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Friday, April 15, 2011

The Belk-Hudson Lofts


By the Summer of 2012, the Belk-Hudson building and adjacent lots (top picture) will be home to the largest downtown residential development in modern Huntsville history (Bottom picture-- photo credit: Schoel Architecture of Decatur)
The Belk-Hudson Lofts is a proposed 6 story, $11.5 million project at the corner of Holmes and Washington. Part of the project will involve renovating the historic building at the intersection, which formerly housed a department store that gave the development its name, and another part will be constructed on a vacant lot that was occupied by the Old Towne Brewery until a few years ago, when a fire destroyed that building. The developer is Charlie Sealy, a Huntsville resident whose family manages apartment complexes throughout the Southeast, including in Huntsville. With 75 apartments, this project will more than double the amount of free-market residential units available in the CBD. The project is expected to break ground in July, and open in summer 2012.



One of the major concerns about downtown living is the prohibitive cost, especially for young professionals and empty-nesters, the groups of people most likely to live there.  According to Zillow, the cheapest residence for sale downtown right now is about $370,000. The one- and two-bedroom apartments at Belk-Hudson will rent between $850 and $1350 per month-- comparable to a nice apartment out in the suburbs.

So, what do you guys think? Awesome? Pointless? The start of something huge for downtown, or a one-time event?

19 comments:

Thor Smith said...

I think its at the very least an interesting concept. And anytime a proposal (even if it never comes to fruition) is developed for the downtown area, its a nice reminder that at least someone hasn't forgotten about the area.

I'd love to see more downtown living options. The more there are, the cheaper the rent/sale will be. And eventually, businesses, restaurants, clubs, etc. will follow to meet this new residency demands.

Nice chain effect at least. If it even gets passed the initial phases of red tape I'll be surprised. Seems that every proposal downtown never comes through. But maybe this will be the beginning of a change in the right direction.

docholly said...

I love it. If I could, I'd move back to HSV just to live there.

Bill Fowler said...

I work downtown and live nearby. I'm also on the Downtown 47, a group that works closely with the city and downtown stakeholders to promote efforts just like this.

This is a major step forward in creating a vibrant downtown we've all been working toward. Hats off to the city and the developers.

More people means more demand for business and entertainment.

I hope this project is successful and brings in others.

Mom A said...

Fantastic!! Exactly what has been needed. Location is excellent! Perhaps this will spur development of previous Heritage Club across the street into boutique shops and a restaurant.

Bernprod01 said...

I'm with you Thor. I may be looking for spot soon and I would love a loft down there.

Anonymous said...

@Bill Fowler

The "Downtown 47"? Is that the number of people who work "downtown"? ;)

Give it up - the center of this city is and always will be the Arsenal/Research Park area. Huntsville doesn't really have a "downtown" to revitalize - it needs to be built. Where are these businesses, clubs, restaurants, baseball stadiums, etc. going to locate and at what cost? If you want to live and work in a trendy urban area Huntsville is the wrong city.

ND DVM said...

I left Huntsville decades ago and now live in Fargo, North Dakota. Our downtown was similarly dead for years after everyone decamped for elsewhere. Now, the older buildings hold beautiful (and expensive) condo homes and independent businesses that don't fit the cookie-cutter mold of the mall. Downtown is busy again, with a vibrant, funky, "urban" feel that is a tremendous boon to our small city. No reason Huntsville cannot do the same.

MJ said...

This is an awesome idea, just what we need! There's no way to have a trendy downtown area for young professionals if the housing prices are way out of range. I agree, build affordable housing and restaurants/clubs/stores will follow to meet demand!

Anonymous said...

Apartments...yes!!! Condos...no!! Too expensive and wont bring people. Apartments will bring people and help bring business and entertainment!! Woohooo!!

Anonymous said...

Great proposal. Lets just hope the people in the "hysterical district" will let this go through. The old blue blood Huntsville has always been the reason for downtown being the lifeless place that it is.

Bridgestreet in madison is not a city center. It is a coorporate shopping mall. It has no history or soul. If Huntsville really hopes to become a destination city then its urban renewal is a must!

Great step in the right direction.....now lets all hope it gets approved and built!

Kudos to Jim Hudson and his tremendous vision for progress in this city.

James said...

I should note that Jim Hudson is not involved in this project. Belk-Hudson is the name of the department store that once occupied the building in the top picture.

Dennis said...

Huntsville desperately needs a vibrant downtown. This is a huge plus for the city. More please...

Rachel Wiles said...

I am very optimistic about this project and think it would be great for downtown. I agree with Mom A: developing the old Heritage club into boutique shops and restaurants would be amazing!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a good development for downtown. If it succeeds it could help get Huntsville's downtown growing and prove its worth investing in. But if it fails sets a bad precedent that will be hard to overcome.

Anonymous said...

The building marked courthouse is not the courthouse, but is actually the building with Humphrey's in it.

James said...

^That's why I put an arrow next to it.

Anonymous said...

This will be good for the city. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a vibrant downtown with people living there, with restaurants, stores, etc.

Anonymous said...

been living at home, doing the Dave Ramsey thing...anyone know how I can put my name on the waiting list for the apartments?

Anonymous said...

Apartment instead of condos downtown is long overdue. The population will help draw businesses to help get rid of downtown's urban blight.