Tag Archives: Madison

Town Madison developers negotiating with 10 big box stores

Conceptional drawing of what the main retail, restaurant and entertainment portion of Town Madison could resemble when it opens in late 2016 or early 2017.

Conceptional drawing of what the main retail, restaurant and entertainment portion of Town Madison could resemble when it opens in late 2016 or early 2017.

Negotiations are in the works with 10 potential anchor stores for Town Madison, which the retail developer for the 800,000-square-foot shopping center said it right on schedule for recruiting the first tenants.

Josh Beyer, vice president of development for the Florida, Gulf Coast region of The Sembler Company, which is handling retail end of the $400 million mixed-use development, said he’s not yet a liberty to announce which stores he is negotiating with, but they are all big box type of retailers that are key to establishing the shopping center.

Traditionally, developing large shopping centers begins with securing the anchor stores first, and then the smaller retailers come on board, he said. The anchor stores will occupy about 300,000 square feet, he added.

Beyer was in North Alabama on Monday and Tuesday meeting with local officials, including Madison City Council on Monday night to finalize an agreement for $3 million in tax incentives in return for constructing a series of new road improvements surrounding a new 130,000-square-foot shopping center at Browns Ferry Road and Wall Triana Highway.

Sembler was involved in the first phase of developing Valley Bend Shopping Center in Jones Valley, which now has grown into 414,000-square-foot center. It’s anchored by Hobby Lobby, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, Petsmart and a SuperTarget.

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Land has been cleared of trees at the along Zierdt Road and Interstate 565 in recent weeks in preparation for development of Town Madison. The mixed-use development calls for 800,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space plus 625,000 square feet of office space. (Photo by Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)

View full sizeLand has been cleared of trees at the along Zierdt Road and Interstate 565 in recent weeks in preparation for development of Town Madison. The mixed-use development calls for 800,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space plus 625,000 square feet of office space. (Photo by Paul Huggins/phuggins@al.com)

Gov. Robert Bentley helped local officials break ground on Town Madison in August. In all, Town Madison will encompass 700 acres along Interstate 565 and Zierdt Road. Conceptual plans show 800,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and restaurant space. Lennar Commercial is partnering on Town Madison and is handling the commercial development of 625,000 of office space.

The land for the retail area has been cleared of trees in recent weeks, and developers continue to work on site plans for store layout and roads.

The City of Madison and Madison County Commission created a cooperative district that will allow local developer Louis Breland to take out a $20 million bond to pay for new roads and other infrastructure improvements, including a new interchange with Interstate 565. Breland will get a tax break on Town Madison until his investment is recouped.

Beyer said the new interchange and road supporting the shopping center must be complete before any of the stores will open. He anticipates opening in late 2016 or early 2017.

Town Madison developers negotiating with 10 big box stores | AL.com.

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1,000 new rooftops to rise on Madison’s western horizon

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A thousand new residential rooftops will be popping up in eastern Limestone County, based on recent rezoning proposals to the City Council.

On Monday, the council announced public hearings on rezoning for three separate parcels totaling 176 acres. Combined with the rezoning in July of 158 acres on Huntsville Brownsferry Road, Madison can expect to add more than 1,000 single-family homes, said Mayor Troy Trulock.

“There’s another 600 in the pipeline,” he added.

The 1,000-home estimate will take two to five years to play out completely, the mayor said, so there’s going to be plenty of ongoing construction work in western Madison.

Mungo Homes will likely be the first to break ground should the rezoning requests be approved Sept. 22. It seeks to rezone 58 acres at the northwest corner of Burgreen and Powell roads from agriculture to R-3A single-family detached residential. The 58 acres will be combined with another parcel already zoned residential for a total of about 100 acres.

There’s another 600 in the pipeline.” – Mayor Troy Trulock

The largest of the three rezoning request is from Murphy Homes. It calls for 89 acres on the south side of Hardiman Road and east of Segers Road to be changed from agriculture to R-3A single-family detached residential. The smallest of the three comes from Woodland Homes. It seeks to change 29 acres from agriculture to single-family residential. The property is east Segars Road and across from the entrance to Hardin Oak Drive.

District 4 Councilman Mike Potter, who represents some areas west of County Line Road, said the growth is going to put “tremendous pressure” on Hardiman, Burgreen and Segers roads, and the city must get plans in place so the infrastructure can handle the large amount of traffic. A key part of that will be partnering with the Limestone County Commission, he added.

“Our school system’s got to be concerned, too,” District 1 Councilman Tim Holcombe said.

Potter referenced the new 700-acre Town Madison retail and commercial development as making the expected, rapid growth of new homes easier to bear.

