Tag Archives: Huntsville

Southern Light spending $10M on new fiber-based communications network for Huntsville


Steve Doyle | sdoyle@al.comBy Steve Doyle | sdoyle@al.com  | Follow on Twitter

A Southern Light executive says the company plans to spend “north of $10 million” creating anew high-speed, fiber-optic communications network in Huntsville for commercial users.

At Thursday night’s City Council meeting, Chief Operating Officer Eric Daniels said Southern Light is already hiring and training people who will be involved in deploying the Huntsville network. The Mobile-based cable company will eventually have about 30 employees in the Rocket City, he said.

You can apply for those jobs online atsouthernlightfiber.com/careers/.

Daniels said more details will be revealed June 10, when Southern Light formally announces its entry into the Huntsville market.

Council members welcomed the company Thursday by approving a franchise agreement that allows Southern Light to install its fiber-optic cables within the public right of way.

In exchange, the contract says Southern Light will pay Huntsville a quarterly “use fee” of $2,000 or 5 percent of gross revenues – whichever is greater. The deal runs for 10 years.

Southern Light’s network is a key first step in Mayor Tommy Battle’s plan to make Huntsville a “GIG City” with ultra-fast Internet download speeds of at least one gigabit per second.

Daniels said Southern Light has been transmitting data at those speeds on the Gulf Coast since 2001 and now has the capability of moving data at 10 gigabits per second. A new Southern Light billboard on I-565 near the U.S. Space & Rocket Center reads, “One Gig Is So 2008.”

While Southern Light does not provide content, its cable network links businesses needing to move large amounts of data quickly and allows Internet service providers to supply content.

Southern Light has said it can have fiber-optic cable to the first Huntsville commercial customers within six months.

Meanwhile, Huntsville officials continue to review proposals from 13 other companies interested in providing high-speed, fiber-based Internet to both homes and businesses. The proposals were submitted in April after the city asked potential partners for ideas to upgrade Internet service.

Southern Light spending $10M on new fiber-based communications network for Huntsville | AL.com.

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Developers break ground on The Avenue in downtown Huntsville


Sealy Property Development broke ground today on The Avenue, a new mixed-use project featuring 197 loft apartments and 21,000 square feet of street-level restaurants and retail at the corner of Holmes Avenue and Jefferson Street in downtown Huntsville. (File)


Lucy Berry | lberry@al.comBy Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com  Follow on Twitter

A former nondescript parking lot at the corner of Jefferson Street and Holmes Avenue in downtown Huntsville will soon become a five-story development featuring 197 lofts and 21,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space.

Sealy Property Development, joined by the City of Huntsville and Chamber of Commerce, held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the company’s latest mixed-use endeavor, The Avenue.

Charlie Sealy III, who is developing the $34 million project with his wife Sasha, said the lot where The Avenue will rise was a “bustling” block for much of Huntsville’s history. From 1860 to 1970, he said the site boasted a mix of uses, including a hotel, residences and various businesses.

In the 1970s, Sealy said the downtown area changed as suburban growth occurred. The buildings were eventually torn down, he added.

“Since the ’70s, it’s been vacant,” he said. “Sasha and I really look forward to bringing it back to life and getting activity here in downtown.”

Site work has begun at The Avenue, which has signed letters of intent with new tenants to be announced at a later time. The project also includes a resort-style swimming pool, high-end amenities, an on-site 400-vehicle parking deck and large sidewalks to encourage outdoor dining and pedestrian walking.

The full development will be operational in about 16 months, with some lofts and tenants launching in a year. Golden Construction, which built the $11.5 million Belk Hudson Lofts for the Sealys in 2012, is the general contractor for The Avenue.

With Twickenham Square already open and CityCentre at Big Spring breaking ground this summer, Downtown Huntsville Inc. CEO Chad Emerson said The Avenue will be a game changer for the area.

“This is really important because it anchors the north side of downtown,” he said.

The development agreement allows Sealy’s company to lease the 2.7-acre site from the city for $100 a year for the first 50 years. The rent will jump to $120,000 annually after that period, while the city retains ownership of the property.

