Tag Archives: Councill Courts

Twickenham Square – $100M downtown development under way

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A team of private developers and city officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday afternoon for the $100 million Twickenham Square project south of downtown.

But work is already well under way to transform the former Councill Courts public housing site across from Huntsville Hospital into a live-work-shop development anchored by 246 loft apartments, a Publix supermarket, Homewood Suites hotel and five-story office tower.

Shoppers can also expect 23,000 square feet of additional retail space and as many as four restaurants, said Sam Yeager of Bristol Development Group.

Mayor Tommy Battle, speaking against a backdrop of pivoting construction cranes and rumbling bulldozers, said Twickenham Square will help give the downtown area the type of “unique urban lifestyle” feel that so many young professionals crave. That should translate into an easier time recruiting new workers to the Rocket City, he said.

Yeager said projects that combine residential, shopping and dining are considered a sort of “Holy Grail” for cities. The 15,000 or so people who work downtown and in the medical district will be able to walk to Twickenham Square for a meal, he said, which means fewer cars on the road and less impact on the environment.

via Twickenham Square — $100M live-work-shop development downtown — now under way (updated) | al.com.

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Deal for Publix, Homewood Suites in Huntsville

Plans to convert the former Councill Courts public housing site into 246 loft apartments, a Publix supermarket and Homewood Suites hotel became official last week when developers purchased the 11.7-acre medical district property from the Huntsville Housing Authority.

According to al.com, Bristol Development Group, PGM Properties and Triad Properties intend to spend about $85 million transforming the property into a high-end retail, residential and office development that will be called Twickenham Square.

Along with a supermarket and hotel, the development will also include several shops, restaurants and an office tower.

via Deal for Publix, Homewood Suites in Huntsville official following purchase of land – Birmingham Business Journal.

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Parking agreements now in place for $85M Twickenham Square

The corner of Gallatin Street and St. Clair Avenue, as seen from Huntsville Hospital’s main parking deck. (The Huntsville Times/Bob Gathany)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The Huntsville City Council approved a series of contracts Thursday night related to an $85 million-plus redevelopment of the former Councill Courts public housing site.

Pearce Construction was hired to build a $9.8 million parking garage at the renamed Twickenham Square, which promises about 240 loft-style apartments, a Homewood Suites hotel, Publix supermarket, large office tower plus additional retail and restaurant space.

The four-story, 941-space city garage could begin rising in September near the corner of Gallatin Street and St. Clair Avenue.

General Services Director Jeff Easter said the city will give Pearce the green light to start work as soon as the private developers involved in Twickenham Square – Triad Properties, Bristol Development Group and PGM Properties – buy the land from the Huntsville Housing Authority.

Gerry Shannon, a Triad executive, said that is scheduled to happen Aug. 9.

“I think this (series of council approvals) gets us to a land closing,” Shannon said Thursday afternoon. “We’ve been working on this piece of property for about two years, so I’m ecstatic.”

Of the eight contractors that submitted bids for the parking garage, Pearce was the cheapest at $7,104,770. Extras requested by the city – including a fourth level, upgraded facade and LED lighting – added another $2.6 million.

The total budget for the garage, including architectural designs and utilities, is $11.8 million.

Finance Director Randy Taylor said the city will cover about $9.2 million from its capital budget, plus current and future Alabama Trust Fund money.

Developers are chipping in $500,000 toward the garage and will pay the entire cost of a smaller parking deck reserved for residents of the Flats at Twickenham Square apartments.

Huntsville Hospital, located caddy-corner from the project, will pay the city $2.1 million to lease 209 spaces on the top floor of the main parking deck.

Spokesman Burr Ingram said those spaces are needed for employee parking.

“With a growing community, you always have to provide more opportunities for parking,” Ingram said Thursday. “Additional (parking spaces) will be appreciated.”

All told Thursday, the council OK’d 12 legal agreements related to Twickenham Square, including parking leases, development agreements and a land swap with the housing authority.

via Parking agreements now in place for $85M Councill Courts redevelopment | al.com.

