The Huntsville Times
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A South Carolina company will develop the old Holiday Inn site across from Big Spring International Park in downtown Huntsville into a mixed-use area with a boutique hotel, offices, residences, restaurants and shops, city officials said today.
Central Realty Holdings of Greenville, S.C. , is the lead developer of the $70 million project called Big Spring Square that will break ground in April 2015, Mayor Tommy Battle said at a press conference. It will open in 2016.
None of the brand names coming in the deal – hotel, restaurants, stores – was announced Monday. The hotel will start at 100 rooms and grow, Battle said.
Battle said the proposal from Rece Morgan, president and CEO of Central Realty Holdings, hits all the marks the city wanted in the development: hotel, restaurants, retail, residential and office space. “We had four great firms that made great proposals on this,” Battle said. ” It was a tough choice.”
Under the terms of the deal, Central Realty will lease the six-acre site for 99 years, paying $144,000 per year. The city will demolish the hotel currently on the site and clear the land for the developer. The city will also do the street-side landscaping required to make the development match the park area.
City officials stressed the historic and central location being developed and said they wanted the development to enhance the area.
“Central Realty Holdings came out with a very, very good plan and one that we’re very proud of and we’re still working with them on,” Battle said. “Our Planning Department is working very hard to make sure that this development integrates very well with Big Spring Park which is the center core of our downtown area.”
Battle gave the following “data points” on the deal:
– It will include a minimum of 28,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and offices.
– It will include 200 residential units and a multi-level parking lot.
– Demolition will begin in November and construction next April.
– The city retains ownership of the land and will retain some control of the development.
Central Realty Holdings also has the first option on a second phase of the project that will involve demolishing and replacing the Jim Williams Aquatic Center. A new Natatorium is in the city’s plan for 2016.