Tag Archives: Cummings Research Park

Huntsville ready to roll with $383M in road upgrades over next 5 years

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Orange construction cones may replace the Saturn V as Huntsville’s unofficial mascot over the next five years.

Mayor Tommy Battle called a Wednesday news conference to update drivers on 27 road construction projects around the city that are recently under way or expected to break ground in the coming months.

The $383 million in planned road work is touching almost every major street in town, including Memorial Parkway, U.S. 72 East and West, Martin Road, Research Park Boulevard, Old Madison Pike and Zierdt Road.

Improving traffic flow is vital to Huntsville maintaining its status as an employment hub for all of North Alabama, said Battle. Currently, an estimated 110,000 workers commute into the city from surrounding areas.

“It is inconvenient having to divert traffic and move people around through construction zones,” said Battle. “But we’re a regional employment center. Our workforce comes from a 14-county area. We have to have the capabilities of getting those people … into the city of Huntsville to work each day.”

The road upgrades are a mix of 15 locally-funded projects and 12 being done in concert with the Alabama Department of Transportation. Huntsville and the state are splitting the estimated $221.5 million cost of new Parkway overpasses at Mastin Lake, Lily Flagg and Byrd Spring roads, widening U.S. 72 East and West, and building the next leg of the Northern Bypass.

Last December, the Huntsville City Council voted to raise sales taxes from 8 percent to 9 percent to finance the city’s share of the road construction partnership.

Here’s an update from Battle and City Engineer Kathy Martin on some key road projects:

New Memorial Parkway overpasses at Byrd Spring and Lily Flagg roads:Design is 90 percent finished; state expected to seek construction bids in March 2015; work on access roads should start mid-2015. Huntsville wants the contractor to move quickly, said Martin, and may offer cash incentives for finishing ahead of schedule. Part of the work will be done at night to try to minimize impact on businesses in that stretch, she said.

New Memorial Parkway overpass at Mastin Lake Road: Design is 30 percent finished; construction scheduled to start late 2016.

Third westbound lane over Chapman Mountain on U.S. 72 East: Reed Contracting has been hired and should start work in October; the job is expected to be finished in April 2016.

Six-laning U.S. 72 West from Providence Main Street to Limestone County line: Concept drawings being reviewed; public involvement meeting planned for later this month; on track for mid-2016 start.

Build Northern Bypass between Pulaski Pike and Memorial Parkway: Design 60 percent finished; next step is acquiring needed right-of-way; on track for mid-2017 start.

Holmes Avenue bridge replacement: Construction is 70 percent complete and should wrap up in January.

Four-laning Zierdt Road between Madison Boulevard and Martin Road:Clearing and Redstone Arsenal fence relocation complete; construction of new northbound lanes on track to start late this year and finish in mid-2016.

Five-laning Martin Road from Zierdt Road to near Huntsville International Airport: First phase from Zierdt to Old Jim Williams Road expected to start early 2016.

Five-laning Winchester Road between Dominion Circle and Naugher Road:Design is 90 percent complete; next step is purchasing needed right-of-way; on track for early 2016 construction start.

Widening Old Madison Pike west of Cummings Research Park: Construction is 70 percent complete and should wrap up in April 2015.

Weatherly Road extension to future Grissom High School site: Construction is 20 percent complete and should be finished by July 2015.

New five-lane section of Church Street between Oakwood and Pratt avenues: Construction is 80 percent complete and on track to wrap up in October.

Huntsville ready to roll with $383M in road upgrades over next 5 years, including 3 new Parkway overpasses | AL.com.

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Huntsville among the best places for home ownership in the U.S.

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Financial literacy and consumer advocacy site NerdWallet has ranked Huntsville and Birmingham-Hoover among some of the best places for homeownership in the U.S.

NerdWallet, which studied 100 populous areas and categorized the winning metros by size, listed Huntsville as its No. 1 small metro and Birmingham-Hoover as its No. 9 large metro for homeownership, affordability and area growth.

