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Construction of Luxury Housing Continues as B’ham Developer Breaks Ground Near MidCity

As the worst of the COVID-19 crisis seems to be waning in North Alabama, new jobs, new construction, and plans for a new luxury living development pick up right where they left off in March.

Birmingham developers Capstone Communities broke ground on The Cottages at Old Monrovia, a 25-acre housing development near Old Monrovia Road and Oakwood Road, about a mile from Huntsville’s MidCity district. The rentals will feature a mixture of single-story attached homes, lofts and two-story townhomes.

“Our goal is to build a unique community and true sense of place at The Cottages,” said John Acken, executive vice president of development for Capstone Communities. “With plenty of sidewalks, pedestrian features and open green spaces, we want to create a safe and walkable community where residents can look forward to spending time outside enjoying cookouts, hosting community events and connecting with their neighbors.”

Capstone Communities estimates the project will bring 100 to 120 temporary and permanent jobs to the area in construction in management.

Convenient to Cummings Research Park and Redstone Arsenal, the low-density multifamily development consists of 275 cottage-style homes, expected to attract young professionals and their families, and empty-nesters looking to downsize.

Capstone Properties, the in-house management company for Capstone Communities, will begin leasing this fall. The first units are expected to be completed in March 2021 with the full completion slated for September 2021.

Architect’s rendition of the loft-style home at The Cottages.

Designed by Nequette Architecture & Design, also headquartered in Birmingham, The Cottages at Old Monrovia will offer a variety of upscale amenities such as nine to 12-foot ceilings, granite countertops, wood-grain flooring, in-unit washers and dryers, a smart home technology package, state-of-the-art fitness center, resort-style pool, centralized clubhouse, dog park, electric car charging stations, a car care center, a pet spa, 24/7 on-call maintenance and optional enclosed garage parking.

Capstone Communities (formerly Capstone Collegiate Communities) is a Birmingham-based commercial real estate firm specializing in the development, management and construction of student, multifamily and senior housing. They entered into a partnership with OG Capital, a private equity real estate investment firm specializing in the acquisition and re-positioning of existing multi-family properties throughout the South, to bring the development to Huntsville.

According to OG Capital principal David Oakley, the single-family style rentals have proven successful in other markets with a 50 percent faster lease-up period, and a 20 percent higher resident retention rate than traditional garden-style apartments.

“I first noticed this cottage concept out West a few years ago and grew to love it,” said Oakley. “Apartment living doesn’t have to mean stairs and elevators. The cottage style product meets the market by providing residents with the features they value most – private backyards, high ceilings and in-home tech packages – to name a few.”

It is Huntsville’s surge in innovation and economic growth that makes Huntsville the perfect location, said Shep Nolen, president of CBI Construction Services, Capstone Communities’ in-house general contractor for the project.

“We’re thrilled to enter such a promising market and support the city’s economic development efforts by creating additional jobs as Huntsville prepares for its next chapter of growth.”

Construction financing is being provided by Trustmark National Bank and Renasant Bank.

Blue Origin Launches Engine Building Plant

Blue Origin, a rocket engine company founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, went from ground-breaking to ribbon-cutting in a year to open the company’s facility in Cummings Research Park.

Blue Origin held a press conference Monday with a stage full of dignitaries to laud the moment. Among those attending were Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong, U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt and Mo Brooks, and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.

Bezos did not attend the event at the $200 million, 350,000 square-foot plant, which will make the company’s reusable BE-4 and BE-3U engines that will aid space travel from human exploration to national security.

“At the core of every successful launch vehicle program are the engines that power those vehicles to space,’’ Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said. “Early on in Blue Origin’s history, we made a crucial decision to invest in developing the next generation of reusable rocket engines.

“And now, it’s an exciting time for Blue, our partners and this country – we are on the path to deliver on our promise to end the reliance on Russian-made engines – and it’s all happening right here, right now, in the great state of Alabama. We couldn’t be prouder to call this our home for engine production.”

Blue Origin, which Bezos founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Kent, Wash., said the plant will add more than 300 jobs to the local economy.

While Blue Origin plans to build cutting-edge reusable rockets, the firm turned to the past to help launch its mission. It spent $50 million to renovate Marshall Space Flight Center’s test stand 4670, which was used to test the Saturn rocket that would take men to the moon in 1969.

