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Construction of Mixed-Use Development on Governors Drive Set for Early 2021

Developers of a mixed-use “I-565 gateway” to Huntsville’s Westside have released a preliminary rendering of the project and anticipate a “first quarter 2021” construction start.

Preliminary rendering of the planned mixed-use development on Governors Drive in Huntsville’s Westside. (The Beach Company)

The property, some 13 acres of land on Governors Drive near the intersections with 13th and 14th streets, will be developed by The Beach Company, a Charleston, S.C.-based development company.

The multibuilding community will feature 342 multifamily units, including 14 townhomes; 9,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space; and 48,000 square feet of Class A office space.

Residential amenities will include a pool, a fitness area, a clubhouse and ample green space with a dog park.

The planned project will complement the neighboring Stovehouse complex and will feature pedestrian walkways between the two developments.

“This community addition will help continue the momentum of growth along Governors Drive through increased walkability and connectivity,” said Ned Miller, development manager with The Beach Company. “The project was thoughtfully designed to enhance the experience of the growing number of residents and businesses expanding to Huntsville’s flourishing Westside.”

Sit Down with Success: Restaurateur Stephanie Kennedy-Mell

After she spent more than 20 years in the fashion and apparel industry, Stephanie Kennedy-Mell and her husband Matthew Mell opened the Church Street Wine Shoppe in Huntsville.

Now their Church Street Family owns Purveyor at the Avenue, Pourhouse at Stovehouse; Mazzara’s at Stovehouse; and, in spite of the uncertainty of COVID-19, they are about to open Catacomb 435, a speakeasy in the basement of Downtown Self Storage at the corner of Jefferson Street and Clinton Avenue.

Four restaurants and a fifth on the way – aren’t you facing unprecedented challenges?

I look at it as a time to work on your bobbing and weaving skills. The alternative is to get overwhelmed by it and it’s easy enough outside of COVID for small business to get overwhelmed. We take things as they come at us. Adjust, ask questions, prioritize, and handle things as they come at us. Bobbing and weaving all the time and repeating our mantra #keepmovingforward.

How are you getting through it?

We live in an amazing community. It is so supportive of small business and we feel very lucky for that.

We are extremely cautious with our customers and our employees, thanks to relationships we have with people at the hospital.

They have guided us on how to sanitize our restaurants properly and thoroughly; how to deal with positive cases, and how to follow protocols so we can stay open and keep people safe.

They provide us with quick testing, so all our employees are tested for the virus before they are hired on at the Church Street Family. It must come back negative before they can start.

What advice would you give someone getting into the hospitality business right now?

I’m not sure it’s the best time to start a new business, so if you are not already established, I would advise them to hold off.

If they are already established, I say giving up is not the answer. Go slow, be cautious, do your due diligence, and market yourself using social media to reassure people you have survived and are following protocols and guidelines.

How are things at Stovehouse?

It is a great socially distanced space, mostly outdoors, and the tables are socially distanced. It is a comfortable place to go right now to eat and drink, play bocce ball and enjoy music. It is very popular and still growing. The tenants talk to each other daily and have conversations about what is working and what is not; and what we can do together.

And the future?

It is all about attitude. This too shall pass, so keep your chin up. Have a plan and execute your plan. You may have to alter that plan but stay with it.

Athens-based Pimentos to Open At Stovehouse’s Gaslight Alley

After 25 years as an accountant, Teresa Brodie had to decide what to do next.

Keeping her current position would mean moving to St. Louis — something she knew she didn’t want. She is an only child and wanted to stay close to her parents in Athens.

That’s when she says God stepped in to choose for her. She would leave her desk job behind and purchase Pimentos gift shop in Athens.

“Making the leap from a corporate job to owning a gift shop seemed natural,” said Brodie. “My parents were entrepreneurs and I grew up with an appreciation for people operating their own businesses. It was personal—meaningful. Pimentos offered me the chance to stay close to my family and make my dream of entrepreneurship a reality.”

Now, six years after purchasing the business, Brodie and her team have decided to open its next location at Stovehouse’s Gaslight Alley shopping district.

“Stovehouse has been my dream location for some time,” Brodie said. “Once I saw advertisements for the property, I began visiting the site every few months to keep an eye on progress. I’ve wanted to be there before the first restaurant even opened.”