While there’s some tax revenue generated from the construction phase of home building, he said property taxes are not enough to offset the cost of providing city services to them. Without retail taxes on the side, “rooftops translate to negative numbers.”

1,000 new rooftops to rise on Madison’s western horizon; 176 acres sought for rezoning | AL.com.

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Madison city schools far exceed national average scores on ACT ASPIRE test

Madison City Schools’ scores far exceed the national average in all grades tested on the ACT Aspire tests, with all schools in Madison City excelling, the school district reports.

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Mill Creek Elementary School. (File photo)

Dr. Dee Fowler, superintendent of education for Madison City Schools, released the results in a districtwide communication sent Friday. The ASPIRE is the elementary and middle school equivalent of the ACT test that high school students take.

“Many had warned that since the state of Alabama was going to a nationally-normed test that our scores would falter. Not so in Madison,” Dr. Fowler said. “The high expectations and commitment to perform at a high level that you, our community and our schools possess make all the difference.”

We all know that their success begins at the earlier grades. Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of our elementary and middle schools.”

The ASPIRE tested third through eighth grade in reading and math. It replaced the ARMT-Plus and serves as an important assessment for instruction and teaching practices. Dr. Fowler said he is proud of the ASPIRE results in Madison’s elementary and middle schools.

“On many occasions we celebrate the accomplishments of our high schools for making America’s best high schools list, the impressive number of merit scholars they produce and having our seniors earn so much scholarship money,” the superintendent said. “We all know that their success begins at the earlier grades. Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of our elementary and middle schools.”

Dee Fowler
Madison Superintendent Dee Fowler (File photo)

The ASPIRE is a nationally normed test with the national average being represented by the 50th percentile. Results shared by Fowler show that Madison students were 30 points or higher than national average on 11 of 12 categories for reading and math in six different grades:

  • Third graders; reading 82 percentile; math 76 percentile
  • Four graders: reading 80 percentile; math 85 percentile
  • Fifth graders: reading 80 percentile; math 82 percentile
  • Sixth graders: reading 83 percentile; math 86 percentile
  • Seventh graders: reading 81 percentile; math 82 percentile
  • Eighth graders: reading 82 percentile; math 84 percentile

Each child that took the test will be given an individual score sheet. The Alabama Department of Education is in the process of printing these sheets, which the school district will pass on to families, along with a more detailed explanation of how to interpret the child’s scores.

This score sheet will show how he or she scored compared to the national average and will also give a readiness score. The readiness score is intended to show how well prepared the child is for further education and career training.

Madison elementary, middle schools far exceed national average scores on ACT ASPIRE test | AL.com.

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Bob Jones, James Clemens among nation’s best high schools

Bob Jones High first day of class 2014

Students at Bob Jones High School in Madison wait for class to begin on the first day of the 2014-2015 school year. The school was named to The Daily Beast’s 2014 list of top high schools in the U.S. (File photo)

Madison’s two high schools, along with seven others across Alabama, were ranked among the best in the nation this week by The Daily Beast.

Bob Jones High School ranked at No. 292 and James Clemens High, in just its third year of existence, ranked at No. 697 out of the 735 schools named to the list.

“We used six indicators culled from school surveys to compare public high schools in the U.S., with graduation and college acceptance rates weighed most heavily,” The Daily Beast reported. “Other criteria included: college-level courses and exams, percentage of students with free or reduced lunch as well as SAT and ACT scores – another mark of how well a school prepares students for college.”

Madison was the only school district in Alabama to have more than one school make it into the rankings, said John Peck, public relations manager for Madison City Schools. Peck said the latest ranking was made more impressive by the fact that it included magnet schools, charter schools and schools that allow enrollment by lottery or application.

“I’m so proud of the Bob Jones kids and teachers,” said Robby Parker, principal of Bob Jones. “I admit I’m biased, but they are the best in the nation. I’ve always said that, but data backs it up.”

James Clemens High School opening day

James Clemens High School students go through a class change on the first day of school in August 2012. The school, now in its third year of existence, was named to The Daily Beast’s 2014 list of top high schools in the U.S. (File photo)

James Clemens High School students go through a class change on the first day of school in August 2012. The school, now in its third year of existence, was named to The Daily Beast’s 2014 list of top high schools in the U.S. (File photo)

James Clemens principal Brian Clayton said he is also pleased the school made the list, particularly since it is such a young school.

“It’s a result of our great faculty and staff and our elementary and middle schools that send them here,” Clayton said. “We look forward to remaining on the list and ranking even higher.”

The Daily Beast ranks Bob Jones, James Clemens among nation’s best high schools | AL.com.

