New Tower is Hospital’s Largest Project in Nearly 40 Years

Huntsville Hospital has broken ground on the biggest medical construction project in the downtown area in almost four decades.

The new Orthopedic & Spine Tower will feature 375,000 square feet of surgical, patient care and specialized physical rehabilitation space in the heart of the hospital campus. The tower will house the hospital’s orthopedic and spine surgery programs.

Scheduled to open in 2021, the seven-story building is across Gallatin Street from the main entrance of Huntsville Hospital; a walking bridge will connect the buildings.

“As our community and region continue to grow, our hospital is keeping pace with the need for advanced health care services and facilities,” said David Spillers, CEO of Huntsville Hospital Health System.

Jeff Samz, the system’s COO, said the Orthopedic & Spine Tower will have 72 private patient rooms, as well as 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms. It will also have a restaurant on the ground floor.

“With the new tower, we will also eliminate most of the semi-private accommodations in our main hospital,” Samz said.

Designed by Chapman Sisson Architects, the Orthopedic & Spine Tower will fill a city block at the corner of Gallatin Street and St. Clair Avenue. It is the largest medical construction project in downtown Huntsville since the hospital opened its north tower in 1980. Robins & Morton is the general contractor.

Super Chix to Open Its First Alabama Store in Times Plaza

Why did the Super Chix cross the road?

Well, that may not be the right question but the Dallas-based chicken and frozen custard restaurant is coming to Huntsville.

Super Chix is slated to open this summer in Times Plaza, the retail-office-dining development on South Parkway, adjacent to Arby’s, Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate announced.

“Super Chix is a premium, fast-casual dining experience that is devoted to quality offerings and great customer service,” said Nick Ouimet, the restaurant’s founder and CEO. “This will be our first location outside of the Dallas market and we are very excited to partner with local restaurateurs Kumar Patel and Rajesh Patel to bring the concept to Huntsville.

“The Times Plaza location will serve our delicious never-frozen tenders and fillets, hand-breaded or grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, fresh hand-cut fries and daily-churned frozen custard to a whole new market that appreciates high-quality fare in a fun and lively environment.”

All menu items are made-to-order and feature gourmet toppings free from MSG and GMOs. The fresh, never-frozen chicken is marinated in-store, grilled or hand-breaded and cooked in peanut oil free from additives. Even the toppings come from whole vegetables that are delivered daily and sliced by hand.

“This isn’t fast-food chicken—there are only six ingredients in our breading on our lightly breaded, high-quality tenders and fillets, and we believe simple is best,” Ouimet said. “We have no drive-thrus and our interiors have a cool, modern vibe that’s perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.”

In addition to its first-rate chicken, Super Chix also specializes in frozen custard, which is served as hand-dipped in cones or cups, or in milkshakes and fusions (concretes). Chocolate and vanilla are churned each morning and are always on the menu, but Super Chix also offers a special flavor of the day.

“Times Plaza is the perfect location for the new-to-market Super Chix thanks to its easy accessibility and prominent visibility from the parkway,” said Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate leasing agent Anusha Davis. “Nearby professionals will have another great option for a fast-casual lunch with both healthy and indulgent options and dinner crowds will discover a new excellent eatery they can enjoy with family and friends.”

4 area shopping centers purchased

Reflecting investors’ confidence in the Huntsville area economy, four shopping centers were recently purchased, according to Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate advisory firm.

The four deals – Highway 53 Centre in Huntsville, Hazel Green Shoppes, Hazel Green Centre and Hartselle 31 Centre – are valued at more than $13 million and encompass 84,616 square feet of premium retail space.

NKF Senior Managing Directors Drew Fleming and Mark Joines, and Associate Henry Kushner represented Athens-based Ming Enterprises in all four transactions. Ming Enterprises, a commercial real estate development and brokerage company, is operated by father and son team, Bill and William Ming.

In the last year alone, several economic development projects were unveiled across the region that represent more than 6,000 new jobs and $4.1 billion in growth. Major employers expanding or relocating in metro Huntsville include Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing, Facebook, Google, GE Aviation and Aerojet Rocketdyne.