Pimentos opened its doors in March 2004 on the square in Athens. The owner, Shannon Bryant, wanted to develop an oasis for people looking to relax and converse while shopping for the perfect gift.

After years of building Pimentos into a well-known Athens landmark, Bryant stepped down to spend more time with her family.

And Brodie saw the opportunity to carry on her vision and purchased the store in 2014.

“I’ve always wanted to own a shop like Pimentos,” Teresa smiled. “We try to offer much more than unique gifts; although, that’s our specialty. When we get a chance to speak to our customers about what they’re looking for, we begin to know them on a more personal level. We know most of our customers’ children, spouses, friends, and big life events because we build those relationships with each visit. Our guests ultimately become our friends. That’s my favorite part of the retail business.”

During its first 10 years, Pimentos also opened a location at Hampton Cove. Stovehouse, however, will be the first expansion in 16 years for the business; the store is expected to open late this fall or early winter.

“Gaslight Alley is going to be an incredible opportunity for us for many reasons,” Brodie said. “We are most looking forward to becoming a part of the on-campus community. For instance, we can show up at the offices on-site and bring candles and small gifts so they can get to know us.

“We can help them find a gift and have it beautifully wrapped for their loved one by the end of the workday.”

Work Underway for Mixed-Use Development on Governors Drive

Work has begun on the demolition of the former Brooks motel and business offices on Governors Drive.

A mixed-use development, including a 100-room hotel, is planned for the site near the I-565 interchange.

The property, some 13 acres of land on Governors Drive near the intersections with 13th and 14th streets, will be developed by The Beach Company, a Charleston, S.C.-based development company.

The development will feature multiple buildings totaling approximately 26,000 square feet of office, retail and dining space in addition to 260 multifamily units, 14 townhomes and a 100-key hotel.

The planned project will complement the nearby Stovehouse development and will feature pedestrian walkways between them.

“This community addition will help continue the momentum of growth along Governors Drive through increased walkability and connectivity,” said Ned Miller, development manager with The Beach Company. “The project was thoughtfully designed to enhance the experience of the growing number of residents and businesses expanding to Huntsville’s flourishing Westside.”

Booz Allen Bringing 21st Century Innovation Center to Historic Stovehouse

One hundred years ago, Rome and Martin Stoves were innovators of the kitchen stove. Today, Booz, Allen, Hamilton is bringing 21st century innovation to the repurposed historical Stovehouse complex.

Positioned in the center of the revitalized property with a view  into the large grassy courtyard, the new Booz Allen Innovation Center opening this winter will showcase Booz Allen engineering expertise in a customer and community collaborative environment. Highlighting technical talent from Booz Allen in Huntsville, the 6,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art center will have a reconfigurable layout based on client work and technology requirements, including additive manufacturing and 3D printing capabilities.

Convenient to restaurants less than 100 yards away and The Shed on the east side, the center seals BAH’s commitment to Huntsville and the firm’s ability to grow to meet customer needs.

“Booz Allen is dedicated to our customers and their missions in Huntsville,” said Lincoln Hudson, senior vice president at Booz Allen and leader of the Huntsville office. “The Innovation Center is the next step in our continued investment in the city. We’re growing together, and we want to further enable our engineers to be key drivers of that growth. They’re building extraordinary solutions and making a difference.”

Booz Allen opened offices in Huntsville in 2003 and employs more than 200 people locally. The Innovation Center is its second Huntsville location.

The center will host a number of current and future solutions that demonstrate Booz Allen’s expertise. The reconfigurable space is designed to support engineering teams and demonstrations, customer meetings and employee gatherings, with a goal of fostering innovation and interest among Huntsville’s future technology talent.

“We’re thrilled that Booz Allen chose to bring its new Innovation Center to Stovehouse,” said Danny Yancey, founder and CEO of Stovehouse. “The space they’re moving into was used for innovations in stove and furnace heating technologies beginning in the 1920s, so it’s only fitting that it will be alive again with creative engineers, this time pushing the limits of technology solutions in the defense industry,

“The fact that they will showcase their work in the space as well fits right in with this campus, where it’s all about discovering something new around every corner.”

