Developers and local leaders were in west Tuscaloosa Wednesday morning to break ground on the first of a group of new townhomes to be built there amid serious public investment in the area.

The new residences will come up on 5th Street off Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, in undeveloped space in front of an aesthetic-amplifying, bright blue water tower boasting the city's name.

Build Residential, a Tuscaloosa-based company, is building there and gambling that the city's public investment in the west end will pay big dividends. MLK and the nearby Jack Warner Parkway have seen tens of millions in new improvements in recent years. In 2027, the $80+ million Saban Center is expected to open a long stone's throw from the development, and millions of new dollars are being spent to modernize and upgrade the Mercedes-Benz Amphitheater. That's not to mention the soon-to-open Western Riverwalk or Parker-Haun Park.

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For Robby Waldrop and Brandon Clark, co-owners of Build Residential, those assets and more make the location on 5th Street theoretically prime real estate and the perfect home for their River District Townhomes.

Mayor Walt Maddox joined them on site Wednesday morning to break ground on the first four townhomes in a space that could eventually house two dozen.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

“We’re thrilled to bring a new and exciting housing concept to our hometown,” Waldrop said in a release. “This design was created to be versatile, comfortable and appealing for a wide variety of people. This unique design, the convenient location, and the tremendous investment the City has made and will continue to make in the area make this project a great win for Tuscaloosa’s River District.”

The developers will build three-bedroom, three-bathroom homes with integrated two-car garages, high vaulted ceilings and more than 1,400 square feet of living space.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

"Everyone's heard in the news about the housing market, everyone has seen how home ownership has gotten and less and less attainable across the country for a number of reasons," Clark said at the groundbreaking. "What we wanted to try to do was come up with a concept, something a little different for Tuscaloosa, that could appeal to a range of people. We're trying to keep the prices as economical as possible in three-bedroom townhomes and it's not a condo. It's a townhome, so you own your own home and your own lot."

The Alabama Center for Real Estate's most recently quarterly Alabama Housing Affordability Index said the median sales price for homes in the Tuscaloosa area was $250,483 last quarter. With townhomes starting around $400,000, the new residences are being marketed as a bridge between luxury and affordability.

“Our team is passionate about creating quality infill housing more attainable,” said Brandon Clark, co-owner of Build Residential. “We are grateful for the leadership and vision of Mayor Maddox, Councilman Matthew Wilson, City Engineering and Planning, and our partners in this project, Jim Barnett and Grayson Glaze."

To view more information about River District Townhomes, including renderings and sales
information, visit

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Gallery Credit: (Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)

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