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Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Big Week for Bridge Street

Bridge Street has had its share of headlines this past week. On Monday, Chicago-based Miller Capital Advisory, Inc. under its subsidiary Institutional Mall Investors (IMI), purchased the retail center from O&S Holdings for an undisclosed amount, though property records show the price to be over $100 million. O&S will continue to manage and lease the center. IMI owns part or all of about two dozen high-end shopping centers around the country, including the Houston Galleria and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Alexandria, VA. IMI/MCA is a passive investor in these malls, however, so their presence will likely not have a significant impact on the Bridge Street's appearance or tenant mix, unlike what may have happened had a company like Simon or GGP bought the center. In other words, don't expect a Nordstrom simply because they are at some of the other properties MCA has invested in.

Also this week (by coincidence) more details have been revealed about Bridge Street's long-rumored expansion. Tonight, the Huntsville City Council will discuss spending $5 million on infrastructure in preparation for the next phase(s) of the retail complex, including adding another level of parking to the west of the Monaco theater. In an interview with WAAY-TV, City Councilman Will Culver, whose district includes Bridge Street, describes the next phase as a 150,000 sq. ft. department store, along with an additional 50,000 sq. ft. of small shop space, which will be placed where the west portion of the lake now sits. This expansion, also known as "Phase 3" could start sometime this year. Culver also described "Phase 4," which will include another 50,000 sq. ft. of retail and possibly another hotel, which will begin construction in 2015.

And there's one last bit of news-- H&M announced on its website this week that their Bridge Street store, the first in Alabama, will open on June 14th. Let's hope that H&M's opening in Huntsville will entice other unique stores and restaurants to occupy the future store spaces now under consideration, as well as throughout the city.