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Madison planners OK layout of Villages of Oakland Springs; first Traditional Neighborhood District

Developers for the new neighborhood center project anticipate earth grading for the 349-lot subdivision to begin in two to three months after getting their layout plat approved by the Madison Planning Commission on Thursday.

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At this point, the focus is on working out the technical details of the project’s infrastructure and then following up with getting the single-family homes built, said Ron Roberts, one of the partners developing 157 acres on Huntsville Browns Ferry Road into what’s being called Villages of Oakland Springs.

About 15 acres of that property is dedicated for commercial use, which will be constructed in the same manner as Village of Providence in Northwest Huntsville.

There’s nothing to announce yet on what’s coming on the commercial side of the project because those designs are still being planned, he said.

Roberts’ partner, Todd Slyman, said it could take years to fully develop the retail and office aspect of Oakland Springs, because ultimately, it will be determined by the growth of eastern Limestone County.

“You have to have the population growth in order to get some of those things that happened over in Providence, he said. “But sure, the goal is to have another neighborhood center. The goal is to end up with a similar product.

“Now, is it going to have all the same elements, I don’t know yet. Depends on how things develop out there and how things go. Demand will determine what the retail becomes. As that area grows, we’ll have a better idea of what to bring in there and make that work,” Slyman said.

Asked whether he learned any valuable lessons from developing Providence that might benefit Oakland Springs, Slyman said he couldn’t pinpoint anything specific other than learning the right ways to execute plans, because for the most part, Providence played out as planned.

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“We really haven’t varied from the original plans from the way we originally designed it,” he said. “It’s come together really well. It’s kind of the vision we had from the beginning.”

One popular element of Providence that is already incorporated into layout plat for Oakland Springs is a park-like “common area” in the middle of the subdivision. Providence has used its common area for outdoor concerts and movies. Plans for the common area in Oakland Springs call for green space next to a small lake.

The location is in the middle of cotton fields along an old farm to market road, and it’s about a 1.5 miles from the closest residential subdivision. Still, the location is prime for growth, Slyman said, because it’s minutes away from what families need, such as James Clemens High School, Madison Hospital and Publix.

One of the access points into the subdivision is directly across from where Holladay Road ends at Huntsville Browns Ferry Road

“Holladay Road is a great addition,” Slyman said of the five-lane roadway that begins at U.S. 72. “It’s basically coming right into the project. It’s a five-lane driveway.”

Oakland Springs also is less than two miles from County Line Road to the east and a straight 6.5 miles from the interchange at Interstate 65 to the west.

The planning commission discussed the challenge ahead of providing sufficient roadways for the rapidly growing area of western Madison. The existing county roads are not built for high volume of daily commuters. As part of the Oakland Springs project, the city is asking for 120 feet of right of way for the future widening of Huntsville Browns Ferry Road.

Madison planners OK layout of Villages of Oakland Springs; first Traditional Neighborhood District months away from construction | AL.com.

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Huntsville/Madison County residential median sales price establishes new peak

Click here to view or print the full quarterly report compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

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View full sizeHuntsville/Madison County median sales price up 8% from 2nd Quarter 2013. Infograph courtesy of North Al MLS & ACRE. All rights reserved.

Pricing: According to the North Alabama Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the median sales price in the Huntsville/Madison County reached a new peak during the 2nd quarter at $175,633 which is also 8.0 percent from the same quarter in 2013. Historical data indicates that second quarter median price in 2014 increased by 4.9 percent from the most recent 3-year average and 4.0 percent from the 5-year quarterly average (’09-’13).

Supply: The housing inventory average during the second quarter was 3,215 units, an increase of 4.8 percent from the same period in 2013 and .8 percent below the second quarter peak in 2010 (3,240 units). There was 7.1 months of housing supply (6 months considered equilibrium during 2nd quarter) in the second quarter 2014 versus 6.6 months of supply last year, an increase of 7.1 percent. Historical data indicates that the second quarter inventory-to-sales ratio in 2014 decreased 1.4 percent from the 5-year average (7.2 months – best market performance in Alabama during this window) and decreased 2.8 percent from the 3-year average.

Demand: Residential sales during the second quarter by Huntsville standards can only be described as sluggish, a small slip of 2.4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. The second quarter sales remain 28.7 percent off the peak experienced in 2003 when 1,912 units were sold. Historical data indicates that second quarter sales in 2014 increased by 6.6 percent from the most recent 3-year average (’11-’13) and 5.5 percent from the 5-year quarterly average (’09-’13).

The Huntsville/Madison Residential Quarterly Report is provided compliments of the ACRE Corporate Cabinet.

