City Opens Haysland Road from Grissom High School to Redstone Road

Things are moving along in South Huntsville and they will be moving along a lot easier now.

On Tuesday, “Phase II” of Haysland Road through the Hays Farm development was opened from Grissom High School to Redstone Road.

Mayor Tommy Battle, City Council President Jennie Robinson, and Director of Engineering Kathy Martin cut the ribbon for the two-mile roadway.

The two-mile roadway includes a 12-foot-wide multiuse path through approximately 250 acres of preserved open space. (Photos/Steve Babin)

Haysland Road provides a parallel road in the city’s growing southern corridor to ease congestion on Memorial Parkway as well as provide direct access to Grissom High School and Redstone Arsenal.

The $8 million project includes a 12-foot-wide multiuse path through approximately 250 acres of preserved open space.

The Hays Farm development will include single-family homes, apartments and townhouses to complement retail businesses and a nine-acre city park.

TVA, Origis Energy to Power Google Data Centers with 100% Renewable Energy

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Valley Authority confirmed Monday that the new 100-megawatt solar facility in Obion County, Tenn., will supply carbon-free energy to Google’s data centers in Clarksville, Tenn., and Hollywood, Ala., in Jackson County.

Florida-based solar developer Origis Energy is using TVA’s nationally recognized Green Invest program to develop the solar farm.

The Green Invest program helps customers like Google meet their long-term sustainability goals with new renewable energy projects. In the past two years, Green Invest has generated $1.4 billion in economic activity in TVA’s service area.

“TVA’s Green Invest can deliver clean, reliable renewable energy at a competitive price – stimulating growth across our seven-state region and giving our region a competitive advantage through public power,” said Chris Hansen, TVA vice president, Origination and Renewables.

Through a long-term power purchase agreement, Origis Energy will own and operate the plant, using industry leading land stewardship techniques. The project will create more than 300 construction jobs, with additional employment for 8-10 fulltime operations and maintenance staff. Origis plans to have the solar facility operational by the end of 2022, pending environmental reviews.

“This Tennessee solar milestone is another demonstration of the success of TVA’s Green Invest partnership,” said Johan Vanhee, Origis Energy chief commercial officer and chief procurement officer. “Such utility innovations are helping Google reach its aim to be the first major company to operate carbon free by 2030. We are very pleased to add 100 megawatts to this goal while contributing to the economic development of Obion County.”

To power the data centers, Google had already purchased a total of 266 megawatts of power generated by multiple solar farms linked into the TVA electric grid.

“Google is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy and our goal is to run our business on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times, by 2030,” said Reid Spolek, with Data Center Energy Strategy at Google. “Working with TVA and Origis through Green Invest will help move us closer to this goal.”

Monday’s announcement comes on the heels of four other major Green Invest deals TVA completed this year: General MotorsVanderbilt UniversityKnoxville Utilities Board and Facebook.

“TVA is a job creator, and we are looking for creative ways to use our solar programs to bring high-paying jobs to the communities we serve,” said Hansen. “By integrating public-private partnerships with clean energy, we can make our region the premier destination for businesses that want to achieve their sustainability goals.”

A Virtual Celebration honors Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Best in Business

MADISON – Virtuous Realty Group was the “virtual” winner for the Madison Start-Up Business of the Year in the annual Madison Chamber of Commerce 2020 Best in Business Awards.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the winners were announced virtually Tuesday afternoon in 13 categories. The winners will be honored  at a dinner Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at Tom Brown’s restaurant in the Target Shopping Center. It will include the winners and Chamber representatives in a small masked and socially distanced event.

Conditioned Air Solutions was named Best Business of the Year and U-Lock-It Storage won the Small Business of the Year category.

Cathy Miller from United Way won Community Servant of the Year; Alice Lessmann from Signalink received the Excellence in Leadership & Service Award and Carlos Mendoza of Edward Jones was the Ambassador of the Year Award winner.

Among the Small Business Awards, Anglin Reichmann Armstrong was recognized as Professional Service Business of the Year and Madison Visionary Partners won Best Non-Profit of the Year.

Fit4Mom-Madison was named Health & Wellness Business of the Year; Hawthorne at the Ridge was the  Essential Services Business of the Year; and Insanity Complex won Culinary Business of the Year.

Huntsville Ballet danced off with the Arts, Entertainment & Hospitality Business of the Year; and Thrive Alabama won Medical Practice of the Year.

 

Ad4! Group Adds Business Development to its Services

Ad4! Group has added business development to its line of services.

