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Downtown Construction Continues Despite Pandemic

Despite “shelter-at-home’’ orders followed by “safer-at-home’’ and, most recently, mandatory masking guidelines because of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction downtown appears to have proceeded as expected.

Downtown Huntsville Inc. CEO Chad Emerson said he’s unaware of any plans being altered as far as building in the middle of the city is concerned.

“I’m not aware of any projects that have been canceled because of the pandemic,’’ Emerson said.

He also said he’s not sure whether or not the pandemic has slowed any construction.

“That I don’t know because, well, there are some projects that aren’t moving as fast as others but that happens all the time,” Emerson said. “So I don’t know and I haven’t heard directly from any of the developers whether the pandemic is the reason or it could be something like financing or construction materials.’’

DHI has played a major role in revitalizing the downtown district.

Current construction projects underway are the new Huntsville Hospital Orthopedic and Spine Tower, Eclipse lofts at CityCentre, the Redstone Federal Credit Union building, the Curio Hotel, and the parking deck at Green Street and Holmes Avenue.

“Those are the ones that have gone vertical,’’ Emerson said. “There are other smaller projects — the new restaurants on the North Side Square and other things like that. So there are those on a larger scale. There’s a new dessert location going into The Avenue and there’s a new lounge going into 127 Holmes. So, you have a mix of smaller or larger projects.’’

The Avenue has added Cookie Dough Magic, an edible cookie dough parlor, next to Melt restaurant on Holmes Avenue.

The 127 Holmes site also houses Moe’s Original Bar B Que.

The Avenue Will be ‘Melt’-ing in the Spring

Birmingham-based restaurant Melt will open a location at The Avenue in downtown Huntsville.

Specializing in classic comfort food with a modern twist, Melt will be in a 3,628-square-foot site on Jefferson Street with a full bar offering cocktails, Huntsville beers, wine and liquor to go along with its signature menu. The restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open in late March.

Founded and co-owned by Paget Pizitz and Harriet Despinakis, Melt began as a food truck in 2012 that quickly gained a large, dedicated following. After years of success, the duo opened the first brick-and-mortar Melt in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham in 2014.

Melt’s menu ranges from unique appetizers to sandwiches, salads and other healthy fare. With the goal of being an inclusive culinary destination, Melt has selections for everyone in the family, including gluten-free and vegan options.

According to Despinakis, downtown Huntsville has a vibe that they believe supports the concept.

“When we explored the downtown Huntsville area, we immediately noticed that it appealed to young professionals, families and many different lifestyle groups,” said Despinakis. “Melt is all-encompassing—a place that’s perfect for families, date nights, business lunch meetings, solo dining and more. The Avenue location will have its own distinctive atmosphere because it’s part of a larger development, which is something we’ve yet to experience.

“However, there will be no question that it’s Melt when you walk inside and enjoy your meal. We welcome guests who have already visited us in Avondale and can’t wait to introduce ourselves to new friends in Huntsville.”