Huntsville citizens got a chance this week to learn more about what a project developer calls a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Informally known as Big Cove Village, the “opportunity” is a proposed mixed-use development at the corner of Cecil Ashburn Drive and Old Big Cove Road. The project, considered a game-changer for the Cove area, would create distinct neighborhoods with a variety of housing, a walkable village with shops, cafes and small businesses, a park system, multiuse paths and much more.
T2 Capital Management Director of Acquisitions & Development Tom Lowe said the goal is to foster a sense of community and design a gathering space that is accessible and attractive to a highly diverse population.
“The intent of the plan is to do something special,” he said.
Joined by T2, Urban Design Associates (UDA), Schoel Engineering and Matheny-Goldmon Architecture + Interiors, Council Member David Little hosted a public workshop for the project during his District 2 Town Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
The event occurred just weeks after another community input session, where residents viewed potential renderings of the Big Cove Village development and provided feedback to decision-makers.
“We’re still very early in the process of bringing this concept to the Cove, but we are optimistic about how it’s unfolding,” Little said. “The response from our community has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to working with citizens to ensure this live-work-play project is something we can be proud of for generations to come.”
Rob Robinson, consulting principal at UDA, gave a presentation during the Town Hall, explaining that public input is critical to making sure they “get it right.”
Building on the property’s architectural legacy, Big Cove Village would incorporate the region’s traditions while creating spaces that are uniquely Huntsville.
“To have a working farm that is becoming something else in this day and age – we take that as a serious responsibility,” Robinson said. “To not just transform it into something unrecognizable, but to actually build on that heritage.”
Big Cove Village would include pedestrian-centered neighborhoods that surround a village center and other amenities. Robinson said the character of both the village center and houses would complement the Cove community while offering distinct styles that appeal to a large mix of people.
Single-family housing types could range from attached houses and cottage/village-style dwellings to estate properties and homes within Woodland Preserve.
Possible neighborhoods may include:
- Drake Commons – commercial shops and services; brewery/market house; office space; apartments; and parking
- Meadow Lark Park – 5.5-acre park; community gardens; meeting (civic) house; attached and walk-up residential; parking
- Garden Crescent – 6.2-acre park; community garden; pocket parks; single-family detached and attached houses
- Prospect – single-family detached and attached houses; Woodland Preserve lots
- West Court – multifamily corridor apartments; parking; dog park; pickleball courts
The Big Cove Village Master Plan, as designed by UDA, would include single-family residential, loft-style multifamily above the commercial village, restaurant/retail uses and available office space. The development would also include 21 acres of open space and 2.7 miles of trails, connecting neighborhood parks to our regional greenway system.
Robinson said they are collaborating with City of Huntsville engineers to ensure nearby road infrastructure and parking are conducive to a development of this size and magnitude.
“We’re working through that to make sure we don’t create any traffic nightmares at that intersection,” he said.
Shane Davis, Huntsville’s Director of Urban & Economic Development, said the City’s Capital Improvement Plan includes the widening of Old Big Cove road to provide additional capacity to the Big Cove community. He added that should this proposed development move forward, the widening project would accelerate because of the development’s infrastructure commitment.
Following concept development, the next steps include zoning and regulatory submittals, detailed site design and multiple approvals. Little said the public will have more opportunities to weigh in as the process evolves.
“We encourage folks to stay connected with us via the District 2 e-newsletter and on social media so they never miss an opportunity to engage in future public input opportunities,” he said.