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No new posts are being added to this blog. For planning news and updates, check out The BIG Picture Huntsville (also on Facebook). For transportation info, check out the Huntsville Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"The Peaks" waiting on interchange approval

The Peaks at Southchase, a controversial lifestyle center/power center/residential development proposed by local developer Louis Breland and DeBartolo Development of Tampa, is waiting on approval for a new interchange at I-565 and Zierdt Road, where the new project is located. The 263-acre project caused controversy earlier this year because of a request to the Alabama Legislature to deannex the property out of Madison and annex it into Huntsville. The developers believed that Madison could not afford the infrastructure improvements needed for the 1.6M sq. ft development. The bill died, and Madison convinced the developers that they could afford such a large project.

Huntsville Times article: "Lifestyle center" still in works

As of now, The Peaks will include:
  • A lifestyle center similar to Bridge Street and The Summit in Birmingham with approximately 55 stores
  • A power center with big-box stores like Sam's Club, Target, and Home Depot (these aren't announced tenants, just good guesses) and a grocery store (Kroger?)
  • Two hotels
  • A 16-screen movie theater
  • A residential development

Monday, December 24, 2007

Linens n' Things, Circuit City to Bridge Street?

This flyer for a vacant anchor space in Madison Square Mall shows Linens n' Things and Circuit City as anchors for Bridge Street, along with the stores already announced (Old Navy, ULTA, DSW, and Barnes and Noble). If the flyer is right, the two stores will be located in the strip of three large stores planned west of the lifestyle center.

Friday, December 21, 2007

YMCA goes downtown

This project was announced a couple of months ago, but today, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the $850,000 project located on the first floor of the Huntsville Utilities building. The 14,378 sq. ft. state-of-the-art fitness center will open in May as the Downtown Express Center and will cater to the growing number of people living and working downtown. The YMCA previously occupied a building in East Downtown for 80 years. That building was renovated in 2001 for law offices.

Huntsville Times blog article: YMCA coming back to downtown Huntsville
Central YMCA renovation by Fuqua and Partners architects

15 story "apartment complex" proposed

I found this today on Bidclerk.com, a "construction leads" website that gives contractors a look at what's coming in their area. It also helps interested people like myself find new developments that I wouldn't read about in the newspaper or anywhere else on the Internet. Today, a 15-story "apartment complex" appeared under Huntsville, AL. No other details were given other than the "estimated start date" is April 2008. It's safe to say that probably won't happen.

There are two possibilities for this project. One, it could be Randy Scrimsher's proposed 21-story condo tower/parking garage project proposed about 5 years ago. The project seemed dead until it resurfaced during a height limits debate this past summer. It is very possible that the building could be built on top of a proposed 6-story parking garage at the corner of Holmes Ave. and Greene St. which would make it 21 floors. It is also possible that this could be a totally new project that hasn't been announced yet. Stay tuned...

Bidclerk project report

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

St. James Place- Jones Valley

St. James Place is a proposed retail and office development on Cecil Ashburn Drive in Jones Valley. From the site plan, it looks like the 83,330 sq ft center will be right at the foot of Huntsville Mountain on the right side of Cecil Ashburn. Retail space will be located on the first floor, with office space on the second and third floors. It also looks like a restaurant is proposed on an out parcel (see photo). I don't understand the naming of this development, but it does look nice.

And in somewhat related news, a residential development is proposed in a field across the street from the future site of St. James Place, behind the office buildings, CVS, and Waffle House. It might be a small apartment or condo complex.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New A&M Bus Terminal

I am a big fan of public transit. Bad thing is, Huntsville's transit system is one of the most underused in the nation. Only 1500-1800 riders use it daily. Why? Because it doesn't serve commuters and there is little night and weekend service. Don't blame the city- they're doing the best they can with the funding they get. But that's another story.

The other bus system in the city- Alabama A&M University's "Bulldog Transit System," obviously got something right- their ridership numbers (2500-3000 daily) are more on average with cities of Huntsville's size. A city planning subcommittee reviewed plans today for A&M's new bus terminal. The new $250,000 terminal, to be located near the Quad of the university, will begin construction early next year and be completed in the summer.

Huntsville Times blog article: City reviews plans for A&M bus terminal

By the way, UAH's bus terminal/parking garage is showing signs of progress. A crane is up at the construction site at the corner of Ben Graves Dr. and Holmes Ave.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Lincoln Mill rendering from the Huntsville Times

I told you so... This is a rendering of the Lincoln Mill project from the front page of the Saturday Huntsville Times. The bottom right photo is what the mill looks like from the same spot as the rendering, and the old water tower to the left is undergoing a $200,000 refurbishing paid for by the city.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Indian Creek- The Next Providence?