The full-service advertising and marketing agency specializes in branding, marketing strategies, digital marketing campaigns, while serving the Madison County area for 15 years.

Owner Felica Sparks said she is excited about this new addition of business development to their extensive list of services through a partnership with James Bishop of Business Acceleration.

“His ability to pore through businesses’ processes, then offer customized solutions that streamlines what they do, and helps them yield higher returns, is simply invaluable,” Sparks said.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Ad4! Group team,” said Bishop. “Their smart and strategic marketing fits incredibly well with what I bring to the table for business owners, so we make a great team. With this partnership, I think clients will see that working with Ad4! Group just make sense because we are the whole package.”

For information, visit https://ad4group.com/business-consulting-services/.

South Huntsville Main Wins Main Street Alabama Awards of Excellence

For its work in helping improve the business environment of south Huntsville, the South Huntsville Main Business Association received five Awards of Excellence for 2019-2020 projects from Main Street Alabama.

Main Street Alabama celebrates local program successes with the  announcement of the seventh Annual Awards of Excellence. The awards honor projects and individuals that  make tremendous impacts in their respective communities.  

“The Main Street Alabama model of community reviltization has been an enormous success in the South Huntsville district,” said South Huntsville Main Executive Director Bekah Schmidt. “For the past two years, our volunteers, businesses and supporters have worked diligently to execute our mission of creating a vibrant South Huntsville.
“Receiving five Awards of Excellence is an incredible honor. We are proud of all of our award winners, and grateful for their contribution to the South Huntsville Main Program.”
Main Street Alabama focuses on bringing jobs, dollars and people back to Alabama’s historic  communities. Economic development is at the heart of our efforts to revitalize downtowns and  neighborhood commercial districts.

“It’s an honor to recognize outstanding community projects, leaders and volunteers,” said Mary  Helmer, president of Main Street of Alabama. “The awards represent the good work being done in  Main Street Alabama communities, including those that were initiated after the pandemic, sparking  creative ways to promote and help struggling businesses.” 

The awards were: 

Main Street Hero Award: Redstone Federal Credit Union 

Redstone Federal Credit Union has been instrumental in the South Huntsville Main program as one of the first organizations to step up and support revitalization efforts.

In 2019, RFCU announced a joint program with South Huntsville Main to provide $20,000 in  matching grant funds through the newly created Façade Improvement Grant Program, having a total  economic impact of $184,000 on South Huntsville, and assisting small businesses in improving their  store fronts.  

Excellence in Placemaking, COVID-19 Related: Graduation Mural 

COVID-19 delayed and altered graduation for seniors and the demolition of Haysland Square and owners John and Jimmy Hays wanted to do something special to celebrate the class  of 2020.

The family donated money for South Huntsville Main to commission local south Huntsville artist Sarah Finlen to paint a temporary graduation mural on the south side of Haysland Square. John also paid for photographer Jeff White to take graduation pictures of every senior at Grissom High  School. The temporary mural went viral and has been a popular site for visitors. 

Excellence in Business Development: Possibilities Tour 

To capitalize on the interest in opening a business in South Huntsville, the Economic Vitality Committee created a Possibilities Tour. The Possibilities Tour was designed to connect potential business owners with available spaces. On March 5, some 35 potential business owners and city leaders rode the Huntsville trolley to visit nearly a dozen locations. 

Excellence in Business Promotion: The Cookie Crunch 

Instead of hosting a traditional holiday open house, South Huntsville business owners Jennifer Mullins and Pam Burkholz of Interiors by Consign, rallied the businesses to do something outside the box. The idea emerged to create a Holiday “Cookie Crunch.”

Each participating business kicked off its holiday sales last Nov. 13 and made homemade Christmas cookies. The public was invited to sample the cookies at each participating location and vote for their favorite cookie. In addition, there was a drawing from each business for participating customers. There will be a socially distant cookie crunch this year on Nov. 14. 

Excellence in Marketing: South Huntsville Brand Launch 

South Huntsville Main hosted a brand reveal on June 6, 2019 with more than 150 community members attending. The organization offered  ice cream in branded cups, swag bags for guests, and a photo booth. There was more than $1,500 in merchandise sales. South Huntsville Main also redesigned its website – southhuntsvillemain.org – and saw an increase in traffic.

Westward, Ho! Anthem Apartments and Cottages Join Growing Area of Huntsville

Coming soon to growing west Huntsville, a rental community that graciously merges country living with easy access to the best that Huntsville-Madison County has to offer.