 

School of Cyber Technology & Engineering Announces Funding

The Alabama School of Cyber Technology & Engineering has received $250,000 in new funds, according to an announcement Thursday.

To date, the school’s foundation has raised close to $11 million locally. The goal is to raise $35 million from throughout the state.

Facebook and a pair of Huntsville-based companies made the most-recent contributions.

Facebook, which is building a data center in Huntsville, donated $100,000; Sentar, with owners Peter and Karen Kiss, will contribute $100,000; and DESE Research President Michael Kirkpatrick announced a $50,000 contribution.

ASCTE President Matt Massey recognized Oakwood University and its President Dr. Leslie Pollard, who was in attendance at the announcement.

The school will open this fall at Oakwood, which is serving as the interim site for the first two years while the permanent location is built at the intersection of Bradford Drive and Wynn Drive in Cummings Research Park.

Construction is expected to be finished in the summer of 2022. Initial enrollment is approximately 100 students, with plans to expand to 300 in grades 9-12, with approximately half living on campus in dormitories.

Redstone Gateway Continues Growth as Government Contractors Seek Prime Office Space

Two more office buildings are on the rise at Redstone Gateway as government contractors warm to the office park’s amenity-rich environment and proximity to both Redstone Arsenal and Cummings Research Park.

Rendering shows the 42,000 square-foot office building under construction at Redstone Gateway. It is expected to open by the end of the year.

Corporate Office Properties Trust, in partnership with Jim Wilson & Associates, developed the 4.6 million square-foot, mixed-use development as a Class-A office park near Gate 9 at I-565 and Redstone Road.

Redstone Gateway includes seven office buildings totaling 569,000 square feet; a full-service, 120-room TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotel; and The Shops at Redstone Gateway consisting of over 19,000 square feet of retail space, three restaurants and a conference center.

The existing office buildings are 100 percent occupied.

“The growth of availability at Redstone Gateway continues to be an asset to government contractors locating close to their customer base on Redstone Arsenal,” said COPT Chief Operating Officer Paul Adkins. “This pre-lease, along with other recent leases, highlights the value proposition of Redstone Gateway.”

Currently, there are seven buildings under construction at Redstone Gateway, expected to add another 662,000 square feet to the development.

One of those buildings is a 100,000 square foot, four-story office building along Rideout Road. There will be 113,000 square-feet of office leasing space available upon completion end of the year.

The other is a soon-to-be 42,000 square-foot single-story office building located at 6000 Redstone Gateway at the corner of Redstone Gateway and Market Street, within the Redstone Gateway development.

It, too, should be complete by the end of 2020 but will just keep pace with the demand as it is already 75 percent pre-leased to a government contractor. Approximately 13,000 square feet will be available for lease upon completion.

Rendering shows 100,000 square-foot office building with construction expected to be complete by the end of the year.

James Lomax, director of Asset Management for COPT Huntsville, said the buildings support Redstone Arsenal, clearly an economic engine for North Alabama.

“We’re excited about the rapid development at Redstone Gateway as Huntsville’s modern office park,” said Lomax. “Redstone Gateway is the most forward-thinking office development in North Alabama, creating an amenity-rich environment and walkable environment focused on employee satisfaction and efficiency.

“We’re excited to continue this phase of development and are thankful for the support from the whole community in North Alabama.”

COPT, whose Huntsville office is at Bridge Street Town Centre, specializes in developing and operating office buildings in locations that support the U.S. government and its defense contractors.

The company designs, builds and operates specialized office and data center facilities that provide technically sophisticated, mission critical environments. Maryland-based COPT often chooses locations adjacent to government agencies and prime contractors.

Birmingham-based Keysys opens office at HudsonAlpha

Keysys, a Birmingham-based custom software development company, announced today its expansion into the Huntsville market.

The company will open an office at the HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology in Cummings Research Park. Greg Engle, former CEO of API Digital, will be the general manager of the Huntsville office.

Founded in 2007, Keysys has seen steady growth in the Birmingham area through its focus on helping business leaders “get the important stuff done.”

“At Keysys, we’re all excited to be an active participant in Huntsville’s community and hire talent in the area,” said CEO Jim Bob McAllister. “We plan to take our proven model of building software collaboratively under one roof and replicate that in Huntsville, partnering with area businesses to keep revenue and talent in Huntsville.”

