Last time in the topic of Urban Planning, I blogged about big projects that never made it in Huntsville. But some projects just take longer to come about. Here are some projects that either we haven’t heard from in a while, or else just take a long time by their nature. Of course, with COVID-19, that hardly needs explaining. Nevertheless, the crickets seem to be getting rather tired of rubbing their legs together on some of these projects.
Notice Constellation is NOT on this list as of early 2021, as it is underway!
Sweetwater in Decatur
Something will eventually get developed here. Although it may not be called Sweetwater, it will probably be big, since it is 3,500 acres right on a major interstate. It is one of the most desirable locations up and down I-65. After much complexity, politics, wrangling and several deaths of the project, we may hear more one day soon. Here is the latest I have heard on it.
Ditto Landing Convention Hall & Hotel
Ditto Landing is currently making some major upgrades and expansion of the facilities there. I know they aren’t satisfied at leaving at it at that, either. According to 2007 details, Ditto Landing marina has been seeking ways to realize a $50 million plan which includes an amphitheater, restaurant, convention center and expanded boating facilities. I’ve even heard of the desire to put in a hi-rise hotel by the river. I hope they can find the resources to make this happen.
North Alabama Zoo
I will love to see this one come to fruition! The proposal for a zoo in or around Huntsville just started in 2019. We hear from them quite regularly and efforts seem to be coming along with a search for land. Will we be hearing an announcement about the location soon? A zoo is an expensive project, and that will probably translate into much time to come to reality.
514 Clinton Avenue
AKA the Rocket Dev Partners Clinton Ave Property.
This is the site of the former Coca-Cola plant just north of the VBC. At 13 acres downtown, it is surely going to have something substantial there, and sure enough, about a month after I originally posted this, we heard from the developers in a big way. Check it out at https://whnt.com/news/325-million-mixed-use-development-coming-to-downtown-huntsville/ and https://whnt.com/news/huntsville-city-council-approves-agreement-for-downtown-development/ .
City Hall Property
This is the site of the current Huntsville City Hall between Church Street and Fountain Row. Plans are being done in several phases, with demolition of the old municipal parking deck, building of a new City Hall, then demolition of the old City Hall, in that order. After that, plans are to have two mid or high-rise buildings on that site, perhaps even the tallest building in Downtown facing Church Street and Big Spring Park. Read more in the Downtown Master Plan, and in the Big Picture.
UAH Mixed-Use District
Well, just as I’m about to post this, along comes news of an announcement from UAH. So technically I can’t say I haven’t heard from this project in a while, but I’ll still keep it in this blog post; what a shame it would be to waste a good paragraph! The latest news is that the UA Board of Trustees has approved funding to begin demolition of old buildings on the site. That’s the first I’ve heard that the Board has given approval. Designed to be the UAH somewhat-equivalent of Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner or the Strip in Tuscaloosa, this district will be on 58 acres and have shops, a grocery, pharmacy, dorms, post office, restaurants, parks & walking spaces and other amenities. An arena has also been mentioned. At the time of first announcement in April, 2019, the timeline was estimated at five to seven years. Read more in the UAH Mixed-use Master Plan (pdf), and at WHNT.
Pinhook Creek Renovation and Skybridge
When I hear about this, I can’t help but think of the San Antonio Riverwalk. Plans are to add a walkway, bikeway and greenway, I have no word on how grandiose this renovation will be, but small shops along a river walkway would be great so near the VBC and hotels. I’ve not heard anyone talking about such things, however – just me imagining things!
This is actually part of a larger plan by the city to extend greenways from Alabama A&M all the way down to Ditto Landing, and to bridge the divide between east and west of Memorial Parkway with the planned Skybridge. Once again, January 2019 is the last I have info on this.