Another year, another decade. So, what can we expect? Here's my 2nd annual list of predictions. Let me repeat, these are predictions. While they are educated guesses from hard facts, they should not be taken too seriously; someone last year didn't understand that, got scared, and one of the predictions made it onto a local TV newscast.
Several projects will begin to take shape downtown this year. The VBC renovations will open in the summer. Parking Garage D on the corner of Holmes and Greene will begin construction in the spring, possibly along with the adjacent apartment building. The Madison County Veterans Memorial in what was once Gateway Park will open around Veterans Day. And last, but not least, serious construction on Constellation could start sometime, and since all the previous official estimates have turned out to be wrong, let's just say... February.
Just on the fringes of the CBD, Lowe and Lincoln will continue with their promising revitalizations.
More office buildings! (Didn't see that one coming, did you?) Serious construction will get underway on Bridge Street's second office building, which will look identical to the first.
The new Madison Hospital is the only project that is definitely getting off the ground this year. One commercial project has a pretty good chance this year: Madison Lakes. I have my doubts over Colonial Promenade and Waterstone starting anytime soon.
About the only project that might get going out that way this year is Harris Hill, but even that's iffy. Besides a couple of outparcel restaurants, don't expect anything big to open this year.
Huntsville's sustainability plan will come out early this year, and some of its short term recommendations will be put in place. On a related note, Huntsville will join the growing list of cities using the successful Complete Streets and SmartCode planning methods. The results from the 2010 Census should greatly enlarge the Huntsville metropolitan area from its official current Madison/Limestone setup. More on that when the census forms are sent out in March.
The Year of the Grocer
Yes, I've declared 2010 the "Year of the Grocer", and here's why. Kroger may announce its most aggressive expansion in years; even if not, its new store at 72 and Jeff will open late this year. Despite them being the top traditional grocery in the market, don't expect any new Publix stores this year; they have pretty much saturated Madison County. EarthFare will open its new store in the old Circuit City on University sometime in the spring. ALDI will hopefully find us on a map and build a couple of stores (probably 2-3) here. The Birmingham Business Journal in November reported that Save-A-Lot is looking at building up to 100 stores in Alabama, a drastic increase from the current 19. A "green grocer" is expected to be announced for Constellation-- could be Greenlife out of Chattanooga.