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Big Spring Square to come to old Holiday Inn site

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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.


  • Nuclear Mike

    Chad’s buddies from Greenville, SC were expected to score big thru Downtown, Inc. and they have…now for the off-shore companies to disclose their true investors & owners…

  • Say What

    New downtown taxpayer supported economic subsides that will put out of business the old taxpayer supported economic subsidies (like Bridge Street and the Madison Square Mall before it) and make the old taxpayer supported economic subsidies into new gray fields! And the cycle continues!! Now that is what I call great use of taxpayer money (actually, it is if you are on the receiving end of those taxpayer supported economic subsidies)!!

  • JJ MacCrimmon

    In reading some of the comments, y’all apparently don’t get out too much do you? This is how cities keep their downtown areas alive. When a business closes (and the Holiday Inn site was a business on property leased from the City), you either bring in something to replace it hiring workers and spending money on facilities; or let it rot. I’d prefer to see a vibrant downtown with a mix of business, residences and parks which this development will compliment.

    • Nuclear Mike

      The Holiday Inn was infested with bed bugs & black mold…renovation was too expensive for the ROI.

      BUT, “green spaces” are not a priority for the quality of life for the Downtown residents only the profiting by a few which will devalue the already existing downtown business as the revenues continue to decline & be diluted among the food trucks & other poorly attended events…simply put, there is not enough disposable income to go around for all in downtown to expect success…green spaces are very much in order, but not the priority of our elected City Leaders.

      • Say What

        Grass, streams, and trees do not control political campaigns — rich people (developers and investors) and corporations do!!

    • Say What

      I get out plenty. I have seen over the many decades of my life how this movie goes! At one time, politicians spent billions of taxpayer dollars to “support” new development outside the city centers. At that time, the suburbs were where everyone was “encouraged” to live. Developers created suburban residential Disneylands! Move out of those dirty cities and live in the hinterlands, they cried, with their gleaming highways taking shoppers to malls and homes with nice lawns and backyard swimming pools.

      Now, those areas are dying while we use more taxpayer dollars to “encourage” people to come back to the cities that old developers (using taxpayer dollars in the past) encouraged us to leave decades ago! As I said before, the only ones making out in this taxpayer dollar marry-go-round are the rich that we call “investors” as they pocket even more taxpayer dollars to develop today’s greatest new residential ideas! They will be back with “new” ideas when today’s “plans” fizzle out!

      • Bill

        Tommy Battle’s pockets just got greener. I’m glad for Huntsville, but there are folks in the wings that are getting some kind of kick backs. City business as usual.

  • Harry Martin

    This will help Huntsville fulfill its promise to AGENDA 21. Provide more living space in town, with shops, so people will not mind so much when their cars are forbidden.There is so much more to this!

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