New details, renderings released of CityCentre at Big Spring in downtown Huntsville

Check out the full gallery with three new renderings on

Lucy Berry
The Huntsville Times

New details and renderings are available of CityCentre at Big Spring, a $100 million mixed-use project that will begin rising late this year in Huntsville.

P2131BigSpringPark_AerialRCP Companies, a Huntsville-based boutique real estate firm, is developing CityCentre at the former Holiday Inn site across from Big Spring International Park. The 270-room, nearly 40-year-old hotel was demolished early this year to make way for the complex, which will be built in phases.

Phase I is on target to launch sometime in 2016. Max Grelier, executive vice president of RCP Companies, said CityCentre will be a “critical piece” in Huntsville’s revitalization efforts of downtown.

“The entire educated workforce – not to mention the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ART and mathematics) professionals, provide built-in demand for the eclectic-yet-authentic blend of live, work, play, shop amenities we have planned for CityCentre,” he said in a statement.

The project will feature almost 50,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, more than 270 “upscale” apartment homes, Lowe Ave Aerial Renderingtwo parking garages, modern office lofts, as well as two hotels with more than 230 rooms.  Alabama-based Yedla Hotel Management, which owns and operates Starwood, Marriott and Hilton franchises, will run the hotels.

RCP has not identified which hotels will open at CityCentre, but said negotiations are underway now with a major-brand boutique hotel concept that will be the first of its kind in Alabama. Lindsay Harper, spokeswoman for RCP, said she does not have a timeline on when the properties will be announced.

CityCentre’s architecture will be “locally inspired” with pedestrian crossings, bike pathways, spacious walkways, and a linear park connection to nearby Twickenham Square, a $100 million live-work-play project by Huntsville Hospital.

Internal Plaza Renderings“CityCentre fills a void of services and entertainment options that the city’s underserved daytime population and workforce, as well as the abundant patrons of Von Braun Civic Center and Big Spring Park, have been seeking,” Grelier said.

RCP is working with Pennsylvania planning firm Urban Design Associates and Birmingham-based CMH Architects on CityCentre. Retail Leasing Advisors and Dart Retail Advisors are the exclusive leasing agents.

CityCentre, initially coined Big Spring Square, was announced during a city press conference in October 2014. The original $70 million project was renamed CityCentre at Big Spring in December.

RCP Companies is also developing the Whole Foods-anchored Shops at Merchants Walk and is working revitalize the Madison Square Mall property as MidCity Huntsville. An announcement is expected in November.

Most Educated Cities in 2016 – Huntsville #1 in state and #29 in nation

Most Educated Cities in 2016

By by Andrew Pentis and Rebecca Wessell
October 12, 2015

From education level, the rates of employment and poverty as well as the quality of schools and beyond, there are myriad important factors to consider determining the most educated cities in America. Seeking to capture these factors, we considered 17 data points from three sources and interviewed two experts.

Click here to view the full article and rankings.

Huntsville is #3 – Here are the cities where your money goes the farthest

Here Are the Cities Where Your Money Goes the Farthest

Boston Business Journal

By G. Scott Thomas

October 12, 2015

The trend seems clear: Residents of Northern California earn the most impressive salaries in America.

Average annual pay is higher in San Jose ($75,770) and San Francisco-Oakland ($64,990) than in any other major metropolitan area. Both are far ahead of the national average of $47,230, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But raw numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Workers are saddled with an extra burden in Northern California, where the cost of living is especially steep. An employee in San Jose, for instance, would need to earn more than $68,000 to equal the purchasing power of a $50,000 salary in Cleveland or St. Louis. That’s a markup of 36 percent.

The Business Journals, a division of American City Business Journals, has adjusted the average salaries of all 106 major metros to reflect this reality. Modified figures are based on “regional price parities,” special cost-of-living multipliers developed by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

San Jose remains No. 1 in the adjusted salary standings, but its lead is greatly diminished. Its average annual pay of $75,770 carries the reduced buying power of just $62,110 on a national scale.

San Francisco-Oakland plummets from second place on the raw list to ninth place after adjustment. Other expensive metros drop even farther: New York City from seventh place to 40th, San Diego from 14th to 81st, Los Angeles from 15th to 73rd, and Honolulu all the way from 32nd to 106th (and last) place.

Replacing them at the top of the adjusted standings are several markets blessed with lower costs of living. The new runner-up to San Jose is Durham, North Carolina, where the average annual pay of $55,840 packs the upgraded purchasing power of $58,780. Huntsville, Alabama, soars from 20th place before adjustment to third place afterward. And St. Louis shoots up from 46th place to 10th.

The general rule, it seems, is that smaller markets can offer better economic opportunities for millions of workers. Yet there are a few exceptions.

The cost of living is fairly manageable in most parts of Florida and Texas. An employee in Orlando, for example, needs to earn only $40,000 to equal the buying power of $50,000 in San Jose.

But Orlando has a limited number of high-paying jobs. Its average salary of $40,200 is $7,000 below the U.S. average. The number rises to $41,020 after adjustment, not enough to climb in the national rankings. Orlando is mired in 101st place — just five slots above last — in average pay adjusted for purchasing power.

The situation is similar in four other markets that are mired in the bottom 10 in both the raw and adjusted standings: Bradenton-Sarasota and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., and El Paso and McAllen-Edinburg, Texas.

Click here to review the article with slideshow and graphics.