AL.com previously reported that the city will spend about $2.8 million in infrastructure improvements to the area surrounding The Avenue. Upgrades include landscaping, brick-trimmed sidewalks, new street lamps and benches, and more on-street parking.

Mayor Tommy Battle called the Sealys “pioneers” of downtown Huntsville living.

“I have a feeling if I know Charlie and Sasha this will be something that is very unique for this area, something that has some very special aspects to it that is hard to match,” he said.

‘Bringing it back to life.’ Developers break ground on The Avenue in downtown Huntsville | AL.com.

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Huntsville/Madison County residential home sales up 16% in April; YTD up 9%

By Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE)  Follow on Twitter
on May 20, 2015 at 11:35 AM, updated May 20, 2015 at 11:36 AM

Click here to view or print the entire April report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

Sales: According the North Alabama MLS, Huntsville/Madison County residential sales totaled 465 units in April, an increase in sales growth of 16.5 percent or 66 units from the same period last year. This represents the best sales results for the month of April since 2007. Year-to-date sales through April are 9.1 percent above 2014.

Forecast: Closed transactions in April were 68 units or 17.1 percent above the Center’s monthly forecast. ACRE’s year-to-date sales forecast through April projected 1,395 closed transactions while the actual sales were 1,562 units, a favorable cumulative variance of 11.9 percent.

Historical sales.jpg
Huntsville/Madison County residential sales improve 16% from last April. Inventory is 5% below monthly peak established in 2014. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 3,061 units, a decrease of 4.5 percent or 144 units from last April and 1.3 percent above the 5-year April average of 3,102 units. New home inventory is up 5.1 percent year-over-year while existing single family inventory is down 6.5 percent.

The inventory-to-sales ratio in April was 6.6 months of housing supply (4.6 months for new construction – up 31.4% from April’14 when it stood at 3.5 months). The market equilibrium (balance between supply and demand) is considered to be approximately 7.0+/- months during April (NSA). Huntsville was again one of Alabama’s most balanced markets in April. The market in April experienced a 2.3 percent (68 units) increase in inventory when compared to the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data indicating April inventory on average (‘1€0-’14) increases by 4.0 percent from the month of March.

Demand: Residential sales in April slipped .6 percent from the prior month which was much stronger than normal. This direction contrast with seasonal patterns and historical data indicating that April sales, on average (’10-‘€14), increase from the month of March by 5.2 percent. New home sales remain somewhat soft, down 20.6 percent from April 2014. Existing single family home sales accounted for 75 percent (up from 65% in April’14) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 21 percent (down from 32% in April’14) while condos were 4 percent of sales (up from 3% in April’14).

Pricing: The Huntsville median sales price in April was $171,000, a slip of 2.3 percent from April 2014 but 7.9 percent above the prior month. This direction is consistent with historical data (’10-’14) indicating that the April median sales price on average increases from the month of March by .3 percent. It’s important to note that pricing can fluctuate from month-to-month as the sample size of data (closed transactions) is subject to seasonal buying patterns so a broader lens as to pricing trends is appropriate. ACRE recommends contacting a local real estate professional to discuss pricing at the neighborhood level.

Industry Perspective: “The spring and summer home buying season has gotten off to a stronger start, reflected in some of the improvement in consumer housing sentiment,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The share of consumers who intend to own rather than rent their next home rebounded after a two-month slide. Meanwhile, home price growth expectations strengthened to the strongest pace since last October. Nevertheless, consumers continue to express concerns about the recent weakening economic conditions…When we consider both the continued caution of consumers and the positive start to the year, we believe that these results support our expectation that 2015 will be a year of modest growth in housing activity.” For full report, go HERE.

Huntsville/Madison County area residential sales up 16% in April; YTD sales up 9% | AL.com.

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Village of Providence tapped in Fortune Magazine article


Village of Providence in Huntsville. (Bob Gathany | bgathany@al.com)


Lucy Berry | lberry@al.comBy Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com  Follow on Twitter

The Village of Providence in Huntsville got a shoutout Wednesday in a Fortune Magazine article on new home trends for 2015.

