Huntsville city officials disclose plans for demolished city annex site

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Downtown Huntsville's skyline is changing. The city annex is being demolished. Crews began tearing down the building last month.

If you've been in downtown, you might have heard progress being made on the demolition. The majority of the building has been torn down. It's not even recognizable compared to what the structure looked like the day crews began to demolish it.

"It's going very well, for the most part, its moved very quickly. They've got just a little bit of structure left behind me here to get down and then they'll be responsible for removing some of the foundations," Ricky Wilkinson, director of general services for the City of Huntsville said.

The city annex is located on some valuable real estate. It sits right across the street from Big Spring Park. So when the building is completely removed, what will go in its place?

"Once they're finished up they'll bring in some dirt and some out the site the best we can and have some grass growing and just have kind of a green space,"

But it probably won't just stay a green space forever. In fact, there are plans to give this entire corner a complete makeover. The city's general services director, Ricky Wilkinson says plans are in the works to eventually also to rebuild city hall in a new location and tear down the current city hall building.

"The plan is the municipal parking deck which is across the street from that would be demoed, torn down, and then the new city hall would be built on the north part of that property and then we would have a parking deck connected on the south part of that property. That's the current plan," he said.

Wilkinson says the city's master plan has this corner slated as an area for mixed-use space.

"In general mixed-use developments consist of some form of retail, maybe a food and beverage type space, as well as some offices, potential apartments, things like that," Wilkinson detailed.

Leaders want to add to the vibrancy of downtown and give people even more reasons to come to the park.

Plans for the new city hall are in the schematic design phase. The city is working with the company Goodwyn Mills and Cawood to create schematic designs of what the inside of the building could look like.

Officials say the city has yet to enter into a contract with an architecture firm. They should be ready to do that late this year or early 2019.

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