Keysys has received the Birmingham Business Journal’s Small Business Award as well as being named one of “Birmingham’s Best Places to Work”.

Visit www.keysys.io.

Watermark at Bridge Street Developer Expands to Clift Farms

MADISON — Watermark Residential, owners of Watermark at Bridge Street Town Centre – Cummings Research Park’s first residential community, will develop the first luxury multifamily apartment community at the new Clift Farms multi-use development on U.S. 72 in Madison. Construction will begin in January on a three-story, 324-unit, garden-style community.

The complex will provide amenities such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a resort-style swimming pool.

“The strong job and population growth of the Huntsville market has played a large role in Watermark’s commitment to the second project in the Huntsville [area],” said Tyler Sauerteig, the company’s director of land acquisitions for the Southeast. “Watermark has had great success with the lease-up of Watermark at Bridge Street Town Centre, and we feel that Clift Farms is going to be a similar destination development with immediate area amenities and great proximity to jobs.”

The Breland Companies broke ground at Clift Farms across from the Target and Madison Hospital in May. Their goal is to create a community that will have a timeless feel while preserving the natural attributes of the historic family farmland.

The Clift Farm community will provide retail, dining, residential, office space, medical opportunities and multifamily homes, as well as luxury apartments such as Watermark at Clift Farms.

Watermark Residential is a Thompson Thrift company, a multifamily development company based in Indianapolis, Ind. Established in 2008, Watermark Residential has developed or is in the process of developing more than 39 projects in 12 states totaling over 10,000 units.

Leidos Live Technology Showcase Rolls into Huntsville

The Leidos Live Technology Showcase rolled into Huntsville this week for a three-day interactive demonstration of the company’s wide-ranging technological capabilities.

The purple 53-foot double-wide semi-truck expanded into a full mobile technology exhibit with augmented reality experiences, virtual reality demonstrations and interactive modules that bring Leidos technology to life.

The Leidos exhibit includes a 3D virtual tour inside the body demonstrating Leidos’ work with peptides in cancer research. (Photo/Steve Babin)

The exhibit arrived Tuesday at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and engineering students experienced Leidos’ IT and cybersecurity solutions.

The tour traveled to the new Leidos headquarters in Cummings Research Park on Wednesday where employees and guests were treated to ice cream and barbeque while touring the interactive exhibits.

On Thursday, it moved to Redstone Arsenal so Leidos customers could also enjoy the experience.

Angela Pounders, the Leidos business development field office manager in Huntsville, said there are some exciting things happening here in Huntsville for the company.

“We work across a broad spectrum and have a lot of business alliances in the areas of healthcare, space, civil intelligence, military, and humanitarian efforts,” Pounders said. “We have employees working in program offices on the Arsenal and we even have people in Anniston supporting FEMA. But one of things I am excited about is that we have the world’s largest supply chain in Antarctica.”

Each exhibit showcases each segment of that spectrum including a 3D virtual tour inside the body demonstrating Leidos’ work with peptides in cancer research.

One of the exhibits consist of augmented reality posters of employees who come to life and start talking to you. The second part of the presentation uses virtual reality goggles to provide a 360-degree virtual look at Leidos’ work in Antarctica. It takes you on a tour of the 100,000 square feet of facilities, some thousands of miles apart in areas that are so desolate, there are no cellphones, hospitals, restaurants or people, except for Leidos workers. Viewers also go under the ice with Antarctic ice swimmers.

Visitors can sit in a simulator for firing machine guns utilizing Leidos software. (Photo/Steve Babin)

Visitors can sit in a simulator for firing machine guns utilizing Leidos software; and participate via big screen in sweeping for and destroying improvised explosive devices on the battlefield anywhere in the world.

Using microwave technology on the front of the vehicle, the exhibit puts you behind the tank or military vehicle so you can identify IEDs on the path ahead and detonate them safely.

A gigantic flat-screen table shows the operational capabilities of robotically designed unmanned surface vessels. Currently in the pilot phase, these USVs can carry a variety of Leidos humanitarian, research, or military sensor packages into treacherous waters and storms where it is too dangerous for the Navy.

“These vessels usually stay out for three months at a time and unlike drones that are controlled remotely by humans, these vessels have no interaction with any humans,” said Dennis Card, Leidos tour manager. “There is only one built right now and it went to Hawaii and back from San Diego. Another one, twice as large is being built and it will go out from Gulfport, Miss.”