Booz Allen supports a number of Army customers in Huntsville, including the Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate, the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, the Prototype Integration Facility and PEO Aviation, in addition to work with the Missile Defense Agency, the Department of Justice’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, and NASA.

The Huntsville Innovation Center is slated to open this winter.

 

Mixed-use Development Planned for Former Governors Drive Motel Site

A mixed-use development, including a 100-room hotel, is planned for the site of a former motel and small businesses on Governors Drive in Huntsville’s growing Westside.

The property, some 13 acres of land on Governors Drive near the intersections with 13th and 14th streets, will be developed by The Beach Company. Construction is planned to start this summer.

According to an announcement from The Beach Company, the community will feature multiple buildings totaling approximately 26,000 square feet of office, retail and dining space in addition to 260 multifamily units, 14 townhomes and a 100-key hotel.

Residential amenities will include a pool, a fitness area, a clubhouse and ample green space with a dog park.

The planned project will complement the nearby Stovehouse development and will feature pedestrian walkways between them.

“This community addition will help continue the momentum of growth along Governors Drive through increased walkability and connectivity,” said Ned Miller, development manager with The Beach Company. “The project was thoughtfully designed to enhance the experience of the growing number of residents and businesses expanding to Huntsville’s flourishing Westside.”

To accommodate for the new community, approximately 620 parking spaces will be made available to residents and visitors in addition to garage storage available for apartment and townhome residents.

The Beach Company has developed the Sixth South mixed-use community in Nashville and Chattanooga’s River Rock community.

 

Vertiv Joins Stovehouse as Newest Office Tenant

Vertiv, a global IT infrastructure provider, will join the Stovehouse development on Governors Drive in West Huntsville, according to a release from Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate and Stovehouse Properties.

Recently ranked as the No. 1 supplier of remote IT management devices worldwide by analytics IHS Markit, Vertiv  expects to complete its move by the first quarter next year and will remain open at its facility on Corporate Drive during the move. Vertiv brings together hardware, software, analytics and ongoing services for data centers, communications networks and commercial and industrial facilities.

“Our new site at Stovehouse will help us match the facility to our people and our business,” said Patrick Quirk, vice president and general manager, IT systems at Vertiv. “When we decided to relocate, we prioritized finding a facility that captured the innovative nature of our company. We have roots as a small, Huntsville-based IT management device startup (formerly Cybex, then Avocent), so having the chance to connect our history with the historic Martin Stove factory was an opportunity we couldn’t miss. It should be able to accommodate our growth for years to come.

“We are excited to create a modern, collaborative work environment that builds on the bones of this historic structure. Our new office will incorporate a state-of-the-science development data center, training and demo space within a high-energy, community-driven environment. We plan to make it a place that will draw in fresh new talent and take care of our current employees.”

The owners of Stovehouse said they are excited to have Vertiv on board.

“It’s an honor to have Vertiv join our list of office tenants at the Stovehouse campus,” said Danny Yancey, owner and developer of Stovehouse. “We hope that the development will offer several amenities that are coveted in the modern workplace, like access to local cuisine, fitness studios, leisure activities, and many other things we plan to add in the future.

“Vertiv will be able to highlight these features when attracting new talent to its team.”

Estimates show when Stovehouse is at full capacity there will be around 500 people working on campus daily at the businesses along with thousands of visitors coming for food and nightly entertainment throughout the week.

“Stovehouse was created to blend the modern workplace with opportunities for leisure,” said Crunkleton’s Eric St. John. “Developers have put together an exceptional space for both emerging and established businesses like Vertiv. Office users have an enhanced quality of life thanks to other nearby services that make their workday more enjoyable and productive.”

 

Stovehouse’s ‘Retailtainment’ Concept to Include Gaslight Alley Retail District

There is nothing new about restaurants and retailers using a little pizzazz to entice customers to buy or experience their products and services.

Mexican restaurants have Mariachi bands; traditional pizza parlors entertain customers twirling pizza crusts; New Orleans chefs shuck oysters and suck crawfish heads for their customers; and retailers have BOGOs and Midnight Madness sales.

