HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A development that has endured delays is now approved to come into the city of Huntsville. Thursday, the Huntsville City Council approved a development agreement for Constellation, a mixed-use development including apartments, retail, restaurants and office space, to the outskirts of downtown.
Constellation is 12 acres at the site of the SpringHill Suites on Heart of Huntsville Drive along Clinton Avenue, bordering Memorial Parkway. The project includes two phases:
City officials said the developer plans to break ground in the fall.
They called this the "front door of downtown," adding that the city will commit to helping pay for construction of the parking garage and for road improvements at the intersections for safety and efficiency. They said the parking license means the city gets rights to 40% of the proposed parking facilities, adding parking capacity to that area of the city. Huntsville will pay in two installments of $1 million at certain points during the construction:
"That gives us confidence that the project will move forward," Davis said. "We know there will be a return on investment to our citizens."
He added that the city will get payback for its investment in the form of property taxes collected and sales and use taxes, in just over two years.
"We've been working on this project for an extended period of time because it is a hard project. It is an expensive project," said developer Scott McClain. "This is a way we can proceed to eliminate what some people consider an eyesore at the front door of our city. Clinton Avenue is a main entrance into downtown. We hope to bring something that is distinctive and very important. This is a plan that will work."
McClain added that there is a demand for parking and office space in that portion of the city, and this will satisfy a need. He added that there is a known shortage of restaurants in the city, and the restaurants he plans to bring to Constellation will be "national," mostly new to the area and state.
"We are not likely to complete with a Target shopping center or a mall," he said. "This is going to be a place of Class A expensive restaurants."
He added, "This is not going to be Stovehouse. It's not going to be Clinton Row. This is more of a national project... we are not competing with those places."