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The Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly Report is work product developed in conjunction with the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS to better serve North Alabama consumers. The ACRE monthly report is provided to illustrate the “general” market direction & trends when comparing prior periods with the most current available data. Real estate is local and statistics will fluctuate between areas within a city including subdivisions. ACRE recommends that you consult a local real estate professional for “specific” advice associated with your market.

About ACRE. ACRE was founded in 1996 by the Alabama Real Estate Commissionthe Alabama Association of REALTORS and the Office of the Dean, UA Culverhouse College of Commerce. ACRE is not a state-funded entity, rather its operates in part because of the goodwill & generosity of our statewide ACRE Partners.

Alabama real estate resources & news, please visit our website and our ACRE blog. You can also follow ACRE from our facebook page, just “like” http://www.facebook.com/acreua and/or follow on twitter at @uaacre.

 Huntsville/Madison County Residential Quarterly Report: “2nd quarter median sales price establishes new peak” | AL.com.

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Madison City Council OKs rezoning for new midtown shopping center

A new shopping center is coming to Wall Triana Highway and Browns Ferry Road after the City Council rezoned about 22 acres of empty fields.

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View full sizeThe Madison City Council on Monday rezoned about 22 acres on the northeast corner of Wall Triana Highway and Browns Ferry Road. The rezoning will allow for a new shopping center.

That didn’t sit well with more than two dozen residents from the surrounding neighborhoods who said convenient shopping is not an acceptable trade-off for the peacefulness they will lose with increased traffic.

“Shopping’s not everyone’s quality of life,” said Lois Brown, a Madison Trace resident, who said she will lose her quiet evenings sitting outside once a shopping center opens. “Please, please help us keep that quality of life. That’s why we moved from Huntsville to Madison. Please don’t make us move to Harvest or Monrovia to get back that quality of life.”

Eleven residents pleaded with the council to reject The Sembler Company’s request to rezone the property from R-2 medium density residential to B-2 community commercial district. This will allow grocery stores and small retail businesses to locate a few blocks west of Kroger on Hughes Road.

Shopping’s not everyone’s quality of life.” – Lois Brown, Madison Trace resident

Josh Beyer, vice president of development for Sembler, said he couldn’t divulge which particular stores they seek for the shopping center, but he said neighborhood service shopping centers typically have a grocery store and smaller retail outlets, such as the Publix on County Line Road.

“This would be a lot smaller,” he said, compared to the Publix on County Line Road. He added it would not include a big box home improvement type store.

The residents opposed to the rezoning said the property has been zoned residential for 20 years and some specifically made sure it wasn’t going to be commercial before they bought their houses. They told the council it should stick with what’s on the books. Some also argued that a new shopping center won’t really add much because it will take away business from existing stores, ultimately creating more empty storefronts.

Toby Stauch said there are enough empty storefronts in Madison already to accommodate retail growth.

Before the vote, which passed 6-1, with Councilman Tim Holcombe the lone dissenter, Council President Tommy Overcash said some residents behind where Publix had the same concerns but their fears were not realized.

Councilman Mike Potter said he researched the 11 homes within two blocks of Publix that sold since it opened, which showed two decreased in value by 1 percent, four increased 10 to 15 percent and five increased from 20 and 45 percent.

“Did Publix cause that, I can’t say, but you can say a development like Publix did not decrease it.”

Councilman Gerald Clark, who represents the area where the new shopping center will be, said growing up on a farm where they went grocery shopping once a week, he learned the value of stores being within walking distance.

“You don’t know what convenience is until you don’t have it,” he said.

Clark said he’s optimistic the city can find money to eventually four-lane Wall Triana all the way to U.S. 72, but it will take lots of money, which the new shopping center can help provide. He reminded them his main campaign platform was to increase the city’s tax base.

Former Councilman Tim Cowles, who once represented the area in question, said he favored the proposal for several reasons: one, if residential had been the best use, the property would not have remained vacant for 20 years; two, development will bring traffic improvements to the intersection; and three, the property owner ought to be able to determine its best use.

“I for one would like to see additional services there,” he said.

Mayor Troy Trulock said after the meeting that he didn’t feel the residents who spoke against the rezoning represented the sentiment of most of the 23,000 residents who live within two miles of the shopping center site or more residents would have attended.

There were 32 people there to here to speak for or against the rezoning, and 11 spoke against and two spoke were for it, Trulock said.

Councilman Steve Smith encouraged the residents to stay involved in the process because the development still has several steps through City Hall before it can begin construction.

“So don’t feel like you have lost your voice,” he said.

via Despite residents’ fears, Madison City Council OKs rezoning for new midtown shopping center | AL.com.

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