Abandoned Birmingham hospital raises concern, questions among neighbors

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As Physicians Medical Center Carraway falls deeper into disrepair, people who live nearby wonder what will become of the 54-acre property.

Longtime residents of Birmingham’s Norwood neighborhood remember the days when Carraway thrived in their community.

“[It was] really nice,” said Bill Smith, who has lived near the hospital since 1970. “People [would] walk up and down the street, going to catch the bus, going to work.”

Smith said three of his sisters used to work at the hospital, which closed in 2008 when it went bankrupt after serving the community for 100 years.

Since its abrupt closure, vandals and vagrants have closed in on the building; windows are smashed, walls are spray painted with curse words, and trash and old hospital furnishings and supplies are strewn all over.

In addition to being an eyesore, Smith worries that the abandoned hospital creates safety issues for neighbors.

“People can’t walk over here anymore because somebody may jump out from around the building– around the corner somewhere and grab their purse,” Smith said. “I’m just surprised nobody’s set it on fire, living in that place when it’s cold.”

Several entrances to the hospital remain open, for anyone to venture inside.

The Lovelady Center, a local nonprofit which provides assistance to women and children in need, owns the property.

According to Lovelady’s founder, Brenda Spahn, the property was donated to her organization in 2011. She planned to open a facility there, but members of the community ultimately pushed Lovelady out, and the facility never opened.

Several people living near Carraway spoke to CBS 42 Wednesday, and all of them said they would have preferred for Lovelady to have used the building.

Spahn said Lovelady has been trying to sell the property for several years. During that time, the property was under three contracts, which fell through.

Spahn said the property is now under contract for a fourth time. She was unable to share any information about the potential buyer due to a nondisclosure agreement, but she expressed optimism for the property’s future.

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