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Huntsville Housing Authority approves agreement for downtown redevelopment

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The Huntsville Housing Authority today gave its approval to enter a contract with the City of Huntsville that helps clear the way for a new parking garage on the site of the former Councill Courts housing property.

The authority met in executive session for about 30 minutes to finalize terms in its agreement with the city. The garage will be part of a larger redevelopment of the property across from Huntsville Hospital.

The City of Huntsville will pay the authority $380,000 in cash and give it 2.7 acres along Holmes Avenue at the Searcy Homes public housing site in exchange for the deed to a 2.1-acre tract in Councill Courts. The Holmes Avenue property was valued at $210,831 in the deal.

The Councill Courts tract will be the site of a $10 million parking garage that will serve the future development that will include a Homewood Suites hotel, offices, shops, restaurants, a grocery store and more than 230 apartments.

The authority hopes to be able to conclude the deals for the rest of the development in Councill Courts within a month, said Mike Lundy, the authority’s CEO.

The authority expects to receive about $5.5 million through the sale and long-term lease of approximately 11 acres on the Councill Courts site.

The parking garage agreement calls for the deed of that land to be held by the city for 99 years and then revert back to the authority.

The Huntsville City Council is expected to take up the multi-part contracts for approval Thursday night.

During the authority meeting this morning, Mayor Tommy Battle said the agreement marks a significant step forward for the downtown area.

“This makes economic sense,” Battle said, “and dollars and cents for the citizens of Huntsville. We gain both downtown development and revitalization.”

Lundy said the authority accepted the Holmes Avenue property as part of its deal with the city because it is a “great redevelopment site.

Lundy said that today’s agreement follows a vision that the Huntsville Housing Authority had going back to 2004.

“The vision was to provide opportunities for redevelopment of the many public housing sites we have,” Lundy said. “To create affordable housing opportunities, including mixed income properties and to create development opportunities for the entire city.”

via Huntsville Housing Authority approves agreement setting stage for downtown parking garage, redevelopment | al.com.

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Homewood Suites by Hilton will join Council Courts downtown project (Video)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 24, 2012

(Huntsville, AL) – The City of Huntsville announced today that a new Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel will be built in the Councill Courts redevelopment near the intersection of Gallatin Street and Lowe Avenue in downtown Huntsville. The $11.5 million hotel is being made possible through a joint agreement between Triad Properties of Huntsville and PHD Hotels of Auburn.

The City has worked with a number of partners in the private sector to develop new residential, retail, and tourist opportunities at Councill Courts. For its part, the City has agreed to pay $7.6 million toward construction of a $10 million parking garage to anchor the complex. The Councill Courts garage will help serve the hotel, offices, shops, restaurants, grocery store and more than 230 apartments to be constructed in the area. The project is the latest step in the City’s efforts to revitalize downtown and create new economic opportunities with environments where residents can live, work and play.

“Thanks to the commitment of our private-sector partners and our hardworking staff, we have been able to make this ambitious project a reality,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “It is a great time to live in Huntsville as we watch our city grow and flourish. I am eager to see Councill Courts become a star attraction in our city.”

Mayor Battle noted that the hotel will help provide more rooms for the City’s regional hospitals, and it will help Huntsville move toward the 1,000 room “sweet spot,” the benchmark number of hotel rooms the Von Braun Center needs to attract bigger conventions.

The new Homewood Suites by Hilton will occupy a four story building consisting of 101 suites. According to the company, the international brand of upscale, all suite residential-style hotels are meant to be a home away from home and feature complimentary Internet, daily full hot breakfast, separate sleeping and living spaces, as well as evening dinner and drinks Monday-Thursday. Construction on the project is expected to begin this fall.

“We find nothing more exciting than the opportunity to participate in the transition of Mayor Battle’s downtown vision into a reality,” said Triad principal Gerry Shannon. “With a construction start around the corner, the new Twickenham Square is an exceptionally designed, carefully planned project that will become the gateway to our rapidly improving downtown.”

This is PHD Hotels’ third hotel development in Huntsville, including the Homewood Suites at the Village of Providence. “We are very pleased to be a part of such an exciting mixed-use development in downtown Huntsville,” said Tom Hunt, PHD Hotels owner and president. “We believe the Homewood Suites brand, an upscale extended stay hotel, will be the perfect fit for this project.”