“The successful disposition of these four properties exemplifies the investor appetite for e-commerce resistant, un-anchored strip shopping centers located within markets that exhibit strong demographics and job growth,” said Fleming. “Strip centers have become a top choice for private capital seeking both yield and stability, and we anticipate healthy growth across this entire retail portfolio as North Alabama’s economy continues to expand and flourish.”

Ming Enterprises sold the 43,000-square-foot Highway 53 Centre at the intersection of Alabama 53 and Research Park Boulevard to a private buyer. The center is 100 percent leased to tenants Edward Jones, ALFA Insurance, ABC Liquor and other service-oriented uses.

The area boasts a combined traffic count totaling more than 40,000 cars per day, and is a major thoroughfare for commuters who work at Redstone Arsenal and Research Park.

In Hazel Green, Ming Enterprises sold the 30,500 square-foot Hazel Green Shoppes and the 6,212-square-foot Hazel Green Centre.

Hazel Green Shoppes on U.S. 231 was completed in 2017 and is 100 percent leased to anchor tenants Dollar Tree, Hibbett Sports and Verizon Wireless.

Hazel Green Centre, across the highway from Hazel Green Shoppes and in the same parcel as the Walmart Supercenter, was completed in 2015 and is 100 percent leased to tenants Arby’s, AT&T, Great Clips and Papa Murphy’s pizza.

In Hartselle, Ming Enterprises sold the 4,904-square-foot Hartselle 31 Centre, which was built in 2017. It is 100 percent leased to Arby’s, Great Clips and Papa Murphy’s pizza.

Matt Curtis counting his blessings after a stellar year

The real estate market is booming and, as a result, Matt Curtis has a lot of blessings to count.

Over the past 13 years, Matt Curtis Real Estate has grown rapidly. In 2018, the agency received the following distinctions: Huntsville Chamber of Commerce Service Business of the Year, Nationally Ranked Website by Real Trends and, for the past two years, Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Companies in the Nation (No. 17 in 2018).

“2018 has been one of the best years – inventory is at an all-time low; growth rate is up at 10 percent,” Curtis said. “Although nationally the market will start to slow down, Huntsville-Madison can anticipate 5 to 10 years of solid growth. This has been the busiest January we’ve ever had.”

After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in computer engineering, Curtis started out selling test equipment for National Instruments to the Army and NASA. Then, after landing his biggest sale, he was offered a job at Woodland Homes. During his stint at Woodland, he honed his business acumen for real estate.

For Curtis and his team, giving back is important.

“For the past three years, we have been building homes in Nicaragua,” he said. “For every 100 homes sold, we build a home in Nicaragua for a family living in unsafe conditions.

“2019 will be our fourth year. There have been 65 houses built to date, with the 20 more being built this year, that’s 85 houses by the end of the year. Habitat for Humanity is also involved with the mission. The way it’s been usually, is that half the funding comes from donation, the other half coming from builders.”

However, this year there will be no building.

“We usually go once a year and I was planning to take my family this year,” Curtis said. “But due to safety concerns, we had to cancel our trip. It was sad not to be able to go.”

In addition to the Nicaragua effort, the Curtis team supports local community projects.

“We have funded numerous charitable initiatives including 88.1 WAY-FM’s local concerts and a new gym for Madison Academy,” Curtis said.

And, there is also a love of sports and supporting the local teams.

“It’s a good, fan-based experience for the family,” Curtis said. “Huntsville Havoc, Rocket City Trash Pandas, we are big fans.

“We have already bought our box seats for the 2020 (Trash Pandas) season.”

It’s a Seller’s Market in Area Real Estate

Everywhere you look, there’s well-plowed red clay, the evidence of cleared land. Huntsville-Madison County is bursting at the seams with growth.

With the new Mazda Toyota plant, along with a host of other companies setting up shop in the area, coupled with the projected growth on Redstone Arsenal, it’s no surprise that that developers and the real estate community are busier than ever, just to keep pace with the rapid expansion.

Along with those jobs that are coming to town, people are following. Those people will need a place to live.

With low inventory coupled with high demand, it’s clearly a seller’s market.

“There are lots of new developments, the new home market is going well,” said Barry Oxley, executive officer of the Huntsville-Madison County Builders Association. “However, it takes time for homes to be available – from developing the infrastructure – sewer, utilities, flood plains. It’s a good six to nine  months after the infrastructure is set before the homes are built.”

