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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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Economic Development Summit, Part 2

After the overwhelming response from the Ideas Map and the the first Economic Development Summit in January, the City of Huntsville has announced plans for a second summit to unveil the results of the Ideas Map. This one will be held at the Monaco theater at Bridge Street on THURSDAY, APRIL 7TH FROM 6-7PM. As was with the last summit, it is free and open to the public. (By the way, if you confirm your attendance with the city at rsvp@huntsvilleal.gov, you will receive a "special offer" from Smokehouse Restaurant)

I don't want to get everyone's hopes up just yet, but there is a chance that the Mayor will be making several announcements at the meeting if all goes according to plan.

The city has been discussing making the "Developing Ideas" summit into a series, focusing on specific issues (e.g. transportation) that will affect the future of the city.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Second Mondays Event on Downtown Development

So I decided to attend one of the "Second Mondays" events put on by the Downtown Development Initiative. Tonight's event was an update on a few downtown developments. A summary is below.

Doug Smith talked about his Park Place project on Meridian Street. The relocation of Cleveland Street is nearing completion. A new bar, the Lone Goose Saloon, will open soon at the project. The next phase after the Cleveland streetscape project is to continue renovations of the Lumberyard as an event space by renovating the 1920s Pullman train car and adding a rooftop space that will feature views of the downtown skyline and the mountains.

Scott McLain discussed his Constellation development at the Parkway and Clinton. The SpringHill Suites will open May 1st, and the Residence Inn will begin construction this summer. After that, the office and retail (still a "green grocer" as the anchor) will come, then around 100 apartments with rents around $1000/month. He also gave his general ideas for the restaurants that he would like to see come to the development-- a seafood restaurant for the convention crowd "with $40 lobster" (like McCormick and Schmick's) and a restaurant with an emphasis on its brews (like Gordon Biersch or its sister restaurant Big River in Chattanooga). Don't hold me (or Mr. McLain) to those concepts; as he said, he's on "Plan Number 40" for Constellation, and the plans are subject to change. One thing that's holding up progress is the lack of a large office space tenant; while McLain is convinced that moving City Hall is the answer, I think that a large bank (Wells Fargo?) and/or a tech company looking for space may be a bit quicker than waiting for the city to make a decision.

A new event was announced at the meeting-- the Greene Street Market, which will be a farmer's market that will run every Thursday night from May 19th until September in the old Health Department lot at Greene and Eustis, just to the east of the Courthouse and across from the Church of the Nativity.

One last note-- a shout out to the lady who stood up and, having seen it "somewhere" and liked it, commented about the Justice District idea.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Colonial Promenade is Back

With Target planning to open in Madison in the Summer of 2012, Walmart has accelerated their plans to open a store just to the west of the Target site in Huntsville city limits. Pending a City Council vote later this month, Huntsville is planning to provide up to $1.4 million in infrastructure improvements for the store and its surrounding center, Colonial Promenade. In addition to the 180,000 sq. ft. Walmart, the center will have 55,000 and 75,000 sq. ft. anchor stores along with 50,000 sq. ft. of small shop space. The Walmart is expected to open in Spring of 2012.

Site plan of Colonial Promenade