HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – More than 70 years of Huntsville history is rapidly disappearing at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Monroe Street.
The sprawling former Coca-Cola bottling plant – a downtown landmark since the 1930s – is in the process of being dismantled.
Big Springs Inc., which owns the prime property across from the Von Braun Center, is clearing the site before selling it to be redeveloped.
John Wynn, chairman of Big Springs’ board of directors, confirmed for our news partners at al.com Wednesday that the company has a buyer for the land.
“What we’ve always said about that parcel is it’s one of the key opportunity sites – one of the most important parcels in the city,” explains Downtown Huntsville, Inc. CEO Chad Emerson. “Because of access to both I-565, the Parkway, visibility and then frankly, being right there next to the Von Braun Center and some of the other great developments going on around there so it remains one of the highest priority sites.”
Property owners are under a confidentiality agreement not to name the potential buyer or how the property may be used in the future.
John Wynn, chairman of Big Springs’ board of directors, says although most of the exterior walls are down, crews still have to remove the foundation of the building. That work probably won’t be finished until late August or early September, he said.
Wynn said if several pending factors come together the deal would likely close 60 to 120 days after the site is totally cleared.
“A site like that, that size and that key location – you want to get multiple uses that compliment each other,” Emerson says. “You don’t want to just get an office building and stick it in the middle and put parking around it. That’s not the appropriate type of use or the appropriate type of form. You want it to be pedestrian friendly, so think about building that are brought to the street like Twickenham Square.”
Big Springs Inc. closed the bottling plant in mid-2012, citing rising production costs and other factors. The company now buys soft drinks from other regional beverage producers. Its 25-acre distribution facility on Meridian Street is responsible for getting the drinks to stores and restaurants across Madison and Limestone counties.