The city of Huntsville was lauded for having a homeownership rate of 70.9 percent, median monthly household income of $4,534 and a 1.2 percent population growth from 2011-12. The analysis also found that homeownership costs are 26.6 percent of a resident’s monthly household income in Huntsville.

“Huntsville is located in northern Alabama where the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center anchor the local economy in the technology, space and defense industries,” said Jaime Ortiz, an analyst for NerdWallet. “The area is also home to the University of Alabama in Huntsville where tech-focused programs like UAH’s College of Engineering train a highly skilled workforce. The deep talent pool of engineers attracts top employers like Boeing to Huntsville, providing local residents an abundance of job opportunities.

Other areas to make the small metro list were Fort Wayne, Ind., Myrtle Beach/North Myrtle Beach/Conway, S.C., Charleston, W. Va., Ocala, Fla., Naples/Marco Island, Fla., Columbus, Ga., Springfield, Mo., Fort Collins/Loveland, Colo., and Wilmington, N.C.

The NerdWallet analysis said Birmingham-Hoover has a homeownership rate of 70.1 percent, median monthly household income of $3,888 and a 0.4 percent population growth from 2011-12. The Jefferson County metro averages $1,264 in monthly homeownership costs.

The large metro list featured several other areas, including Raleigh/Cary, N.C.,
Charlotte/Gastonia/Rock Hill, N.C./S.C., Salt Lake City, Indianapolis/Carmel, Ind., Nashville/Davidson/Murfreesboro/Franklin, Tenn., San Antonio/New Braunfels, Texas, Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky., and Denver/Aurora/Broomfield, Colo.

Do you live in one of Alabama’s Top 10 cities? Click here to find out.

via Which Alabama cities are the best places for homeownership? 2 state metros make national list | AL.com.

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Huntsville listed among 8 up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S.

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Is the Rocket City an aspiring Silicon Valley? An Austin-based company ranking America’s eight up-and-coming tech hubs seems to think so.

SpareFoot shined the spotlight on Huntsville in a blog post today highlighting the country’s top emerging tech cities.

In the listing, SpareFoot praised Huntsville for placing 14th last year on Entrepreneur.com’s 25 best U.S. cities for technology startups list. The city was also lauded for having a “startup mover and shaker” like BizTech and “feather in its cap” like Cummings Research Park.

Huntsville companies Bragg Peak Systems, Correlated Magnetics Research, Curse and eTruckBiz were recognized as the city’s “tech stars.”

Other cities included in the listing were: Charleston, S.C.; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas; New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; and Provo, Utah.

In October, Huntsville ranked No. 4 on the Progressive Policy Institute’s list of 25 high-tech U.S. hotspots. Huntsville was also recently the only Alabama city to make Techie.com’s top 10 most promising tech hubs to watch in 2014 list.

Huntsville listed among 8 up-and-coming tech hubs in the U.S. by Austin-based startup | AL.com.

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Madison, Lee counties make CNN Money Magazine’s ‘Where the jobs are’ list

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Cummings Research Park celebrated its 50th anniversary last fall. (Sarah Cole/al.com)

CNN Money Magazine has included Madison and Lee counties on a national list of areas with the best employment opportunities, “making them great places to live and work,” the news organization said.

Madison County ranked No. 7 on a list topped by Columbia County, Ga. (No. 1); Rockwall County, Texas (No. 2); Falls Church, Va. (No. 3); Guadalupe County, Texas (No. 4); and St. Johns County, Fla. (No. 5). Lee County ranked No. 22 on the list.

To see the complete “Where the jobs are” list in CNN Money Magazine, visit theirwebsite.

Using data from the U.S. Census and Onboard Informatics, CNN Money reports job growth from 2010 to 2012 was 11.5 percent in the Huntsville/Madison area. CNN Money said “U.S. military and private defense contractors are commanding growth in Madison County.”

