Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle has announced that parties are near an agreement to start a major downtown retail, commercial and residential development on the site of the old Councill Courts public housing project.
According to Battle, the total value of the development is estimated to be $85 million and final completion will take up to three years. It includes 200 new apartments, a major grocery store, a new hotel, retail shops and an office building.
The goal of this development is to create a centerpiece for downtown Huntsville and offer something new to citizens. But that’s not all. Mayor Battle says it's also about making the city of Huntsville more competitive.
“We’re looking forward to some great things out of this development," says Battle.
Among those things, appealing to current and prospective residents.
“The whole idea behind this is to provide a new unique product that we’ve never been able to offer before,” explains Battle. “We are now offering something that appeals to the Generation X worker."
In the competition between cities, the mayor wants Huntsville to stand out as a unique, vibrant place with a good economic model and a lot to offer.
“We don`t compete with Birmingham, Montgomery, or Mobile,” says Battle. “We compete with Austin, Texas, the research triangle area, Silicon Valley, the Washington, D.C. area, and Maryland.”
Mayor Battle believes this development will give the city more leverage.
“What we were lacking in the competition element was a unique surrounding for young people to live and this provides that,” says Battle.
While this project is several years from completion, Mayor Battle is optimistic about it and the city as a whole.
“An $85 million investment in downtown Huntsville is an exciting thing for the city of Huntsville.”
Mayor Battle says the first thing to be built is the 700-space parking garage. The city council has already authorized an architect to begin designing the garage.