PHD Hotels, along with the support of Triad Properties, will develop the project. PHD Hotels has developed and operated 13 hotels in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia since its founding in 1998. The company has won numerous awards from Hilton Hotels Corporation and will manage the new hotel when it opens in the fall of 2013.

“From its inception, we were convinced that downtown, the civic center, the hospital and the City would benefit with a new downtown hotel. Homewood Suites will be an integral component and a key ingredient to the success of the Twickenham mixed-use development,” said Shannon.

Huntsville based Triad Properties has developed and acquired more than eight million square feet of properties throughout the Southeast and Southwest in the past 19 years.

“From a legal, planning, engineering, and parking perspective, this has been an extraordinarily complex transaction,” said Triad principal William Stroud. “Because of Mayor Battle’s leadership and his professional team of talented and creative individuals, we are able to be here today to celebrate this hotel, which will be a key component to the Mayor’s plan for Class A, mixed-use development.”

For more information, contact:

Kelly Cooper Schrimsher, Director of Communications, Office of the Mayor, City of Huntsville, 256-427-5006 (w), kelly.schrimsher@huntsvilleal.gov

via City of Huntsville, Alabama *** Huntsville *** Alabama *** HuntsvilleAL.gov.

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Huntsville leaders full of ideas after visit to Greenville, S.C.(video)

Situated on the Reedy River, downtown Greenville, S.C., is one of the South’s biggest success stories. (Image courtesy City of Huntsville)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Mayor Tommy Battle returned from a weekend fact-finding trip to Greenville, S.C., feeling pretty good about Huntsville’s downtown.

“We’ve got a good start,” Battle said during a Tuesday news conference.

The Greenville trip, organized by the Big Spring Partners downtown redevelopment group, gave Battle and about 50 other local leaders a firsthand look at one of the South’s biggest success stories.

On life support 30 years ago, Greenville’s downtown is now alive with restaurants, public art and loft apartments overlooking pretty parks. Its minor league baseball team, the Greenville Drive, plays in a stadium modeled on Boston’s Fenway Park.

Battle took a Moleskine notebook to South Carolina and jotted down 26 “opportunity items” that he’d like to see in downtown Huntsville. Others on the trip made their own lists.

Greenville’s street signs make it easy for visitors to find downtown attractions. (Image courtesy City of Huntsville)

Easy-to-read street signs that direct visitors to key downtown attractions might be the first outgrowth of the Greenville trip.

Other things on Battle’s wish list will take patience: another “signature hotel” to help the city attract bigger conventions; parking garages with street-level retail space; figuring out the best way to redevelop East Clinton Elementary School after it closes.

“Too much change too quickly is not a good thing,” said Battle, “but no change at all is not good, either.”

“If we accomplish five things off that big list in the first year, we’ve made progress.”

Big Spring Partners Executive Director Mary Jane Caylor said seeing Greenville helped reinforce that downtown Huntsville is on the right track.

Within the past month, the center city has hosted Panoply Arts Festival, WhistleStop Weekend and Rocket City Brewfest. Thursday marks the return of the popular downtown Arts Stroll.

“It validated for me — and I think for a lot of people — that we’re doing a whole lot of good things downtown,” said Caylor.

Greenville has scores of multi-use projects that blend residential, retail and office space, and Battle said Huntsville is moving in that direction.

Twickenham Square, on the former public housing site, will include more than 230 loft-style apartments, a Publix supermarket, hotel, office tower and 22,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space caddy-corner from Huntsville Hospital.

City officials have agreed to provide up to $10 million toward the cost of a parking deck serving Twickenham Square.

Evans Quinlivan, a member of Big Spring Partners’ board of directors, said Greenville began its downtown renaissance 30 years ago by planting lots of trees to beautify the area.

Huntsville needs to continue to invest in downtown, said Quinlivan, because it’s a major drawing card for young professionals.

“If we’re going to continue to attract the best and brightest,” he said, “we’ve got to have a very vibrant downtown.”

via Huntsville leaders inspired, full of ideas after weekend visit to Greenville, S.C. | al.com.

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