Gaslight Alley’s design is inspired by decorated alleys and shops in St. Augustine, Fla., and Lovat Lane in London. (Rendering/Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate)

But, according to Haley Clemons, marketing coordinator for Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group, retailers notice contemporary shoppers and diners are putting more importance on the experience of eating and shopping than they have in the past.

“Businesses in the retail industry are adopting out-of-the-box strategies to attract new audiences that value entertainment and interacting with brands in creative ways,” Clemons said. “Known as ‘retailtainment’ … many concepts are drawing in traffic by going above and beyond the basic shopping trip.”

Yoga-wear stores hosting in-shop fitness classes, or beauty brands encouraging their clientele to participate in the creation of their own purchases, are examples of this.

The Stovehouse Food & Leisure Garden, which is at the heart of the old stove factory property, is the perfect example of a venue conceived on the idea of retailtainment.

They have taken compatible concepts such as casual dining, live music, outdoor games, and special events and brought them together to collaborate. This creates a casual, inclusive atmosphere at the Stovehouse that is extremely popular with millennials.

Stovehouse Phase II: Gaslight Alley

With the success of the Stovehouse Food & Leisure Garden, developers are beginning Phase II where they will essentially repurpose an entirely separate section of the expansive old factory for retail, taking care to maintain the property’s old-world architecture and atmosphere. The “old-world shopping district” is called Gaslight Alley.

“Encompassing several retail spaces along a beautiful cobblestone walkway, Gaslight Alley will be home to all kinds of concepts with the hopes of attracting boutiques, soft goods, home décor, hair salons, and more,” said Clemons. “The possibilities are endless, and the district has already captured businesses — some that are scheduled to make their debut later this year.”

The Burn Collective is already hosting events at Stovehouse and its space will be open soon. (Photo/Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate)

When finished, Gaslight Alley, whose design is inspired by decorated alleys and shops in St. Augustine, Fla., and Lovat Lane in London, will be an eclectic shopping experience and a hotspot for one-stop destination shopping and retailtainment.

Currently, several businesses have set up office space at Stovehouse. Spur, Onyx Aerospace, Star Lab, Liberty Learning, and the Stovehouse Properties team are all housed there.

“Gaslight Alley businesses will also be part of the growing West Huntsville entertainment district that connects to nearby Campus 805,” said Clemons.

Among the committed tenants so far are Charlie Foster’s Coffee, F24 Training and the Burn Collective Fit Studio.

Charlie Foster’s is a locally owned, multi-roaster coffee shop at the entrance to Gaslight Alley. There is the 1,850-square-foot shop with a 500-square-foot outdoor patio. They will sell coffee beans from around the U.S., but the most unique thing about Charlie Foster’s is their plan to offer jobs to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

F45 Training, across from Charlie Foster’s, is a 2,835-square-foot functional training center offering high-intensity group circuit training classes. They will provide themed workouts and bring in a live DJ to get people motivated. They will be opening before the end of the year.

On a more mainstream level, the Burn Collective Fit studio is in the breezeway connecting to Gaslight Alley. They offer individual and group training in cardio, sculpting, and yoga barre classes, as well as athleisure apparel, candles, and jewelry. They are relocating from Franklin Street downtown.

 

Business Briefcase for June

Team Dynetics wins $130M contract for Army’s first 100kW-class laser weapon system

Dynetics, along with its partners Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and MZA Associates, has been awarded a $130 million contract to build and test the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator program, a 100-kilowatt class laser weapon system. 

“High energy laser weapons have been a system that the United States has wanted to add into their defense portfolio since the invention of the laser,” said Ronnie Chronister, Dynetics senior vice president of contracts. “We are glad to be selected to build this new and safe weapon system that will provide a simple, yet cost-effective approach in theater.”

Team Dynetics is bringing together more than 70 years of directed energy experience. As the prime contractor, Dynetics will be responsible for final assembly and integration and testing of the system. Lockheed Martin, the laser weapon system integrator, will provide the laser weapon subsystem and Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks will design the integrated power and thermal management system.

The team will build and integrate the laser weapon system onto an Army medium tactical vehicle platform and conduct field testing at White Sands Missile Range.