The live-work-play development off U.S. 72 was praised for being a walkable community with a mix of uses. The mention comes after the Village of Providence was named the 2014 Community of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders.

Village of Providence, developed by brothers David and Todd Slyman, also won the Platinum Award for Best Mixed-Use Community.

” … The award highlights the growing awareness of not only the financial, but the social and even emotional benefits of living in a community with walkable streets, multiple modes of transportation, and a mix of uses,” said Fortune writer Marianne Cusato.

Click here to read the article.

The Village of Providence hosted a ribbon cutting last month for its new Phase VIII expansion, which represents a $25 million investment and will create 52 custom homes.

Only one-third of the Village has been built, and more than $350 million has been invested since its inception. The Village of Providence now has more than 200 homes, 226 apartments, two national hotels, several restaurants and businesses, and over 450 workers.

Cusato said demand for homes in walkable communities like Village of Providence is growing, but the supply is short.

“We’ll see this trend continue — and more and more builders and developers will follow the lead of the Village of Providence,” she said.

Village of Providence tapped in Fortune Magazine new home trends article | AL.com.

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Huntsville’s History and Mystery 2015 Tour

The History & Mystery Tour is a downtown stroll on Sunday, May 17


Proceeds go to the restoration efforts at the Historic Maple Hill Cemetery.

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This Month in Real Estate – May 2015

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Huntsville #2 in Best Places for Tech Jobs – NerdWallet


by Sreekar Jasthi on April 27, 2015 | posted in Cities, Lifestyle

The technology industry is booming, and the benefits are spreading far and wide — in California’s Silicon Valley and beyond. Metropolitan areas across the nation are home to opportunities in a variety of tech jobs.

Companies also are hiring for roles ranging from software developers and Web developers to computer and information research scientists and everything in between. The most successful tech cities are home to big companies or are places that encourage startups through accelerator programs and venture capital investment.

Best of the best

NerdWallet examined the nation’s 370 largest metropolitan areas to find the best places for tech jobs. All of the top 10 places for tech jobs feature more opportunities than the national average of 18 tech jobs for every 1,000 employees. The tech workers on our list are paid very well — every metro area on our list has a relatively higher average salary than the national mean of just under $70,500. Only one place in our top 10, however, has a lower median rent than the average median rent of the places we analyzed.

Here’s what we analyzed to find the best places for tech jobs:

Size of the tech industry. We examined the number of tech jobs for 1,000 employees in each metro area, using 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Income for tech jobs. We looked at the annual mean salary for tech jobs in each area. We also considered the median gross rent as a cost-of-living metric to see how far the average income went in every place.

For more information on affordability in U.S. cities, check out NerdWallet’s cost of living calculator. For similar studies and more, visit NerdWallet Cities.

Key takeaways

Tech jobs are geographically diverse. Some places on our list are expected — Silicon Valley and Seattle — but tech hubs are found throughout the country. On the East Coast, tech companies are thriving in the Washington, D.C., corridor and the Boston metro area. To the south, there’s Huntsville, Alabama, and the Research Triangle in North Carolina. Boulder, Colorado, and the Silicon Hills of Austin, Texas, also made our list.

Information technology is the leader. Although all tech industry careers are flourishing, most of the top places on our list are computer science and information technology hubs. Opportunities in other areas, such as aerospace, biotech and other science- and research-based fields are most popular in the South’s Research Triangle and in Huntsville.

Want to be first to know about future NerdWallet studies? Click here to have updates sent to your inbox.

Best places for tech jobs in 2015

2. Huntsville, Alabama

The heart of the Southern tech scene is in Huntsville, Alabama. In Rocket City, 68 of every 1,000 jobs are in technology-related fields. Average salaries are on the lower end of our list at $92,296 annually, but median rent is cheapest at $725 a month. The city also made our list of Best Places for Engineers. The main drivers in Huntsville are at Cummings Research Park, a science and technology business park with hundreds of companies, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

via Best Places for Tech Jobs – NerdWallet.

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