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.

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