HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Why has construction work stopped out at the CityCentre project, near Big Spring Park? That's a question several viewers have sent into our newsroom.
Back in January, huddled around a space heater inside a tent, the CityCentre project broke ground.
Two months later, not much has changed.
It turns out the problems started, just a few days after the shovels first turned.
“The contractor set up construction trailers to get started, and we had an issue no one really knew about, no fault of anyone," said Shane Davis, Director of Huntsville Urban Development.
The reason you don’t see any dirt being moved around here actually has to do with a problem below our feet. The city says they’re a whole fiber optic network that they forgot about, that’s going to have to be removed, before construction can be resumed.
Davis says the lines were put in place before GPS systems could mark their location.
“We contacted the utilities providers and found out there were live fiber lines providing services through the downtown area,” explained Davis.
Because they're active lines, they have to be replaced, which takes time.
“I’m thinking late April, early May you should see some heavy construction,” he said.
The developer, RCP, assures WHNT News 19, the project is still moving forward.
Phase One will be the AC Marriott Hotel, parking deck, retail space and a food hall. Phase Two and Three are a multifamily apartment complex and a second hotel.
“It’s a critical piece of property downtown. There’s a lot of civic space where the VBC and Big Spring Park and it’s adjacent to the Medical District," said Davis.
In the meantime, what's been dubbed a development in the heart of the city, will remain empty, waiting for it's pulse to return.
City officials say there is a silver lining to this delay. With a stoppage in work, they believe both Phase One and Two should be ready to open around the same time, Summer 2018.
Odie Fakhouri of RCP Companies, told WHNT News 19 in a statement:
We are making adjustments as we discover opportunities to offer a different kind of apartment, hotel, food, and retail experience downtown. It is best to do this on the front end, rather than building empty boxes and trying to find users later. We will continue to make the changes necessary in order to execute what the community has been asking for. Progress is steadfast and this project will be built with critical mass in hand.