Looking at architects' websites is a good way to find new development, as seen with the Harris Hill project. Look at this mixed-use project, designed by local architect JH Partners. The "New Urbanism" project, dubbed Indian Creek, will include 35 acres of shops, restaurants, residences, and greenspace. It will be located somewhere off Old Monrovia Road near Providence. The development was designed to have a more "small town/pedestrian-friendly" feel than most modern subdivisions, much like Providence.

Commerce Center opens

The Commerce Center, otherwise known as the old SCI "flag" building, opened today after two years and a $12 million renovation. The eight story office building on the western fringe of downtown was redeveloped by The Breland Companies, who develops residential communities in the area and is part of the DeBartolo retail development proposed for 565 and Zierdt Road in Madison.

Huntsville Times blog article

Lincoln Mill Update

Yesterday, I posted a small "hint" in the Huntsville Times about a possible renovation of Lincoln Mill in Northeast Huntsville. Well, today it was announced. Could we see a possible rendering in tomorrow's paper?

The Lincoln Mill building in Northeast Huntsville will be renovated into shops, restaurants, offices, and up to 60 condos selling for $150 to $200 sq ft. Local doctor James Byrne purchased the Lincoln Mill building, and plans to spend $20 million renovating the two remaining buildings. The larger building will be converted to offices/retail on the first floor, while the 2nd and 3rd floors will become condos. The smaller building will have restaurants, retail and possibly an "independent movie theater."

Huntsville Times article

UPDATE of the update: The architect's website, http://www.mathenygoldmon.com/, shows a rendering of a "mixed use development along a major access corridor to downtown Huntsville." This is most likely the Lincoln Mill project; if not, we might have another project coming soon...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Decatur Mall renovation planned

The new owners of Decatur Mall (formerly Colonial Mall Decatur) plan a "large scale renovation" of the mall, which opened in the 1970s and is slowly losing tenants. Dillard's plans to consolidate their spaces at the mall in January. The renovation plans could be announced in May, according to Atlanta-based mall manager Jones Long LaSalle.

Decatur Daily article: Renovations in store for Decatur Mall

Possible second phase for Crossings of Decatur

The Crossings of Decatur might have a second phase that will include another large anchor. GBT Realty of Nashville, the developer of the Target-anchored Crossings, is considering buying land adjacent to the shopping center, owned by the Morgan County Board of Education, for a 117,724 sq. ft. addition to the development, which opened in October. One possible tenant- Kohl's. The big-box store was planned for the first phase but disappeared from the plans.

Decatur Daily article: Crossings II possible if price is right

Possible Lincoln Mill development?

The Huntsville Times in Thursday's paper hinted at a possible mixed-use development planned for the Lincoln Mill building off Meridian Street north of downtown. The proposed project could include residential, office, and retail space. The surrounding neighborhood has been slowly revitalized in recent years, though not as fast as adjacent Five Points.

Ovation project may not happen

The controversial second phase of the Big Spring Summit project, dubbed "Ovation", may not happen at all. Triad Properties, the developer, has until February 8 to find a restaurant tenant that will occupy at least 3,000 sq. ft. for the first phase, the Summit office building, or the city will terminate Triad's lease of the site of the proposed Ovation, which would be an 8 story building with over 40 condos and retail space overlooking Big Spring Park.

Huntsville Times: Summit Project may be finished

Sunday, December 2, 2007

"Rocket City Reloads" from the Birmingham News

Huntsville's downtown renaissance has caught the attention of the Birmingham News. The article discusses upcoming projects like Constellation, 200 Park Tower, the Art Museum expansion, and the VBC renovation.

Speaking of the VBC renovation/expansion plans, what's in store for the $15-20 million project? Here's what the article says about it:

"The civic center also plans to spend up to $20 million on renovation projects and expansion in the next few years. Highlights include doubling the size of the women's restrooms, adding 1,000 floor seats in the arena for concerts, renovating concession stands, adding a mini cafe, and replacing walls along the southeast side of the arena to give a view from the cafe and concourse of Big Spring Park.

About $4 million for those projects has come from a special tax district set up to fund projects in the downtown area. City officials are working to get the other $12 million to $16 million for the work, including a look at selling naming rights to parts of the civic center."

You can read the whole article here.