“Army base Redstone Arsenal is rapidly expanding its 37,000-strong workforce,” CNN Money Magazine said. “Defense companies Yulista Management Services and SAIC have both snapped up buildings in the Jetplex Industrial Park, adjacent to Huntsville’s International Airport.”

It also praised Cummings Research Park, Toyota’s recent $150 million V-6 engine investment and Carpenter Technology’s new manufacturing facility, which will employ 200 in Limestone County when it is fully operational.

The joblessness rate was 5.5 percent in Madison County and 5 percent in Lee County in May, according to the state Department of Labor.

Lee County, which experienced 9 percent job growth from 2010 to 2012, was lauded for its proximity to Atlanta and Auburn University, “making it an attractive place to do business.”

Automotive engineering firm APR’s decision to expand its Opelika operationsPharmavite’s new site at Northeast Opelika Industrial Park and GE Aviation’s new facility were mentioned in the magazine ranking.

“Auburn Technology Park West is also home to several growing manufacturers,” CNN Money said. “Donghee America announced plans to make automotive fuel tanks in Auburn and has already begun hiring leaders of the operation, which is expected to employ 80.”

Send Lucy Berry an email at lberry@al.com.

via Madison, Lee counties make CNN Money Magazine’s ‘Where the jobs are’ list | al.com.

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Huntsville ranks No. 3 on list of best places for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math graduates

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Cummings Research Park celebrated its 50th anniversary last fall. Here is a view from the roof and balcony of the ADTRAN building. (Sarah Cole/al.com)

Financial literacy and consumer advocacy site NerdWallet has named Huntsville as one of America’s top 10 best metro areas for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates.

The Rocket City ranked No. 3 on a list with other major U.S. metro areas such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Arlington, Va., and Seattle.

In Huntsville, about 20 percent of total jobs call for a STEM bachelor’s degree or higher, while the average salary for a STEM job requiring a four-year degree or higher is $91,873, NerdWallet reports.

NerdWallet analyst Divya Raghavan studied 357 U.S. metro areas using data she collected from the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. Raghavan said she compiled the list by measuring the total number of jobs that require a STEM bachelor’s degree, average salary and the overall economic health in each metro area.

“Huntsville definitely has strong STEM support and its main industries are ones that require STEM knowledge,” she said. “For recent college graduates in general, the area also has a low cost of living and it might be good for someone who might have a lot of debt or not a lot of savings to start out.”

In the report, Raghavan said Huntsville has strong science, technology, architecture, engineering and computer and math science fields.

“A major part of the Huntsville economy is driven by science- and engineering-related jobs in the defense and space industries,” said Huntsville Career Center manager Mike Fowler.

Here’s NerdWallet’s complete top 10 metro areas for STEM graduates list:

1. San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Calif.

2. Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Va./Md./W.Va.

3. Huntsville

4. San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Calif.

5. Trenton-Ewing, N.J.

6. Boulder, Colo.

7. Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Wash.

8.  Boston, Cambridge, Quincy, Mass./N.H.

9. Ann Arbor, Mich.

10. Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Wash.

To view the full report, visit NerdWallet’s website.

Send Lucy Berry an email at lberry@al.com.

via Huntsville ranks No. 3 on list of best places for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math graduates | al.com.

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Cummings Research Park: Still growing

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The tall building in center is The Westin Huntsville in the Bridge Street shopping complex. In background is US Space & Rocket Center with its Saturn 1B and Saturn V (taller of two rockets). (Huntsville Times file photo/Michael Mercier)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Despite federal budget struggles affecting the outlook for defense contractors, Cummings Research Park – home to thousands of technology, defense and life sciences professionals – is poised for further growth in 2013.

The nation’s second largest research park saw a number of gains last year. Wyle CAS Group announced plans for an $18.75 million facility. AEgis Technologies made $1 million in capital improvements. Companies such as Lockheed Martin, Decibel Research, ASI and Sigmatech all announced new jobs in 2012.

