Tag Archives: Redstone Arsenal

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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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 to host Association of the U.S. Army’s 2014 Winter Symposium

Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the United States Army‘s efforts to land a major meeting has paid off.

ausa-logo-c9e41bd90512b57aAUSA will host its 2014 AUSA Winter Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville. It’s the first time the Rocket City has hosted the meeting, which attracts thousands of military and civilian officials. The symposium is conducted on alternate years with the support from a featured command, normally Army Materiel Command or Army Training and Doctrine Command. In recent years it has been held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

AMC, based at Redstone Arsenal, will be the 2014 featured command.

In January, the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter hosted AUSA’s Senior Leadership Reception with retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, president and chief operating officer of AUSA, and retired CSM Jimmie D. Spencer, director for noncommissioned officer and soldier program of AUSA. Local AUSA officials said the event gave them the chance to demonstrate Huntsville’s capabilities in hosting a major event.

“We were trying to show the capabilities we have at places like the Von Braun Center and Davidson Center and hotels to support things like conventions,” Paul Elliott, president of the Redstone-Huntsville AUSA, said at the time.

The visit apparently paid off, as did Huntsville’s large military presence.

“Locating our 2014 symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, with its close proximity to AMC headquarters, will allow us to maximize military, civilian and industry attendance during this period of constrained budgets and limited resources. This is a superb opportunity for their professional development and remains very cost effective,” Sullivan said.

“As a well-respected professional development forum, the Association’s annual winter symposium and exposition will continue to provide an all-important platform for participants to learn about and see not only what the Army needs, but also what industry is developing in the latest and best technologies to arm, equip, sustain and protect our soldiers for the future fight.”

The Redstone-Huntsville Chapter a multiple-year winner of the AUSA Best Chapter Award – has more than 2,600 military and civilian members.

via Huntsville tapped to host Association of the U.S. Army’s 2014 Winter Symposium | al.com.

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West Huntsville sees massive growth as it expands into Limestone County


Traffic backs up on Slaughter Road at Hwy. 72 in west Huntsville last week. West Huntsville has seen enormous growth as the city expands into Limestone County. (Crystal Bonvillian/cbonvillian@al.com)

With the city’s borders creeping into Limestone County and plenty of land up for grabs, west Huntsville is forecast to be the fastest growing area of the city for years to come.

Census figures show an 82 percent jump in population since 2000 in west Huntsville, which extends from Redstone Arsenal and Research Park Boulevard, goes around Madison on the north and south and reaches into Limestone County to the area of Mooresville Road. As of the 2010 Census, there were nearly 32,000 people living in that part of the city.

The number of homes in west Huntsville has increased even more, by 87 percent, from just under 8,000 in 2000 to more than 14,800 a decade later.

Huntsville’s newest school board member, Mike Culbreath, knows as well as anyone where the growth in the city is occurring. A former police officer, Culbreath now works as a commercial builder and spent several years in residential development.

“Personally, I think that is where most of the growth will happen,” Culbreath said of west Huntsville, which he represents on the board. “It’s where most of the available land is in Huntsville.”

In the Madison County portions of west Huntsville, the population has about doubled since 2000. The Limestone County portion of the city, however, has seen even greater gains.

The number of people living in that part of the city has gone from about 4,200 in 2000 to nearly 9,500 10 years later, the census data shows. Housing is up by about 2,000 homes.

Part of that jump is the military presence in west Huntsville, where the commute to Redstone Arsenal is easiest. Anywhere between 14 percent and 22 percent of residents are government workers.

The city’s has invested a lot in its expansion into Limestone County. Huntsville has accumulated more than 20,000 acres of land that has been annexed into the city over the past several years.

The city has also put millions of dollars into infrastructure, including its first fire station in Limestone, located on Greenbriar Road, and sewer lines needed to support the construction of homes and businesses.

With the infrastructure being put into place, the city can go forward full speed ahead, Culbreath said.

“A lot of what is needed is already in place,” Culbreath said. “It just has to be finished out.”

via West Huntsville continues massive growth as city expands into Limestone County (Outlook 2013) | al.com.