But, he did say, remodeling and rehabbing homes is growing.

“The remodeling marketing is also doing well,” Oxley said. “The older generation is staying in their current homes and are remodeling instead of moving. Usually X number of homes become available for sale, but the remodeling market has changed that.”

Adding to that is the “tear down” movement, he said. Older homes in established neighborhoods such as Blossomwood, Five Points and the Lowe Mill area are being leveled and new homes are being built on the sites.

For the home owner, this is a good time to consider selling. With a low inventory of available houses, sellers control the market.

“Last month (December) has been indicative of the entire year of 2018,” said Cindi Peters Tanner, president of the Huntsville Area Association of Realtors. “What we have seen has been a reduction in inventory. With fewer homes available on the market, what this means is that it tightens up the market for buyers.

“Low inventory means there are qualified buyers making multiple offers, which is a great thing for sellers.”

And buyers must act quickly because houses are on the market for just a few weeks.

“There’s been a reduction in average days on the market,” Tanner said. “Currently, houses are now on the market an average of 49 days. This is a great market to be in with all the economic enhancements; the city is funding the growth.”

But, she cautions that sellers also need to be realistic.

“When it comes to home selling, listen to your Realtor and they’ll work with you to create an effective marketing plan,” Tanner said. “By doing that, you will be more successful in selling your home.”

Stovehouse to Offer Mediterranean Fare al “Fresko”

An all-new, fast-casual restaurant will add Mediterranean flavor to the food garden of the Stovehouse development on Huntsville’s Westside.

Fresko Grille, created by local chef Abrahim Hassan, will open a 760-square-foot space in the development and serve dishes such as beef and chicken shawarma, falafels, baba ghanoush and much more, made with traditional Mediterranean ingredients and preparation methods. The eatery is scheduled to open early this spring.

“Fresko Grille is a family business where guests can see the food being cooked and prepared right in front of them,” said Hassan. “Thanks to its open-kitchen concept, Fresko will give patrons the option of choosing their desired protein, fresh veggies, sauces and sides so that each order is customized to their liking. Vegan and vegetarian options are readily available, and the menu will include rotating specials so you can always come back and try something new.”

The menu features a list of Mediterranean favorites such as falafels, beef and chicken shawarma, Kafta kebabs, baba ghanoush, fresh veggies, homemade hummus, tahini and tzatziki sauce. The restaurant will also have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

Although there will be no tables within the restaurant, guests can take their meal to the many areas of the Stovehouse food garden to enjoy indoors or outdoors around live entertainment and games.

“Stovehouse’s food garden will be a place where everyone in the family can enjoy an assortment of food options, outdoor games and entertainment,” said Stovehouse developer Danny Yancey. “Even more important than the variety at the garden is the quality of restaurants that it houses. We invite everyone to experience the incredible talent behind the many eateries at the development.

“They are a showcase of some of the best restaurateurs in and around Huntsville.”

The decor will draw inspiration from Mediterranean prints and patterns while incorporating wood furnishings and warm colors.

“When leasing a project like Stovehouse, it’s important to consider not only what works well within the development but also what the people are asking for,” said Anusha Davis, leasing agent at Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group. “Mediterranean food was a popular request, and Abrahim is delivering a product that stands out when it comes to flavor and authenticity.”

For information, visit www.freskogrille.com or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Multi-use development planned for former Coca-Cola plant site

For some time, there have been questions and rumors about the site of the former Coca-Cola plant on Clinton Avenue.

Now, the questions have been answered and rumors dispelled.

Rocket Development Partners of New York City owns the 13-acre property and have a vision for its use.

“There’s going to be a mixed-use development on the site,” said Mitch Rutter, a principal with Rocket Development. “It will be heavily residential with some office components. We’re not going to overload with retail.

“It will be a live-work facility … modeled after The Gulch area of Nashville.”

He said some of the residential units will be “geared toward artists’ and musicians’ housing” because of its proximity to the Von Braun Center and Museum of Art.

Rutter suggested that some companies with their main offices in Cummings Research Park may opt to also open an office in the project “to help with their recruiting.”

He did not dismiss the possibility of a hotel also being built at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Monroe Street, “if the right hotel came along. We’re not going to be building or operating it.”

Rutter credited Mayor Tommy Battle and city officials for being “very practical” and said the city’s team was a major factor in developing the project here.