Birmingham-based Capstone Building Corp., in partnership with developers EYC Cos. and The Kalikow Group, are developing Anthem Apartments and Cottages, a $67 million, multifamily community in Huntsville.

“It’s a pretty interesting concept,” said Michael Henrickson, vice president of Preconstruction and Estimating for Capstone. “It’s at the corner of Johns Road and Plummer Road. It’s in a great location with a lot of the new growth that’s going on in Huntsville.”

Once completed, the 40-acre property will consist of 406 units: 14 apartment buildings with 312 units, 94 single-family cottages with 48 stand-alone garages. The apartments and cottages are one-, two- and three-bedrooms. The new community will feature front porches that face onto community greens, along with park-like design elements interspersed throughout the property.

“The concept is a little different,” said Ellis Coleman for EYC Companies. “It’s a large site, There’s a lot of open area.

“We’re putting the cottages on one side of the property and the apartments on the other.”

The living space is roomy, too. Apartment sizes range from 757 square feet for the one-bedroom apartments up to 1,300 square feet for the three-bedroom units. The cottage sizes range from 694 square feet to 1,485 square feet.

The finished apartment units and the cottages will have 10-foot ceilings, LED lighting, energy-efficient gas appliances, quartz countertops, and high-quality vinyl flooring. Other amenities will include two saltwater pools, firepit terraces, a dog park, a playground, an herb garden, and more.

“We are building with the end user in mind,” said Coleman. “It will be very park-like when we finish, with lots of open space, sitting areas, and walking trails.”

The groundbreaking took place in July.

“We are a month ahead of schedule and are moving quickly,” said Coleman.

March 2022 is the targeted completion timeframe but some units will be available sooner.

“We have a 21-month schedule from July,” said Henrickson. “We have what we call a ‘phased turnover,’ so, in about 16 months, we’ll have the first apartment building ready to rent.

“We really pay attention to quality of life, so we want the new tenant to have a good experience. It’s going to be a lovely community when it’s done. The developer has really paid attention to ‘How do I make this feel like a home?’”

It’s the Beginning of the End for Zierdt Road Construction

A recent social media post from a resident of the Edgewater community off Zierdt Road at Lady Anne Lake said, “Things That Have No End: The Universe, numbers, Pi, and Zierdt Road construction.”

Without a doubt, for those living in the midst of the “mess,” it must seem like a black hole.

But the good news is that with the lane shift from the southbound lanes to the northbound lanes on Zierdt in early September, motorists are now traversing the new Zierdt Road – marking Phase IV and the beginning of the end of the $25 million road project.

There has been a lot of frustration about the project because in 2010, it began as a $7 million widening project at the intersection of Madison Boulevard and Zierdt Road.

Construction continues at the Zierdt Road-Edgewater Drive intersection. (Marty Sellers Photo)

Because there wasn’t a lot of funding at the time and Town Madison and Toyota Field were not on anyone’s radar, the original plan consisted of a four-phased approach to widening the 3.5-mile stretch from Madison Boulevard to Martin Road outside Redstone Arsenal Gate 7 from two lanes to four.

Each of the four phases were estimated to take two to four years to complete.

Then, in April 2017, public input sessions resulted in the addition of a pedestrian and bike path. The 12-foot-wide multiuse path was added on the west side, changing the scope of work significantly and increasing the budget to $25 million.

As messy as it may seem, this current phase of Zierdt Road includes new drainage, curb, subgrade, paving and the multiuse path for the remainder of the project duration.

The final phase (IV) of improvements will also consist of two southbound lanes, seven lanes at the intersection of Martin and Zierdt roads, and six lanes at the intersection of Madison Boulevard and Zierdt Road.

While the project has had its share of hiccups due to fluctuations in funding, according to the City of Huntsville, they have been able to make up some time during the pandemic due to the significantly decreased traffic flow.

For residents. the hindrance has been complete but, for the construction crews, residential traffic has been a hindrance.

Although it is only 3 1/2 miles long, Zierdt could not be shut down entirely because of the significant residential population along that stretch of road.

As Kelly Schrimsher, Communications Director at the City of Huntsville, points out, it is significantly more difficult to reconstruct a road when it is in use.

“When you build a new road, you keep it closed until it is finished and passable,” she said. “Or if you look at the road construction off Research Park Boulevard, that work seems to move along without much traffic disruption because they are widening it from the center median and traffic is unaffected.

“Zierdt was always a heavily traveled two-lane road with access to Redstone Arsenal Gate 7, access to the airport, a lot of residential communities, and now Town Madison with the new Toyota Field  – which was not a consideration when the project was initiated.”

