Tag Archives: Cummings Research Park

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


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.


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


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


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


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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The Villas at Research Park designed for empty-nesters

Eric Schultz/The Huntsville Times

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — There are 21 acres out here among some of the city’s best-known addresses. They are 21 acres that once looked “desolate,” in the estimation of Dave Schram, one of the managers.

Now, it’s anything but desolate.

There’s a private clubhouse and pool, along with easy access to restaurants and walking trails.

The homes are the centerpieces. They’re two- and three-bedroom houses, ranging from 1,328 to 2,041 square feet.

Prices are from the $150,000s to $219,900.

“We call it a private gated community,” Schram said.

The formal name, though, is The Villas at Research Park. It opened last September on Moore Farm Circle in west Huntsville.

The first phrase was the opening of 12 new ranch-style homes. Four are now under construction.

The next phase will be the building of two- and three-bedroom garden homes with rear-entry garages, private backyard and Tuscany-style courtyards.

Plans call for a total of 128 homes.

“The idea is zero maintenance,” Schram said. “We take care of everything – all outside landscape and maintenance. All (residents) have to worry about is the interiors.”

Construction on the garden homes is scheduled to begin in September.

“Empty-nesters is the buzz word – people who are downsizing,” Schram said. “Couples are downsizing but (want) quality of life. (They) come home on the weekends and don’t want to work in the yard.”

Other target audiences include young professional and parents of Research Park employees who want to be closer to their children. The development is near Cummings Research Park, Bridge Street and Westside Centre, anchored by Target.

Schram says the homes are built to AARP standards – one story and no steps.

“The 21 acres looked desolate,” Dave Schram said.

Some fences were put up. The entrance and other areas were landscaped. Some berms were installed.

Bricks and rocks were added. The roads received a new coat of asphalt. Gates were scheduled to be installed this week.

Homes have stone and brick detail. The three-bedroom homes have formal dining rooms, sunrooms, breakfast rooms and large kitchens and master baths.

The garages are designed to accommodate storm shelters.

via The Villas at Research Park designed for empty-nesters and young professionals | al.com.

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