“It’s not by chance; we have a process (on project decisions) … and study econometrics,” he said. “Huntsville is blessed with triangulating factors: job growth with good wages; population growth; and the leadership team.

“They have a long-term Huntsville vision. That long-term plan, which includes the Von Braun Center expansion, renovation of Pinhook Creek, greenways and bikeways, is geared to accelerate the growth of downtown.”

Rutter said his company has retained Huntsville architect Paul Matheny and Urban Design Associates, who developed the city’s long-term plan.

“We’re very focused to create the density to bring people who want to live and work here,” he said. “It’s really very exciting.” 

Ahead of Spring Opening, AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown Taking Reservations

It hasn’t opened, yet, but Huntsville’s newest hotel is taking reservations.

The AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown, the first AC Hotels by Marriott in Alabama, said reservations are being accepted ahead of its spring opening.

The six-story hotel is across the street from the Von Braun Center and is the first tenant for CityCentre at Big Spring, a $100 million, mixed-use development in downtown Huntsville. The AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown includes 120 guest rooms, AC Lounge, AC Library, co-working space, event space and three meeting rooms named for the city’s mill heritage – Lincoln, Lowe and Merrimack.

“With its Southern hospitality and strong appreciation for the arts, Huntsville is a great match for the AC by Marriott brand,” said Srinath Yedla, CEO of Yedla Management Co., which will manage the property. “The hotel provides everything essential you need – and nothing you don’t – creating a seamless, tranquil and frictionless experience for guests, whether traveling for business or leisure.”

The hotel will be anchored by Atlanta chef and restaurateur Marc Taft’s restaurant—The Gemini Kitchen + Cocktails, which is set to open in the fall. Gemini will be an approachable polished-casual restaurant for those looking for an affordable, quality dining experience. Taft will provide catering for the hotel as well as oversee menus for the hotel’s second-story terrace, The Veranda.

Reservations for the AC Hotel Huntsville Downtown can be made at Marriott.com.

Onyx Aerospace opens office in Stovehouse

Athens-based Onyx Aerospace opens office in Stovehouse

 

Athens-based Onyx Aerospace has expanded and opened an office in Stovehouse on Huntsville’s Westside. The announcement was made by Stovehouse Properties and Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate.

The aerospace engineering firm will occupy a 2,058-square-foot open-air office space.

“Stovehouse is a vibrant destination that has given us the freedom and flexibility we were looking for,” said Onyx President Steve Hanna. “During our first few months at the development, we found that our team was able to bring ideas to the table faster and get the job done more efficiently. Environment plays an important role when it comes to productivity, and Stovehouse offers a unique work/play setting with food options, entertainment and fresh air when you need to step away from the desk.”

Onyx’s customers include NASA and Boeing and the location provides easy access.

“Onyx has a heavy customer base at Redstone Arsenal and Cummings Research Park,” Hanna said. “Stovehouse is central to our clientele and provides multiple access points to major highways and Huntsville hot spots.”

Hannah said Onyx is a HUBZone company and is looking for ways to encourage growth of HUBZone neighborhoods

“From the beginning, Stovehouse has been clear in its mission to boost West Huntsville by introducing passionate and inventive businesses to the area,” said Stovehouse Properties Owner/Developer, Danny Yancey. “Onyx immediately got behind the project and they have fully embraced the creative atmosphere we’ve cultivated. We look forward to supporting them as they expand their footprint in Huntsville.”

 

 

Stovehouse Helps Heat Up a New Westside

 

Proving something old can have a fresh start is happening behind the brick walls topped by a large red “STOVEHOUSE” sign along Governors Drive just west of Campus 805. By the end of the year, restaurants and retail boutiques will be open there.

Some office spaces are already in use at what is expected to become one the city’s “destination hot spots,” according to Danny Yancey, founder and CEO of Stovehouse.

“There’s nothing else like it in our area,” he said. “People will come here to work, eat, drink, and shop.”

They’ll also attend events at Stovehouse — from concerts to community meetings — maybe even weddings, he said.

It will be an environment, Yancey said, where people can create their own kind of experience with common use areas inside and outside for dining and relaxing.

Construction is moving at a fast pace: six of the seven restaurant spaces have been leased and retail and office spaces are currently being leased.