All residents of the neighborhoods on Mountainbrook, Edgewater and Nature’s Way can see, however, is the demolition and reconstruction of the original southbound lanes that were the main access into those apartment complexes and communities.

But regardless of how it looks, city engineers promise the end is coming soon and it will be great.

Houston Firm Plans Luxury Apartments at Hays Farm

A Houston development group announced plans for a 330-unit apartment project at Hays Farm in South Huntsville.

In a news release Friday, Bomasada Group said it has acquired a 15acre site in the Hays Farm masterplan development to develop Liam at Hays Farm Apartments, a 330unit, Class A” apartment project. The company is in the design phase of Liam with construction scheduled to begin in the spring.

Bomasada specializes in developing luxury multifamily properties in secondary and tertiary markets throughout the Southeast and Southwest

We have been looking in the Huntsville market for several years as it perfectly fits our development strategy,said Bomasada President John Gilbert. We continue to be amazed by the energy of the city, the exponential job growth and the highly educated and skilled workforce. We are especially pleased to be part of the revival of South Huntsville and part of the future of Hays Farm that also includes a Publixanchored shopping center, 450 new homes, offices, restaurants, Grissom High School, and hundreds of acres of greenways, open space and water features.” 

Bomasada Chairman and CEO Stuart Fred, a board member of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, echoed Gilberts comments.

Huntsville is one of the most dynamic cities in the country,” he said. “The research and development conducted by the military and aerospace industry is remarkable. We appreciate the citys varied businesses, entrepreneurship and Southern hospitality.” 

After looking at numerous sites throughout the areaBomasada focused on Hays Farm in resurging South Huntsville.

We are thrilled to welcome Bomasada to South Huntsville,” said Huntsville City Councilwoman Jennie Robinson, who represents South Huntsville. The Liam will bring a new multifamily housing product to our area to help meet exploding market demand. It will be an important part of the Hays Farm development and play an important role in revitalizing the South Parkway.” 

Gilbert said the company learned of the Hays Farm plan last year.

We were introduced to Hays Farm late last year and immediately decided we wanted to be part of this exciting development,” he said. “The entire Hays Farm team John Hays, Jim Hays, Jeff Enfinger and Mecca Musick have been a pleasure to work with. They are creating a wonderful place to live, work and play that will leave a legacy for the city of Huntsville.” 

Bomasada also has spent the last year coordinating with City of Huntsville Business Relations Officer Harrison Diamond as well as Bekah Schmidt, executive director of the South Huntsville Main Business Association.

We have developed all over the country and Ive never seen a more open, accessible and helpful city government,Gilbert said

HudsonAlpha, Huntsville Bioscience Companies Headline BIO Alabama Conference

With the biotechnology industry leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BIO Alabama will host industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics at the organization’s first conference in five years.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and a number of resident associate companies will be “center-stage” during the four-day virtual conference, Oct. 5-9.

BIO Alabama – Alabama’s affiliate of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the pre-eminent national association for biotechnology companies – has assembled a lineup from Alabama and across the country to address the industry’s most challenging issues and how the state can play pivotal roles in solutions and advancements.

Among the topics are: Operation Warp Speed; COVID-19 related legislation; the strategic roadmap for the state’s biotechnology ecosystem; collaborative efforts to strengthen the state’s agricultural economy; diversity, equity and inclusion in the bioscience industry; and discoveries by researchers at Alabama’s leading academic centers.

“HudsonAlpha has been a longtime partner and leader for BIO Alabama and the biotechnology ecosystem in North Alabama continues to bloom with innovative companies,” said BIO Alabama Executive Director Sonia Robinson. “Our virtual conference is a great opportunity to connect with life science thought-leaders from around our state who are strengthening our industry for the future.”

The speakers are leaders in academic research, education and business. HudsonAlpha and Huntsville contribute greatly to the state’s work in the biosciences and are well-represented in the BIO Alabama agenda.

HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Jeremy Schmutz will lead a panel discussion that includes Dr. Josh Clevinger, also of HudsonAlpha; Brian Hardin with Alabama Farmers Federation; Kyle Bridgeforth of Bridgeforth Farms; and Dr. Kira Bowen from Auburn University.

The group will discuss its efforts in developing next generation crops for diversifying and strengthening Alabama’s agricultural economy. The panel will provide an early view into the way people from across the state and across industries are leveraging HudsonAlpha’s expertise in genomics research to improve crops for Alabama farmers and ultimately benefit businesses and consumers in the state.