Bridge Street Town Centre based in Research Park is also experiencing growth. Last fall, Belk announced it would build a two-story flagship department store at the shopping center. The store, expected to open in 2014, will be surrounded by 45,000 square feet of additional retail space, a large sit-down restaurant, and 900 new parking spaces.“Year after year, Research Park has brought in high-tech sector jobs and above-average pay,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said in an interview. “It’s been the foundation of our economic development.”

The Chamber of Huntsville-Madison County is working to recruit around 27 new businesses to Huntsville, many of which could bring in anywhere between 200 and a few thousand jobs in a broad range of sectors, Battle said. At a price of less than $100,000 an acre, the city has kept the cost of land in the park relatively low – a key selling point for recruiting new companies.But Battle said the biggest challenge could be a good thing: What if the park is too successful and runs out of land too quickly?Research Park, founded in 1962, has around 430 acres left and sells around 40 acres a year, according to Research Park Director John Southerland. It still has a “pretty substantial amount” of acreage remaining, but at the current pace the park could run out of room in 10 years.

The growth of Redstone Gateway, an office/commercial complex at the northern gate of Redstone Arsenal, might slow that some as companies expanding in Huntsville or moving to the city now have another option.“Even though we expect there to be some government cuts, there is a still a healthy interest in land purchase and renting available space in the park, no question about it,” Southerland said. “We have several we are working on.”Southerland said the unannounced projects are in some traditional aerospace and defense sectors, but also include cybersecurity and other emerging markets that will help further diversify Huntsville’s economy. He said the park – and Huntsville’s economy as a whole – is already much more diversified than it was at the end of the Apollo program. Further diversification in the fields of geospatial, cybersecurity and green energy sectors will continue that. “There’s a lot of growth we’re looking at,” Southerland said. “It may come incrementally or in the form of small offices at first but the great thing is it all brings a chance to diversity. And soon enough, maybe we’ll have the next AdTran or Digium.”Adtran, a telecommunications equipment developer, is Huntsvilles only home-grown publicly traded company. Digium is a Huntsville-based software developer.

The success of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is also breathing new energy into Research Park. The Institute — which brings together life-science researchers and entrepreneurs – has already grown from housing 12 companies when it opened in 2007 to 24 and counting. Larger companies have since acquired four others previously housed at HudsonAlpha.

via Cummings Research Park: Still growing despite federal budget struggles Outlook 2013 | al.com.

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Sunday is National Plug In Day

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, left, shows his Ford Focus Electric to Tennessee Valley EV Drivers founder Josh Pritt at Redstone Energy Demonstration Park in July. (The Huntsville Times/Glenn Baeske)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Electric vehicle enthusiasts will gather at Redstone Energy Demonstration Park on Sunday to celebrate National Plug In Day.

Huntsville is one of more than 60 U.S. cities hosting a Plug In Day event to draw attention to the environmental and economic benefits of plug-in electric vehicles.

Joshua Pritt, who founded the Tennessee Valley EV Drivers group earlier this year, said there are at least 14 plug-in electric cars now on the road in Madison County. “They’re here, and they’re longing to be plugged in,” Pritt said Friday.

Problem is, there are few public charging stations in the Rocket City. Redstone Energy, located at the corner of South Memorial Parkway and Airport Road, has two. The others are at Digium in Cummings Research Park, Landers McLarty Chevrolet and Landers McLarty Nissan.

Sunday’s National Plug In Day event is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will be able to test drive plug-in electric vehicles from Nissan, GM, Mitsubishi and Fisker.

Pritt bought his plug-in electric-gas hybrid Chevy Volt last December. He said he can drive about 3,000 miles on seven gallons of fuel. Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle drives a 2012 Ford Focus Electric donated to the city by Woody Anderson Ford.

via Huntsville electric vehicle enthusiasts will rally Sunday for National Plug In Day | al.com.

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