are an urban gathering place for people of all ages. Love downtown Birmingham as much as we do? Come hang out with us! Whether you’re passing through after your visit to the beautiful Railroad Park, the McWane Science Center, or from shopping along Second Avenue, or you have made us your main event, we would love to have you stop by! We are centrally located among all of these places and would be delighted for you to make us a part of your day. We have self-serve frozen yogurt machines with 12 rotating flavors, a toppings bar, and delicious gourmet cupcakes. For our downtown workers, we will have belgian waffles and a variety of bagels and pastries to serve your early morning breakfast needs or top it off any time of the day with your favorite toppings, hot or cold! Oh, and free-wifi? Done. College kids grab your books, business people bring your papers, and families load up the kids, and come visit the new, fun hangout spot in downtown Birmingham!
The three story building located at the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 20th Street North is one of the oldest in Birmingham. The building was built by Benjamin Roden in 1887 and was known as the Roden Block or the Roden Building. The three-story commercial block was originally constructed of pressed-brick with stone trim. The original cost to build was approximately $25,000.
Roden’s Grocery was the first tenant in the new building, occupying a space on the bottom floor. Other businesses took up the rest of the spots on the bottom floor, such as Avondale Stove & Foundry Company in the 1880’s and Liggett’s Drug Store and Soda Fountain in the 1920s. In the early 20th century, Birmingham National Bank replaced Roden’s Grocery. Roden himself served in the first Birmingham Board of Aldermen and the group often met in the Roden Building.
On July 15, 1933, Paramount Cigar & Soda Company was formed. It occupied the first floor corner location with large neon “PARAMOUNT” signs facing 2nd Avenue North and 20th Street North. The name later changed to Paramount Cigar & Candy Company.
In 1937, the architects for Parisian stores, "Miller, Martin and Lewis," completely renovated and modernized the Roden Block. At that time, Parisian occupied the building next door on the 2nd Avenue side. As part of the new renovation, Parisian signed 15 year leases for the second and third floors. Other tenants at the time included the Betty Maid Shop, Hanover Jewelry Company, and Baker’s Shoes.
The original cornices were removed, window openings enlarged, and a new white stone cladding was installed with simplified geometric details. This design was indicative of the art deco period that was popular in the 1930’s. The new modernization plan had an estimated cost of more than $100,000. The estimated value of the building after the renovation was $500,000.
Ultimately, the architects design was altered somewhat as the building does not have the curved features shown in the original design. The building was again altered during renovations in the 1950s and 1980s. The building currently has a black granite façade on the first floor below the original metal bands from the 1930s design. This is believed to have been done during another “modernization” of the building.
In 2007, Kent and Angie Ingram purchased the building. The Ingrams renovated the second floor. In 2009, Ingram Law Offices moved into the building. In 2010, the Ingrams hired architect Jeremy Erdreich, who designed a renovation of the building that pays homage to the building as it looked in the 1930s. The Paramount will reopen on the first floor on July 15, 2011, 78 years after the original formation on July 15, 1933, bringing life back to one of Birmingham’s most historic buildings. The new Paramount will bring back some of that former “sweetness” to this corner spot selling frozen yogurt, cupcakes, and Belgian waffles.