One of the interactive demonstrations incorporates a Tetris-like virtualization game that brings the viewer into the conveyor system to store packages bound for the International Space Station.

“We run cargo mission contracts for NASA for all the cargo and resupply efforts going to the International Space Station,” said Suzzanna Martinez, Leidos director of strategic communications. “These resupply orders come from the astronauts and our system packs and stores the cargo for whatever different kind of vessel will be going up.”

A Tetris-like virtualization game brings the viewer into the logistics system of the International Space Station. (Photo/Steve Babin)

In everyday life where no one really knows it, Leidos air traffic control software is used to pick up communications between air traffic towers, to scan luggage, and much more.

Leidos was started by Dr. J. Robert Beyster in 1969. An exact model of his original 1969 Chevrolet Malibu, painted in the famous Leidos purple, is also part of the traveling show and at the end of the tour, will be raffled off to a lucky Leidos employee.

The roadshow also travels with a purple ice cream truck.

“We call it the Leidos Scoop Ice Cream Truck and ice cream socials are a grassroots way of saying thank you to our customers on a nice hot day,” said Martinez. “We take it out to Federal Aviation Administration headquarters for National Aviation Day, and we have taken it to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC for National Space Day and people love it.”

The innovation showcase and its other components are all a part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Leidos Consolidates MDA Support in Cummings Research Park

After supporting the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville for more than 15 years, Leidos spent $3 million to retrofit its first physical systems and support center in Huntsville.

Leidos Defense Group President Gerry Fasano. (Leidos Photo/Shileshia Milligan)

The 63,000-square-foot building at 915 Explorer Boulevard in Cummings Research Park consolidates the defense division of the company into one Huntsville location. Defense Group President Gerry Fasano headlined the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday along with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and several foreign military delegations.

“This new facility signifies our continued growth in Huntsville, but it also supports our customers in helping them solve problems from a city and a region known for its innovation,” said Fasano. “We help our customers in the defense industry achieve effective, sustained military advantage … from support for C4 (command, control, communications, and computers/cyber) to cyberspace.

“We are doing that from right here in Huntsville. Let’s keep it local.”

In 2016, Lockheed Services Group took $5 billion and merged it with another $5 billion from Leidos to create a $10 billion organization carrying the Leidos name. The move gave Leidos a much bigger footprint in each of the company’s four major areas of expertise: defense, civil, health and intelligence.

Three of those four groups have roots in Huntsville.

The Leidos team has been part of the Patriot and THAAD missile programs and supports MDA requirements and critical services to the warfighter. The new location features automated test equipment that helps provide those systems to Leidos customers at home and abroad.

“Leidos’ civil division has been contracted to NASA here in Huntsville for several years, providing logistics for all the different materials made for the International Space Station,” said Barry McDaniel, vice president of Maritime for Leidos, overseeing support for all branches of the military including the Army.

“Intelligence is also coming to Huntsville soon because the FBI is here; but our missile defense teams have been scattered. This building is an opportunity to consolidate everything related to the Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency counter unmanned air systems. That includes supporting customers all over the world including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and all of Europe.”

Military delegations from Germany and the Netherlands were in attendance.

“It’s not just about what is happening in this building, but we have five other locations and we are about to put more customers in Huntsville,” said Fasano. “That includes technical field support for U.S. Army RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aircraft systems right here at Redstone Arsenal; end-user IT services for ten NASA centers; and end-user IT services for 37,000 Army Corps of Engineers from our corridors right here in Huntsville.”

The RQ-7 Shadow is the Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle, also used by the Australian and Swedish armies for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and battle damage assessment.

Fasano also announced the arrival of Leidos Live – the company’s Innovation Virtual Experience coming to Huntsville in November. Leidos Live is an immersive technology lab and showcase on wheels where visitors will find some of Leidos’ top innovations brought to life. Fasano said it is a must-see.

Leidos, the name comes from the word kaleidoscope – the centerpiece of the instrument from which complex problems are seen from every different angle, is an IT and engineering services company. Leidos employs 235 people in Huntsville out of 34,000 in every state and more than 30 countries.