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Huntsville/Madison County Residential Sales Up 27% In February


Huntsville/Madison County residential sales increased by 26.6% in February. Infograph provided by ACRE. All rights reserved.

Huntsville/Madison County residential sales totaled 376 units for the month of February. There were 79 more housing units sold compared to the same month a year earlier. Restated, residential sales improved by 26.6 percent in February. Year-to-date, sales are up a solid 15.6 percent.

Supply: Huntsville housing inventory totaled 2,812 units, an increase of 2.5 percent from last February led by an increase in new home inventory of 17.7 percent. The inventory-to-sales ratio in February stood at 7.5 months of housing supply, this reflects an decrease of 19.0% from 9.2 months in February 2012. This figure still represents the best inventory balance between supply & demand in Alabama. February inventory in Huntsville experienced a 1.1 percent decrease when compared to the prior month. This direction is an improvement over historical data trends that indicates February inventory on average (’08-’12) increases from the month of January by 2.0 percent.

Demand: Existing single family home sales accounted for 64 percent (compared to 73% in Feb’12) of total sales, new homes sales accounted for 34 percent (up from 25% in Feb’12) while condos were 2 percent of sales (same as Feb’12).

Residential sales in February increased by 39.3 percent from the prior month. Historical Huntsville data reflects that February sales, on average (’08-’12), increase from the month of January by 6.2 percent. Huntsville residential sales in handily beat recent sales norms for February which is a positive indicator for the local market.

Pricing: The Huntsville median selling price in February was $167,210, an increase of 4.3 percent from last February. In contrast, this figure represents an decrease of 1.6 percent when compared to the prior month. Historical data (’08-’12) indicates that the February median selling price traditionally decreases from the month of January by 2.6 percent so this month’s slip is narrower than recent trends and this is favorable news for the market.

What’s the latest housing and economic outlook for 2013? Frank Nothalt, Freddie Mac vice president & chief economist shares, “Across the nation, most local housing markets have room for sustainable growth, particularly in home construction and sales. As the broader economy heals, expect to see more good news with home prices continuing their recent upward trend, and home sales and housing starts continuing to post strong growth rates.”

View the current monthly Huntsville Residential Report here.

via Huntsville/Madison County Residential Sales Up 27% In February | 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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Redstone Arsenals new Aquatic Center offers bases first indoor pool


The eight-lane, 25 yard heated pool at the Redstone Aquatic Center is the base’s first indoor pool. (Leada Gore/l.gore@al.com)

Army Major Carla Peters had a specific goal in mind when she dropped by the new Aquatic Center at Redstone Arsenal Thursday.”I want to learn to swim. I didnt have many opportunities to go swimming when I was growing up,” said Peters, a native of Pennsylvania.Peters and others like her can now enjoy the indoor pool located on base and operated by the Redstone Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate. The heated pool features eight 25-yard lanes and is designed for lap swimming and water aerobics.”Were not a recreational swimming pool,” Aquatic Director Kati Reeb said. “We dont have hours for just free swim. Were really designed for health and fitness.”Redstone MWR operates three outdoor pools and now, the indoor facility. Construction on the pool started last June after workers removed an existing basketball court at MWRs former Redstone Fitness Center off Patton Road. Users at the aquatic center can swim and also take advantage of the other exercise equipment now all in the same building.”Thats really great for our triathletes,” Reeb said. “This pool has been on a lot of peoples wish lists for many years.”The pool is also used for water aerobics and as a practice location for Redstones youth swim team, the Launchers. Sports Fitness Aquatic Director Gaylene Wilson said the pool will host swim meets later this year.The pool is open Monday – Friday from 5 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.-6:45 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon. Its free for active duty personnel and $2 for active duty family members, $3 for those on arsenal and $5 for guests. Yearly passes are $120 for single active duty and $150 active duty family; $150 single and $175 family for all others

via Redstone Arsenals new Aquatic Center offers bases first indoor pool | al.com.

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