Carter Wells, HudsonAlpha’s Vice President for Economic Development and past Chairman of BIO Alabama, will lead a “fireside chat” with Andrew Burnett, health legislative assistant for Sen. Richard Shelby. Burnett is Shelby’s aide for federal appropriations and policy on a variety of health-related topics, including coronavirus relief, clinical trials, diagnostic testing and the development of new medications and therapies. Burnett also works with biotech entrepreneurs and veterans of bioscience businesses.

HudsonAlpha Director of Recruitment Amy Sturdivant, BIO Alabama Executive Director Sonia Robinson and Chairman Blair King will deliver the BIO Alabama’s strategic plan. The address concludes a multi-year listening tour and focus-group exercises to develop a strategic roadmap for the industry. Sturdivant will join BIO Alabama Executive Director Sonia Robinson and Chairman Blair King in delivering the report to BIO Alabama constituents.

“Growing and supporting entrepreneurial efforts in the biotech industry have translated to success stories and expanding jobs in the sector,” said Sturdivant, who also serves as BIO Alabama vice chairwoman. “Organizations across the state are contributing and collaborating; providing resources for capital, mentoring, workforce training, and more.

“The BIO Alabama strategic plan lays out lessons learned and opportunities we will seek together.”

Alex Cate, Business Retention and Expansion Specialist for HudsonAlpha, will join panelists from the state’s top incubators and accelerators to discuss business growth and technology commercialization.

Additionally, several North Alabama-based and HudsonAlpha resident companies will be featured at the conference.

To register, visit https://www.bioalabama.com/event-3976946

 

Historic Lincoln Mill to Undergo Major Redevelopment

There’s a renaissance going on in the Historic Lincoln Mill area just off downtown Huntsville.

The latest project will be is the historic Lincoln Mill property on Meridian Street. Developers plan to introduce several amenities to the 220,000-square-foot complex that will usher in a new era for the property, Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate and Lincoln Revival LLC, said in a statement Tuesday.

The restoration will also help bridge the gap between downtown and the north Huntsville educational corridor, further connecting Drake State Community & Technical College and Alabama A&M to the city center.

According to the statement, updates will be made to the property’s overall look and usability, and on-site food, beverage, and retail options will be added. Phase one of redevelopment began in May and the project is expected to be completed late next year. 

“Our vision is to enhance the beauty of this historical landmark,” said Wesley Crunkleton, principal of Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate and owner/developer of Lincoln Mill. “Lincoln Mill is an exciting undertaking because of its history—it represents Huntsville’s industrial past and technology-driven future. All of our developments take on their own identities and we can’t wait for Lincoln Mill to do the same.” 

Located minutes from downtown Huntsville, “Lincoln Mill stands apart in its ease of accessibility, proximity to the city’s main business district, and its unmatchable architecture, design, and historical influence,” the statement said. These features combined make it the ideal candidate for a revitalization—one that will showcase its distinctive spaces, its ability to further serve the community, and connect the area of downtown with north Huntsville’s educational center. 

“One of the greatest features of Lincoln Mill is its location,” said Crunkleton. “It’s situated in a growing retail corridor on Meridian Street that is already home to some of the city’s most popular businesses, such as Preservation Company, Holtz Leather, Brooks & Collier, and the coming L’Etoile Patisserie.

“Restoring Lincoln Mill is the next step in activating the district, adding connectivity, and further opening the area to new business opportunities housed in one-of-a-kind spaces.” 

What began in 1900 as Madison Spinning Co., eventually grew into one of the area’s largest and most productive textile mills. Over its lifetime, Lincoln Mill has seen growth, despair, rebirth, and transformation—giving way for industrial and scientific advancements that helped shape the City of Huntsville.

Through the renovations, Lincoln Mill will provide an attractive work environment, while preserving its legacy. The facility is being updated with amenities that reflect its tenants’ requests, aimed at improving the site’s function, productivity, tenant retention, and overall comfort. 

“Phase One of the project will consist of exterior improvements such as painting, lighting, landscaping, and adding additional parking,” said Crunkleton. Interior improvements will include direction signs, updated lobbies and an improved, larger elevator.

When Phase Two begins, attention will be focused on the historic Dye House, Crunkleton said. 

“The Dye House is an integral part of the property’s history,” he said. “It sits abandoned at the front of the site and we plan to utilize the space to house retail along with one or two food/beverage concepts that will benefit the campus and its tenants.

“All will be updated while maintaining the site’s historic integrity and vibe.” 

The project team includes Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate, Matheny Goldmon, Joe Still Building Co., and Lanier Ford.