“Here we grow again” could have easily been the City of Huntsville’s motto for 2022. Not only did the City continue to grow by more than 450 new residents per month, commercial and residential worked to close the gap between supply and demand.
To illustrate just how much building Huntsville experienced in 2022, the City’s Inspections Department issued more Certificates of Occupancy than any year since the department began keeping records in 1983.
“Our population growth is fueling unprecedented construction in commercial, residential and industrial sectors to the tune of $1.5 billion over last year and more than $7 billion over the last five years,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “From MidCity to downtown and up North Memorial Parkway, orange construction barrels are a regular sight.”
Here’s a sampling of new and ongoing construction projects that generated the most attention in 2022:
The opening of the Orion Amphitheater in May was a transformative project for the City. Not only did the venue attract more than 150,000 people in its first season, but it was also praised by artists who performed there, including Stevie Nicks, Jason Isbell, Dave Matthews Band and My Morning Jacket.
The Orion’s magic helped fuel additional commercial and residential growth within the MidCity Entertainment District. As the district continues to rival downtown as the City’s after-hours hotspot, growth is expected to continue in the 110-acre master planned development.
In September, the Anthem House project broke ground, a $110 million mixed-use building consisting of 30,000 square feet of retail space, 20,000 square feet of office space, and 330 residential units. In December, work began on Wellory Living, a $108 million multifamily development that aims to be the Southeast’s first net zero multifamily development. Construction also kicked off on the five-story, 120-room Hotel Indigo.
North Huntsville is experiencing a renaissance. Though it opened in 2021, the new Madison County Service Center on Memorial Parkway was a sign of things to come.
In 2022, residential growth continued to thrive in developments like Jaguar Hills, which offered new single-family homes at previously unheard-of price points. Additional residential developments are under construction in the Blue Springs, Pulaski Pike and Bob Wade Lane corridors.
In addition to residential growth, the City announced it was donating 14 acres to Huntsville City Schools at the intersection of North Memorial Parkway and Max Luther Drive. The property will be the new home for Huntsville City Schools central office and a new technical education academy. North Huntsville Industrial Park continues to see substantial investment and the creation of new jobs.
“The interest we’re seeing in the North Memorial Parkway corridor is pretty incredible,” said Shane Davis, Huntsville’s Director of Urban and Economic Development. “The decisions by Madison County and Huntsville City Schools to put down new roots was an early signal to commercial and residential developers that something special is happening. Expect to hear about even bigger and better things in the near future.”
No other part of Huntsville is experiencing a growth boom as significant as its historic downtown. This year saw upgrades to the Von Braun Center, and a new hotel – the Autograph by Marriott – is under construction adjacent to Big Spring Park.
Construction on the new Front Row Huntsville development, an 11-acre mixed-use development at the former Big Springs Bottling plant, is expected to begin in spring 2023. The project will be the largest downtown redevelopment to date and will include multiple restaurants, retail, office, loft-style apartments and a hotel.
Following the recent completion of the Eclipse, CityCentre at Big Spring is expanding its downtown footprint and will add two additional phases. Phase 2 includes a food hall, a Moxy Hotel and parking deck. Phase 3 will include mixed-use retail, office and residential space. Both Phase 2 and Phase 3 will be under construction in 2023.
Vista at Councill Square, a five-story, 336-unit residential development that will also include retail opportunities, also broke ground in 2022.
Additional developments in the downtown core include mixed-use projects along Oakwood Avenue, Meridian Street, Pratt Avenue, Lowe Mill and Governors Drive. The announcement of the City’s BUILD Grant Project and the Choice Neighborhood Initiative at Mill Creek will transform Huntsville’s downtown for years to come.
Along Lowe Avenue, a $100 million federal courthouse is taking shape. Several blocks away, construction is progressing on a new City Hall and parking garage that will help make municipal government more efficient by putting more departments under one roof.
Once the new City Hall is complete, the City will expand the footprint of Big Spring Park following the removal of the current City Hall.
Mayor Battle said former Madison County Chairman Dale Strong’s announcement about a new Madison County Courthouse opens opportunities for the City’s square.
“I don’t know what the future holds for that space, but a communal park in the center of town is a quality-of-life project I feel we could all support,” he said.
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