“Down by the Blue Bird” — a familiar expression when asking directions around Midtown Mobile for generations growing up in the Port City — may soon be dusted off and put back into use again.

A groundbreaking was held this morning, with many prominent city officials in attendance, for the Blue Bird Hardware & Seed Store. The circa 1955 property was designed by well-known local architect Arch Winter, who along with business partner T. Howard Ellis, also designed the Isle of Dauphine Country Club on Dauphin Island and the Sky Ranch subdivision in Mobile.

Rumors had been swirling around for months about restoration efforts in the works around the historic property and the groundbreaking event verified that accelerating small business growth isn’t limited to LoDa anymore. The property will be offered as mixed-use retail space.

Via www.facebook.com/bluebirdhardwarestore/

“It’s an iconic piece of architecture contributing to the historic character of Midtown and is pending listing on the national registration of historic places,” Stephen McNair, owner of McNair Historic Preservation said.

“Mobile doesn’t need to tear down any more historic buildings,” McNair said. “The buildings that we have maintained largely fit into the period of significance considered as nationally important and relevant by the National Park Service. I think this is the first of many projects to come for this area.” he said.

More information will be in the Sept. 28 issue of Lagniappe.