City Hopes To Turn Downtown Parking Garage Into New Development

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Downtown Huntsville Inc., held a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss plans to add yet another new hotel to the downtown district.

The city sent a 25-page Request For Proposal (RFP) to developers on Thursday, asking them to submit ideas for a mixed use development on the site of the City’s parking garage on Monroe Street.  This is just across from the Von Braun Center and adjacent to Big Spring Park.

“There is heightened interest in downtown Huntsville, and we want to see what developer proposals are out there,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “The RFP is one way to solicit innovative ideas for prime property that has served as a utilitarian structure.”

Your first question may be – where would I park if I’m going to an event downtown?

The city would not lose any parking spaces.  It depends on the proposals that come in whether the current structure would be partially demolished – the portion that borders Monroe Street.

If any part of the parking deck would be demolished, it would be this part - the lower portion directly across from the VBC complex facing Monroe.  The upper levels would stay. (Photo: Matt Kroschel/WHNT News 19)

If any part of the parking deck would be demolished, it would be this part – the lower portion directly across from the VBC complex bordering Monroe Street. The portion where you see the cars, and the levels above, would stay. (Photo: Matt Kroschel/WHNT News 19)

If the structure is partially demolished, the developer’s plan would have to include additional parking to replace the spaces that were lost.

The City’s Long Range Urban Planner, Dennis Madsen, said it is time to look at new ideas for a higher and best use of the parking garage site. “It’s no longer enough that the site provides parking, it has to provide parking and more,” said Madsen. “A new development can improve the aesthetics along the park, as well as along Monroe.  Given the success of developments like Belk Hudson Lofts and Twickenham Square, we know that there’s an appetite for redevelopment opportunities downtown.”

Chad Emerson, CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc, agrees and says multimillion dollar upgrades to the Propst Arena and Mark C. Smith Concert Hall call for more appealing and pedestrian-friendly attractions across the street. “The RFP is another really important step forward downtown as we take underutilized spaces and increase their economic value,” said Emerson.

Proposals must be submitted by February 4, 2014 through Huntsville’s department of Procurement Services.

Last week city leaders announced the downtown Holiday Inn Hotel will be demolished to make way for a new hotel and mixed use space.

10 comments

  • Bob

    The area such as dressing rooms and other spots around the arena haven’t been upgraded since the center was first built. It looks horrid.

  • Michael Kewl

    And so what happens to all those many other vacant commercial properties that the Mayor wanted to save??? Or is this just another insider special deal for the Downtown HSV club members???

  • Maggie Breeches

    More concrete, glass and steel to “improve the aesthetics” of Big Spring International Park. If you like this idea, let’s just pave over Monte Sano State Park so we don’t have to bear looking at all those trees or listen to the birds or hike in the majesty of nature.

  • Jim M

    Move the parking garage to the back of the Civic center that borders Clinton and runs parallel to the parkway. Put in walkways from the garage to the civic center and this would free up the parking garage next to big spring to be demolished and a new development could be put up.

  • Old timer

    How about moving the parking garage to the west side of the vbc and returning the current site to the people of Hunsville for use as part of Big Spring Park as it was before the garage was built

    • Jim M

      Well Old timer, if you returned the location of the parking deck to the way it was originally you would have a road that runs parallel to the lake. Originally there was a busy street that came straight out there from the big spring area through where the civic center is now. The Green space that is near big spring near the bluff had two roads running through it and one of them connected to run parallel to where the garage sits now..

  • Joseph

    Michael Kewl, finally, someone who understands! Why are other groups not included in the discussions with the mayor and the city? Why is only Downtown Huntsville, Inc. invited to the dinner table?

  • City SE

    Kickbacks, anyone? Mmmm… I’ll take some. While you’re at it, pass me a cup of fraud, and throw in a spoonful of deception.

    City of Huntsville, I thought we were better than this. The Good Ol Boy network, really? What happened to progress? If you want progress, do what the taxpayers are paying you to do and help build our city in an honest way. There is nothing honest about corrupt groups pretending to do what is in the best interest of the people when their only real interest is personal gain.

  • Jim M

    I think that location would be a great location for a Science Museum like the McWane Science Center in Birmingham. We need a science museum that is representative of Huntsville. SciQuest is moving to an old shopping center in Madison. It should of been in Downtown Huntsville. Who knows it could move once a suitable location is built..

  • Jim M

    I think a great development for the city would be the repurposing of the parking garage across the street from city hall. It takes up an entire city block and it would make an excellent location for a new city hall that overlooks the city. That would free up the old municipal center to add to the green space of big spring park as an amphitheater since the fire station and police station have already moved out..

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