“To the Leidos team, we are so delighted to see the growth and the expansion and all the things that have happened here that make our economy move forward,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “Five years ago, we started with a very small Leidos group. Today you are threefold, and it’s a story told about Huntsville time and time again – companies throughout Research Park and throughout this city who are growing organically, growing where they are, getting bigger and bigger. Leidos has grown so much they needed a new building.

“We are so glad to be able to help them build it.”

Bechtel Cleared for Take-off in the Rocket City

One of the nation’s top construction/engineering companies has expanded its operations in the Rocket City.

Bechtel opened a new office Monday in Cummings Research Park.

This expanded presence in Huntsville will increase operational efficiencies and improve Bechtel’s collaboration with aerospace and defense industry partners, the company said.

“Today, we reflect on Bechtel’s rich history in Huntsville,” said Mike Costas, Bechtel’s Defense and Space general manager. “Today, our team looks to the future with aspirations of being an integral part of this community, providing unmatched expertise to our customers, while helping them deliver on their mission objectives.”

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included local elected officials, Bechtel colleagues and guests.

“We are excited to celebrate Bechtel’s growth in our community,” said Erin Koshut, executive director of Cummings Research Park. “Huntsville/Madison County has a ripe environment for their company to be successful – we offer a smart workforce and a beautiful, affordable place for their employees to live and raise their families.

“We look forward to our continued partnership as Bechtel moves into CRP.”

Bechtel’s history of service to the aerospace and defense industries in Huntsville goes back decades. Most recently, Bechtel-led Kwajalein Range Services, which includes Leidos, managed and operated the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands from 2002 through 2018. KRS performed engineering and business services at two Huntsville locations.

From the 1990s until 2012, Bechtel employed more than 100 professionals in Madison County as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, which is designed to protect the United States from attack by long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Additionally, the Huntsville team also has completed a number of nuclear power plants in the area, including Browns Ferry and Watts Bar, which supply electricity for more than 1 million households in the Tennessee Valley.

“Our employees are excited to once again be a part of the United States’ mission to maintain a secure national deterrent, while advancing our aeronautics and space exploration for the next generation,” said Project Engineering Manager Nathan McAdams. “The Huntsville team will work to deliver as promised to our customers and to the City of Huntsville.”

Currently, the Bechtel Huntsville team is supporting Boeing with various engineering, procurement, and construction needs. Bechtel plans to continue expanding its presence in the Huntsville area.

Pruning Cummings Research Park Infuses Vibrancy, Marketability

Any good gardener knows a first-class park requires long-term planning and seasonal pruning to ensure its vibrancy.

In 1962, Teledyne Brown Engineering (then Brown Engineering) lay deep roots on 100 acres off a dirt road that later became Sparkman Drive.

IBM, Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and the University of Alabama-Huntsville quickly followed. Since then, Cummings Research Park’s 3,843 acres of prime Huntsville real estate has been a focal point of a 50-year master plan.

Cummings Research Park, with a 92 percent occupancy rate and 240 untouched acres to spare, is the second-largest research park in the nation and fourth largest in the world.

But to better understand the growth strategy at work in the park, it is best to differentiate between Research Park East and Research Park West.

“When we talk about current growth, we mean business growth from companies within the park, especially on the west side,” said Erin Koshut, the executive director of Cummings Research Park. “On the east side, market studies show we need to redevelop that area to create greater density and to replace 1960s and 1970s buildings with properties that align with today’s economy. That will infuse the older section with new vibrancy.

“By doing that, we won’t have to look at physical land expansion per se for a very long time.”

Within the master plan are five-year work plans. The city is currently working off a plan finalized in 2016; a new plan begins in 2021. The plan acknowledges that some of the original buildings and key properties in the oldest sections of Research Park East are no longer viable in the market.

“Without the revitalization, if a company wants to go in and invest in that part of the park, they wouldn’t get their return on investment,” said Koshut. “That is why the zoning ordinances were changed for Research Park East – to give back some of the land to the park and to reduce economic setbacks.”

Cummings Research Park East

Rendering of Bradford Crossing

One such property is at Bradford and Wynn drives on the former site of the St. John Paul II Catholic High School. Driven Capital Partners in California purchased the four-acre site and plans to redevelop it into a mixed-use site called Bradford Crossing.

