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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.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nordstrom coming to Nashville

In the next couple of years, Huntsvillians will have two Nordstroms to choose from, both 100 miles away from the city. After years of rumors, Nordstrom has officially announced that it will open a 3-story, 149,000 sq. ft store in Nashville, at the Mall at Green Hills in the wealthy southwest corner of the city. It will open in 2010, two years before the Birmingham location (announced last year) will open at Riverchase Galleria.

Tennessean article

The one drawback- this will just make it harder to get a Nordstrom in the Huntsville area. Granted, our population is small, but what we lack in people, we make up for in population growth, a high average income, and a coming explosion in retail space.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

(Another) Billion-dollar development for the area

Madison mayor Sandy Kirkindall announced a $1 Billion, 450 acre development at the intersection of County Line Road and 565 during tonight's State of the City address. The project, which was designed by Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan (a nationwide company that is well-known for its work on the city of Celebration, FL) and is being developed by Wann Springs Development Group, could include up to 4 million square feet of retail, residential, and office space, along with a "four-star" hotel and convention center. Groundbreaking is set to begin this summer.

This announcement comes on top of Sweetwater, another billion-dollar development planned seven miles west of this one. The projects are strikingly similar in size and cost. It'll be interesting to see how two such large projects will work so close to each other in a metro area this small.

More info and renderings- Huntsville Times blog article

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fondue restaurant coming to Bridge Street

The Melting Pot, a chain of fondue restaurants with locations in Birmingham and Nashville, is opening at Bridge Street in the fall. The chain, which opened its first restaurant in Florida in 1975, has approximately 130 restaurants nationwide, with 42 locations "under development" according to its website.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kroger getting a makeover

After finishing renovations at the Madison store last year, Kroger plans to start soon on renovating its Moores Mill location, which has already seen one other renovation since its opening in 1996. The last renovation removed the in-store video rental store and added a gas station. Probably the biggest changes shoppers will see in this upcoming renovation will be an expanded "Nature's Market" section and the relocation of the pharmacy to the front of the store to allow for a drive-thru window.
Look for similar renovations to happen at the 5 other Kroger stores in the Huntsville-Decatur market, as Kroger struggles to compete with Publix and Wal-Mart.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Planning Agenda- April 22nd

The Huntsville Planning Commission will review subdivision plans for almost 1500 single-family home lots at next week's meeting; most of them, of course, are on the fringes of the city, except for an interesting one on Vermont Road in Southwest. But probably the biggest approval they will give next week is to rezoning requests at the proposed Harris Hills development in Northeast Huntsville. Almost 500 acres will be rezoned to accommodate multi-family residences, big-box stores, and chain restaurants/hotels. Land is being cleared, and the access roads are almost complete. Buildings could be going up as early as this summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Second hotel possible for Sweetwater

According to the Decatur Daily, discussions are under way for a second hotel at the Sweetwater development in Limestone County. This is in addition to the 300 room hotel and convention center announced when the $1 Billion project was announced a month ago. The hotel brands have not been revealed, but the first hotel is possibly an Embassy Suites. Also, the city of Decatur is expected to approve the deal with the developers on the project at a city council meeting next week.

Zoe's Kitchen expanding: Plans include Huntsville

Another Alabama-based restaurant chain could be opening its first locations in Huntsville in the next couple of years. Birmingham-based Zoe's Kitchen, which already has 20 restaurants in six states, is planning a nationwide expansion of 50 more restaurants, with a possibility of up to 180 in the next five years. Huntsville was one of the cities named as part of the expansion. So, where will they locate? Since it is more of a lunch restaurant, their first location will probably be near Research Park. If they decide to open a second one, look for it in the Airport/Whitesburg "restaurant cluster."

Birmingham News article

Monday, April 14, 2008

Huntsville: Now over 200 square miles!

The Huntsville City Council, in a special meeting held today, annexed another 3,000 acres in Limestone County, bringing the total size of the city to 202 square miles. The land is adjacent to Athens city limits along I-65 and along the future Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta freeway corridor. Huntsville Times

In the past month, the city has mass-annexed 12 square miles of Limestone County land amid fears that the state legislature could make it tough to annex more land in the county (see earlier post).

Whole Foods "a good bet" for Providence

In Monday's "Ask Us" column in the Huntsville Times, someone asked if a grocery store was planned for the Village of Providence, and if so, what chain would it be. A grocery store has been proposed for the New Urbanism community since its conception. One chain that comes to everyone's mind is Whole Foods Market, the wildly popular supermarket chain that locates its stores in affluent suburban areas across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. A Whole Foods "or equivalent" was noted as a "good bet." Some other possibilities:
  • An "urban-style" Publix. It's like a regular Publix, only smaller and in an urban area. Several have been built in places like Columbia, SC, Jacksonville, and Orlando. Birmingham's been trying to get one for years.
  • EarthFare- a small Whole Foods-like chain based in Asheville, NC with several stores throughout the Southeast.
  • Another Fresh Market. You can't rule it out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Airport Construction Update

Huntsville International's new expanded food court is expected to open on Saturday with a Gevalia coffee shop (a first for an airport), McAlister's Deli (another first), and Breyer's Ice Cream. There will also be an upscale bar with "grab and go" food and drinks next to the food court.

The food court is only a small part of the airport's $65 million expansion plan, much of which will be completed in the next year or two:
  • May 4th- the new 219-ft. control tower opens.
  • July- a new access road to Jetplex Industrial Park begins construction.
  • October- security improvements and a new taxiway.
  • December- Expansion of the main parking deck, increasing the number of parking spaces to nearly 3,000.
  • February 2009- A 92,000 sq. ft. air cargo building opens.
  • July 2009- the expanded 20,000 sq. ft. waiting area opens.
Huntsville Times article

Friday, April 4, 2008

Momma Goldberg's coming to Huntsville?

According to a Birmingham News article, Momma Goldberg's, an Auburn sandwich shop, is planning to franchise and expand to ten locations across the southeast by the end of this year, including possible locations in Huntsville and Decatur. The restaurant opened a trial franchise in Homewood late last year, which according to restaurant operators, was very successful. "Momma G's" also plans to open locations in Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Atlanta.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Crown Pointe: New shopping center at Parkway and Mountain Gap

Businessman Harold Motter is developing a 40-50,000 sq. ft shopping center called Crown Pointe at the corner of Mountain Gap and Memorial Parkway. The $3.5 million development will include a spa and Huntsville's second Bojangles restaurant. A restaurant. sandwich shop, and other stores could also be tenants. The project is expected to break ground in June and open by the end of the year.

Huntsville Times article

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cracker Barrel slated for Guntersville

Cracker Barrel is expected to begin construction soon on a new restaurant on US 431 in Guntersville. If construction starts this month, it will probably open sometime in October or November. It will be the fifth Cracker Barrel in the Huntsville-Decatur region.