|City/Town: • Montgomery|
|Location Class: • Commercial • Residential|
|Built: • 1950 | Abandoned: • N/A|
|Status: • Abandoned|
|Photojournalist: • David Bulit|
Located just on the outskirts of the Cottage Hill District are the remains of the Hilltop Arms Apartments building. Built in 1950, the building was designed by the architectural firm Pearson, Tittle, Narrows & Associates, known for their work on the Grove Court Apartments. The building contained 106 units as well as office space on the ground floor. The building was managed by E. S. Watts & Co. which was incorporated in 1948 by Edward S. Watts, Nan F. Watts, and L. Caroline Tiller.
The building has been vacant for decades due to failed efforts to renovate it. In 2006, the Hilltop Arms Apartments building was purchased by Kim F. Henderson for $787,000 who by Spring 2014, had dumped $1.4 million into the property. He blamed legal issues and the mortgage crisis for abandoning his development plans, adding that a low rental rate in the city was keeping new investors away from the project. The City of Montgomery offered Henderson $25,000 for the property with plans to demolish the building and prepare the site for the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery March. Being that it was such a low offer, it’s no surprise that it was declined.
In 2016, a local developer purchased the property with plans to turn the vacant building into an upscale boutique hotel. The Hilltop Suites & Spa was to feature 80 suite hotel rooms, more than 6,000 square feet of meeting and event areas, and numerous bars and restaurants including a rooftop bar and lounge overlooking Montgomery’s downtown area. The developer also considered adding mixed-use space to include shops, grocery stores, and residential units. Other properties were purchased around the structure including the nearby Benjamin W. Walker House as part of the project. Construction was to begin in Spring 2018 with work expected to be completed by Fall 2019. This plan never came to fruition, some speculating that the Hilltop Arms Apartments had significant foundation issues. In February 2021, both the Walker House and the Hilltop Arms Apartments were sold to SCD Holdings, LLC for $1.4 million. The new owner has put forth plans to restore the B. W. Walker House but no plans have yet to be made for the Hilltop Arms Apartments.