“Article 55 of the new zoning ordinance is very specific and says if you have a retail element on the ground floor, there has to be two or more uses,” said Koshut. “We cannot build a standalone gas station or drop a superstore in there, but a multistory building with ground floor retail will create density on a small but efficient parcel of land.

“No decision has been made on what other uses will be included, but it could be office space, multi-family residences, a hotel, or a mixture of all three on upper floors.”

There are four big red circles marking areas of Cummings Research Park East targeted for potential mixed-use redevelopment. Currently, no groundbreaking date is set for Bradford Crossing.

“This is not just the (Huntsville-Madison County) Chamber or the city calling for these changes,” said Koshut. “We have landowners like the Olin King family at Crown Leasing who own property on Bradford Drive. They demolished the building that was on it and now have the land for sale. Business and landowners understand the flavor of changes happening in the older section of the park.”

Other planned redevelopments include converting Executive Plaza off Sparkman Drive into a multi-use facility, including an arena for the UAH hockey team and convocations; and Huntsville’s plans to donate up to $1.8 million in land to Alabama’s third magnet school, the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. It has a temporary home at the Tom Bevill Center on UAH’s campus, but plans are to build a permanent location in Cummings Research Park East by 2022.

“This will give the whole park along the outskirts of UAH, a big infusion of vibrancy and marketability,” said Koshut.

Cummings Research Park West

The new Radiance Technologies facility will consolidate operations and employees.

Over in Cummings Research Park West, it is not about redevelopment but about taking what is there, making it better, and expanding the footprint. In fact, Cummings Research Park West will see three major projects and numerous moderate but significant business expansions this year.

By the end of the year, Radiance Technologies will be moving into a 100,000-square-foot facility at 310 Bob Heath Drive. The new facility will consolidate operations and employees, but with significant growth, Radiance will keep its 38,000-square-foot facility on Wynn Drive in Cummings Research Park East for a while.

The new $45.5 million, 83,000-square-foot BAE Systems building is sprouting from a 20-acre site at Old Madison Pike and Jan Davis Drive. It is scheduled to open in 2020.

The $45.5 million, 83,000-square-foot BAE Systems building is scheduled to open next year.

“BAE Systems has a long history with Huntsville dating back many years when they had only a couple of employees,” said Koshut. “We are proud to see them bringing in 200 employees, many new hires, and some recruited to Huntsville from the Northeast.”

Fifty-four-foot walls are up around the $200 million Blue Origin rocket engine production facility on Explorer Drive. Expected to open its doors in March 2020, Blue Origin is estimated to bring up to 300 jobs to the local economy.

Dynetics just expanded its footprint with the 78,000 square-foot Dr. Stephen M. Gilbert Advanced Manufacturing Facility; and IronMountain Solutions found a new home on Voyager Way.

“We have the first apartments, Watermark at Bridge Street Town Centre, built in Research Park,” said Koshut. “They consist of two four-story buildings and 240 apartments. Over half already leased before they open and of course a majority of those people work in Research Park.”

She said they would like to see an extension of Bridge Street Town Centre or at least retail that is congruent to Bridge Street grow into the commercial retail corridor between Bridge Street’s outdoor shopping promenade and Lake 4.

It’s All for the Employees

“There is a key component of all this expansion and redevelopment,” said Koshut. “It is driven by the wants and needs of employees.

“These companies want to recruit top talent to Huntsville, and they want to retain them. They require conveniences, activities, and amenities that have been available to them in cities where they are recruited from, many bigger than Huntsville.”

This includes access luxury apartments and single-family homes in or surrounding the park; creating a sense of vibrancy and community with activities such as the Food Truck Fest that draws some 300 people a month; free monthly happy hours in the park; and free Suzy’s Pops or Steel City Pops during the summer.

Later this summer or early fall, Koshut said the city will launch a pilot Bike Share project in Cummings Research Park West with three bike-share stations.

“As the city continues to invest in that program, we hope to connect many bike-share systems across the city so, at any time, an employee can hop on a bike and ride out to lunch,” said Koshut. “Young people enjoy being outside and easily get tired of being stuck in an office all day. Huntsville companies are recruiting people from cities that offer a quality lifestyle amenity.”

So, as new buildings are sprouting up all over Cumming Research Park, it always helps to keep the park neatly clipped and pruned to inspire growth and opportunities among the older, well-established buildings alongside the new and flourishing.