HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Could west Huntsville become the new Five Points? This in the know will tell you the area roughly encompassed by the Parkway on the east, Triana Boulevard on the west, Governors Drive on the north and Drake Avenue on the south is about to be in high demand -- especially when it comes to the housing market.
Many would also say the expected influx has something to do with a recent departure; the 2008 removal of a large homeless mission next door to Lowe Mill. But others will tell you the 'hot' factor is less about schools and more about affordability and lifestyle.
"I definitely think it's the next hot market," says Huntsville City Long Range Planner Dennis Madsen.
What west Huntsville has as an old neighborhood, historically well-designed, it has always maintained: proximity to downtown and major employment hubs like Huntsville Hospital and Cummings Research Park. Of course, cycles can happen in any once-booming neighborhood -- divestment over the course of generations. But west Huntsville's resurgence isn't just about location, but amenities.
"You have places like Lowe Mill, Stone Middle, Merrimack Hall, the proximity to Brahan Springs and John Hunt Park all are extraordinarily important and things that communities can build on," Madsen says. "And another thing that helps, really, is that the market hasn't quite found it yet so you can still get some housing there for a fairly reasonable amount of money."
Lowe Mill Media Director Dustin Timbrook just put down roots right across the street from the arts and entertainment complex; his home away from home. He says it's about affordability as much as lifestyle.
"I think that's why it's the hot new neighborhood is because people like you and me, youngsters, we can afford to buy a house here and you can't really do that in Five Points right now unless you're making more than a local TV reporter slash Lowe Mill promoter," Timbrook grinned.
Housing market aside, Timbrook says what's shifting most is people's perceptions.
"It's still a very low-income neighborhood but poor and criminal are not the same thing; it's a low-income neighborhood, it's not a bad neighborhood, it's not an unsafe neighborhood."
Though it might not play a huge factor in influx for some time, the area was just rezoned from Butler High School to Columbia High School, a relatively new school in Huntsville's Cummings Research Park.