HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Today city leaders introduced some out-of-state guests -- who have big plans for the old Holiday Inn downtown.
Say hello to the future site of Big Spring Square. A work-play-live complex designed for downtown.
"The city wanted the former Holiday Inn site to redevelop into a site with significant retail presence, an urban high-density design with a pedestrian connection between downtown and other destinations throughout the core," said Michelle Jordan, planning director for the city of Huntsville.
City administration has been in talks with firms since May. But they had a specific idea in mind that led them to Central Realty Holdings of Greenville, South Carolina.
"It hit retail, it hit residential, it also hit hotel," explained Mayor Tommy Battle. "It had the full package of what we were looking for in urban development."
"There's going to be a hotel, a boutique hotel, they're still deciding on the brand, but it will be new to the market," said Dennis Madsen, Huntsville's long range planning manager. "Probably two to four restaurant spaces scattered around the bottom, and then multi family residential or apartments or condos."
The aquatic center sits on land that will also be part of the parking deck, hotels, residential and retail space of the new complex. Mayor Battle said in Monday's press conference that a handicap-accessible aquatic center will be included in the natatorium the city is building.
The $70 million Big Spring Square plan is set to be a key piece to creating a booming downtown around the centerpiece: Big Spring Park.
"This really can help establish what kind of pedestrian active environment can be for around Big Spring Park," said Madsen.
City planners say the mixed-use developments goes along with a trend in bustling downtown districts.
"We're seeing a mix of residential, dining, and all of those things that really get a 24-7 environment," said Madsen.
Mayor Battle is happy to give new life to a site with a long Huntsville history.
"Now we're paving way. We're taking down the old and putting in the new and starting a new page of history," said Battle.
Central Realty Holdings has produced similar work-play-live hubs in Atlanta. City planners look forward to extending Huntsville's growing downtonw.
"Folks go in Humphrey's, and the bars on Jefferson and get a good feel of what that streetscape is like. This is going to be very similar," said Madsen.
The hotel building will be demolished in November. Big Spring Square is set for a summer 2016 completion.