Negotiations still ongoing for future of old Coca-Cola bottling plant site

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The site is clear and clearly lacking a "sold" sign. Six months after the old Coca-Cola bottling plant was torn down, property owner Big Springs, Inc. has yet to close a deal.

The company confirmed last June that it had a buyer for the nine acres of land, but Downtown Huntsville, Inc. CEO Chad Emerson said plenty is still bubbling behind closed doors.

"What hasn't changed, it's a really important site. Obviously, right next to the Von Braun Center, which we consider to be one of the best convention centers in the southeast, so that real estate is really valuable. And then add in the fact that you have proximity to the interstate and the parkway and the new avenue development that's going on a few blocks away. We've still got our fingers crossed that it's not going to be a simple process because it will hopefully be a complex project."

The Clinton Avenue location was long thought to be the top spot for a new ballpark, but Emerson said it made more sense for it to be become a mixed-use development. He said negotiations for the site are ongoing, but on their own timeline.

"It's really a transaction between two private parties and so that kind of operates at the speed the private market decides to operate. You'll probably see the viability of a deal, you'll see these forces come together when the asking price makes business sense for a private developer and hopefullly that will be sooner rather than later."

Demolition began a year ago on the plant that stood at the corner of Clinton and Monroe for more than seven decades.

While we do not yet know what will replace the landmark, Emerson said we do know that it will help to continue the revitalization of downtown Huntsville.

"With Twickenham Square, the new road that's coming in- the downtown gateway road, then the Holiday Inn site, the Von Braun Center, the Coke site, you almost see a crescent kind of forming around Big Spring Park. And Big Spring Park is such an amazing asset, you can see why all of these developments are encircling it and hopefully they'll all complement each other, side by side."

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