“I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights because I can see it in my head, what it should look and feel like,” Yancey said. “It’s been a challenge but it’s coming together.”

Yancey used his cumulative background in human resources, mortgage banking and residential construction to put together a solid team to create his vision after he bought the historical building from Davis Lee.

Lee, a well-known poultry farmer and businessman, acquired the Governors Drive building as a potential wood pellet stove production facility before selling it to Yancey three years ago. It had also housed Inergi and, most recently, LSINC.

Yancey’s wife Patti is president of Huntsville’s Liberty Learning Foundation and CFO of Davis Lee Cos.

“I wasn’t out looking for the old Martin stove building,” Yancey said. “But here we are, three years later, building it out and creating a special place for Huntsville residents and tourists who want to experience Stovehouse and all it has to offer.”

Key components were putting together a team with experience in adaptive reuse projects, including Centric Architects of Nashville and Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group in Huntsville.

Danny Yancey looks out over the construction at Stovehouse (Photo by Wendy Reeves)

Yancey studied adaptive reuse projects and said he was especially inspired by what he saw happening in Chicago and Nashville, even Paris, Italy and Australia. He hired Centric because of the architect firm’s previous work and their immediate visions for the old building during their first walk through.

“It took about a year of due diligence to come up with an idea of what we might could do with it,” he said. “I visited a lot of adaptive reuse projects because I was really interested in how we could preserve the old building.

“It’s more expensive to do adaptive reuse … but this is a piece of our city’s history and I feel like it’s important to preserve our history.”

Referring to the revitalized area focused on local arts, dining, and brewpubs as the Westside instead of West Huntsville also has historical ties. Yancey said “old timers” interested in the redevelopment have made it known that the area used to be known as the Westside.

Before rockets, Yancey said the area’s largest employers were cotton mills and gas stove manufacturing. The mixed-use Stovehouse development is within in a large building steeped in that history. It started in 1929 when the Rome Stove Co. built it to manufacture its Electric Belle heaters.

After the company went bankrupt, a bid on the machinery and building was won by W.H. Martin Sr. and Charles Martin, who owned King Stove and Range Co. in Sheffield, and Martin Stove and Range Co. in Florence.

In 1939, they started their third business, Martin Stamping and Stove Co., turning out a small line of unvented gas heaters.

Through the years, the Governors Drive plant expanded with many additions to the building, often with whatever materials were on hand. Gas fuel tanks for acetylene torches were used as support posts in some part of the building. Structural engineers have examined the heavy gauge steel cylinders and say they are structurally sound, Yancey said.

There are several roof types throughout the facility, including saw tooth, flat and hip roof designs. Yancey attributes it to periods of fast-paced growth and company changes through the years.

During War World II, for example, he said the company made bomb crates.

“They were huge,” Yancey says of the crates. “If you look around the Seminole and Lowe Mill area and see long narrow houses with lean too roofs, those were leftover bomb crates. The government sold them for a quarter after the war was over.”

After the war, the plant went back to making stoves.

Visitors will find quirky elements and historical connections throughout the site once it’s completed. For example, a gas lighted shopping alley will reflect the heating source for the heaters that used to be made there. But some of those old rooftops will be gone to create outdoor courtyards.

People who think the project is another Campus 805 are wrong, Yancey says.

“They’re totally different but I think they will complement each other,” he says.

Co-developer Wesley Crunkleton said his favorite part of the project is how different it is from anything in the area.

“In our office, we enjoy working on things that are outside of the box as an atypical commercial real estate space,” he said

Crunkleton said ​the property’s​​ ​proximity​ ​to​ ​downtown,​ ​I-565,​ ​and​ ​Redstone​ ​Arsenal will​ ​make​ ​it​ an​ ​ideal​ ​hub​ ​for​ ​businesses,​ ​first-to-Alabama​ ​restaurant​ ​concepts,​ ​new entertainment​ ​and​ ​events.​

“We think it will be well received by all,” Crunkleton said. “From the millennials looking for a new cool spot to families with multiple children it will be a place they can all enjoy.

“I think older Huntsvillians whose families have been around for decades and lived in the area, they will get a kick out of walking through and remembering what it was, the transitions of the property and enjoy what it’s becoming today. We look forward to welcoming the public, soon.”