HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Mark it down: "The Avenue" will be finished this fall. That's according to the developers, Charlie and Sasha Sealy. Their $35 million project is going to be a big addition to Huntsville's downtown.
"I think it'll be significant. It'll be 197 residential lofts, so... about 300 people living here. You know, on a full-time basis, energizing the streets and bringing more people downtown. And I think it'll increase the energy and vibrancy down here," said Charlie.
The Sealys are obviously in the development business, and that means they want to make money. But Sasha said there's something else they want to do with "The Avenue," and that's to give Huntsville's downtown what it's missing. The new neighbors are certainly part of that, but there's something else.
"It's very exciting, bringing in new retail," said Sasha. In fact there will be nine spots for businesses on the first floor of "The Avenue." "I want to see things that are truly new to this area, that aren't already necessarily in play, and we also see it as an amenity to the building itself, and to the downtown area. It speaks to a vibrant downtown. When you walk through a vibrant downtown, you expect to see businesses, but also restaurants, retail coffee shops in addition to other businesses," said Sasha.
One of the businesses taking advantage of the Sealy's development will be the "Church Street Purveyor." It'll be owned by Stephanie and Matt Mell, who already operate the Church Street Wine Shoppe. The Mells have only been in Huntsville since 2010, but they already love the area and the response to their first venture. "When you start a business, you hope you'll be successful. The response from the community has been huge, and I love every single one of our customers, they're wonderful," said Stephanie.
The Mells say the idea for the new business actually came from their customers. The idea though was a good one. "We feel like there's an opportunity downtown. The growth of the downtown has been astronomical. And you know, with Charlie and Sasha and "The Avenue" being built, it's a great opportunity for additional people to be living downtown. We believe the culture of downtown is growing and we're excited to be part of it," said Matt.
"The Church Street Purveyor" by the way, will offer a wine bar, a place to taste high-end bourbon, craft beer, and food. The Mells feel like it's something the city will embrace. You'll be able to find it at "The Avenue" this fall.