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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bridge Street to get another office tower... and a tennis complex

The Bridge Street developers reaffirmed what was already announced back in January-- a second office tower (identical to the first one) will be built in the northeast corner of the project. Construction will start early next year on the 6-story building, according to the Times.

Now, this is where it gets weird. The developers also announced plans to build the "Bridge Street Tennis Centre," a complex of 6 lighted "championship-style" tennis courts, on the northwest corner. Also, a putting green will be built at the Westin. Anybody else asking, "Why?"

Sounds like Bridge Street's having trouble filling up the rest of their 100-acre space, especially if they're resorting to build tennis courts and putting greens. Maybe I'm being a little too extreme here, but why not have some more medium-priced lunch places/coffee shops for the Research Park/UAH crowd? Anyone who has driven University around lunchtime knows those kinds of places do great business around there. (Several of you have talked about a Panera Bread opening, but I have yet to find anything to confirm that.) Also, where are those Phase II anchor stores that were promised a month after opening--in 2007? Sports Authority is the only one that has been announced, and will open later this summer.

Update: Paul Orfalea, co-founder of O&S Holdings, talked about a couple of projects on the "wish list" for Bridge Street:
  1. A department store, which is "in negotiations." We can safely assume this is Macy's, unless, of course, the developers cheap out and take one of the Madison Square anchors (Sears, JC Penney, Belk, or Dillard's), quickening that mall's impending demise.
  2. A "5-star hotel." This would probably be a tough sell for a city like Huntsville. I mean, could you imagine a Ritz-Carlton here? However, if they do pull it off, it will probably be a Starwood (Westin/Sheraton) or Marriott-brand hotel.


David 1502 said...

It is highly unlikely that the developers will steal one of the Madison Square Department Stores as all four (Belk, Dillards, Sears and Penney's) buildings and adjacent parking lots are owned by their respective parent companies. They wouldn't have a prayer of selling those buildings now.

You are right when you say they are in negotiations with Macy's who must have decided that buying the old McRae's location at Madison Square just isn't worth it - it would sure be a boost to Madison Square if they did.

Anonymous said...

No Marriott Hotel, simply because they are renovating the one by the space center now. I never saw an update on here about that. Doubtful a hotel will be put in, although we could use it and you are right it would probably be a Starwood Prop for a lot of good reasons. Did the Hampton ever open in Hampton Cove???

James said...

I don't think the renovation of the Marriott at the Space Center will determine whether or not another is built at Bridge Street. Besides, Marriott has lots of other brands they could choose from, such as Renaissance.

As for the Hampton Inn opening in Hampton Cove-- it is opening in a week. Updates like that would be on the blog's Facebook/Twitter pages, if there was a demand for one.

Anonymous said...

What is going in at Bridge Street beside Barnes and Noble?

James said...

Nothing. The parking garage is being rebuilt due to structural issues.

Anonymous said...

Many friends who work out in Research Park tell me that they use Bridge Street as an attraction to bring big executives to town, keeping them at the Westin, as it is the nicest hotel in town. I hear a lot of people asking just where is Bridge Street (out of towners) - If it was better marked and more visible, I imagine it could become spectacular. Me and many people used to go to Nashville to shop, but these days, Huntsville has grown to have a lot of the upper-end stores that me and my family don't have to leave town to shop and find things. Sure helps saving on gas considering it's gone up so high in the past 10 years, and the fact that we can do it all so quickly by staying in town, I see no need anymore for mass fast-transit to other cities, when I would have been a user and supporter of a quicker way to other cities. I would like to see a Nordstrom built here, and I've heard that they have some interest in Huntsville and have talked to Bridge Street. Is there any truth to this? I really feel that we have enough people in the higher income range to be able to make a Nordstrom here become a best seller. I hear that many of the stores at Bridge Street are among their companies' top performers. I would like to see another of Landry's restaurants like The Aquarium at Opry Mills in Nashville come. The Aquarium restaurant in Nashville used to be a very nice place to go, but has gone downhill in the past few years and isn't that good anymore. Even an exotic type place, or at least a restaurant that isn't just a regular dine-in and sit with the same old menu that's all over town and so worn out. Seems as though even Connor's and the Mexican joint there are tasting like the same old places, I haven't tried Ruth's Chris yet, but I'm not a big fan of steak either, and I like a good 'ole ribeye over a porterhouse any day. I prefer mine cooked over charcoal medium if anyone wants to tell me a restaurant that does that besides the gas grills. Maybe I should start my own restaurant with outdoor grills and some good healthy cooking with an ever-changing menu, unlike these places in town. I need to save up a few more bucks before I do that - With the economy the way it is I don't dare touch my retirement funds, but it could be a fun and daring investment and get me out of the suits that I hate wearing every day in the corporate world which I'm ready to get out of but don't want to live with that big of a paycut and even though I'm 61, I'm in good health and can't see myself retiring any time soon. A lot of my old buddies and old co-workers are dying off and a lot of them can't work, but as long as I keep up with the exercise, my ticker will stay going good and strong for many years to come. Can't wait to see my grandchildren get married and have great-grand children one of these days, if they'll ever stop partying at school and spending 5-6 years in college like they're headed for and turn it into 4, work a job and do night school for a master's like I did when I was young. Kids these days!

Anonymous said...

I would settle for a bit more parking and another high-end grocery (Whole Foods?!?!) long before tennis courts & putting greens.

The frenzy around Earth Fare's opening proves that the market demand is obviously there to support it, and would force Fresh Market and Earth Fare to up their game to try competing.

And that would DEFINITELY satisfy the Research Park lunch rush...