HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Holiday Inn, near the Von Braun Center, will be close their doors December 15, leaving employees looking for new jobs weeks before Christmas.
Since the closure announcement last month, human resource managers at the property have been working with other local employers to find new jobs for staff, but so far only about half of those employees been placed, according to the Holiday Inn’s general manager.
City leaders announced November 1, during a media briefing, that a “job fair” would be held for employees. Officials say those plans are still being worked out but so far the job fair has not happened.
Thursday afternoon WHNT News 19 confirmed the Chamber of Commerce for Huntsville/Madison County will announce plans of the job fair early next week, but exact plans have not been announced.
“We have been working hard behind the scenes to get other jobs lined up for our people,” Holiday Inn general manager Jim Larkin says.
Larkin says most of the hotel’s housekeeping staff has been offered new jobs at the 101-room Homewood Suites in Twickenham Square that is still under construction.
Big Spring Partners and the City of Huntsville say once the Holiday Inn is demolished the site will be available for redevelopment and the space could include a new hotel, restaurants, and residential living space.
“This facility has been an important asset to our downtown for many years,” said John Stallworth, Big Spring Partners, Inc.’s board chairman. “We are pleased that this site will continue to serve downtown as a key redevelopment site for years to come.”
Mayor Tommy Battle said the possibilities for redevelopment are unlimited.
“This is a phenomenal location in our downtown area,” said Mayor Battle. ”As we reposition this property, we want to see proposals that will bring excitement to our community and bring even more energy to downtown.”
Chief Executive Officer for Downtown Huntsville, Inc. said the location will allow downtown to grow.
“Downtown Huntsville has realized important development growth over the last several years. This site is ideally positioned to serve as a signature location in that continued revitalization,” said Emerson.
The downtown Holiday Inn, which originally opened as a Hilton, is a 270 room hotel. President/CEO for the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau Judy Ryals said that a Homewood Suites located in the new Twickenham Square development will bring more hotel rooms to the area in the next few months.
Downtown Huntsville, Inc. is encouraging residents to share their ideas and thoughts on what they would like to see at the property.
“We’d like to hear what our residents want to see downtown,” said Emerson. ”Whether it’s a mixed use urban development, a downtown ballpark, a new hotel, more park space, or anything in between, we really want to know what people feel will be the best use for the property.”
You can share your ideas and get updates on all of the latest activity downtown by visitingwww.DowntownHuntsville.org