Stovehouse To Welcome Locally Owned Coffee Shop—Charlie Foster’s

A new, locally owned coffee shop will be serving up espresso, lattes, cold brew, matcha and much more at the Stovehouse mixed-use development on Governors Drive.

Charlie Foster’s, founded by Huntsville natives Austin Jenkins and Hollie Jenkins, will offer high-quality coffee drinks while providing employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 1,850-square-foot space will be adjacent to the food garden and include a private 500-square-foot outdoor patio for patrons. Charlie Foster’s is slated to open this fall.

“My parents, Debra and Alan Jenkins, founded Merrimack Hall in 2006 to give people with special needs a venue to practice the performing arts,” said Austin. “I’ve been lucky enough to see the impact they have made first hand, and I want to do something similar with Charlie Foster’s. We believe more businesses can offer employment to people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

“Our goal is to create an environment of inclusion and encouragement for our special needs community. All the while, we will be serving outstanding coffee in a very hip, industrial space.”

Classifying itself as a “multi-roaster” coffee shop, Charlie Foster’s will serve a variety of beans from roasters around the country, so guests can experience an array of options and flavors. There will also be plenty of cold and hot teas and pastries to choose from.

Visit charliefosters.com

Abaco Systems to move to 8800 Redstone Gateway

Abaco Systems, a manufacturer of rugged embedded computing solutions for military, defense, aerospace and industrial applications, has leased 37,400 square feet in 8800 Redstone Gateway.

“We’re delighted to have identified Redstone Gateway as the location of our new headquarters,” said Rich Sorelle, president/CEO at Abaco Systems. “This new facility will provide us with much- needed additional space and will be vital in ensuring that we can fulfill our commitments to our customers as our business continues to grow.”

Redstone Gateway is a mixed-use, class-A office park being developed by Corporate Office Properties Trust and Jim Wilson & Associates. As a result of this transaction, the building is 100 percent pre-leased. Abaco intends to occupy its space late this year.

“Abaco Systems has had a strong presence in Huntsville for over 30 years,” said COPT’s Chief Operating Officer Paul Adkins. “We’re thrilled that they have decided to make Redstone Gateway their home to be closer to their U.S. government contracting customers, to have access to walkable amenities, and to use new facilities as a recruiting tool.

“Their lease, along with other recent leases, highlights the value proposition of Redstone Gateway.”

CFD Research Awarded $50M SBIR Phase III Project

CFD Research has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase III contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command, to develop environment analysis tools, models, and test capabilities to characterize weather environment effects on the performance of weapon systems and sensors. The five-year contract has a ceiling value of $49.6 million.

Under this contract, the CFD Research team will evaluate environment and weather effects on weapon systems, sensors, and hypersonic vehicles. Huntsville-based companies Integration Innovation Inc. (i3) and IERUS Technologies join CFD Research as subcontractors for this award.

“CFD Research and our partners, through this contract, will expand the knowledge base of effects on flight vehicles and sensors and provide critical insight into the design and performance of next-generation weapon systems,” said Steve Cayson, CFD Research chief operating officer.

Mcmullan Named Huntsville Market Executive

SmartBank has named long-time banker John McMullan as market executive.

McMullan has more than 30 years of banking experience in the Huntsville area, most recently as executive vice president and market president for Southern States Bank. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alabama-Huntsville and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin’s BAI Graduate School of Banking. He is also a graduate of the Alabama School of Banking at the University of South Alabama.

An active member of the Huntsville community, he is a member of the Downtown Huntsville Rotary Club and the Huntsville Committee of 100. McMullan also serves on the City of Huntsville’s Planning Commission Board.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join this team and excited to work together to provide SmartBank clients with a first-class banking experience,” said McMullan. “SmartBank has been a great addition to the Huntsville region with a team that is talented, efficient and committed to putting the client first.”

Great Harvest Bread Co. Opening at Merchants Square

Great Harvest Bread Co. is launching its second Alabama location at the The Shops at Merchants Square,  RCP Companies announced.

Each Great Harvest bakery and café creates its own menu which may include gourmet sandwiches (including vegetarian options), espresso and coffee bar, artisan bread and other locally sourced specialties.

Great Harvest uses wheat from farms in Montana and bakes its breads every day from scratch.

“With our locally curated menu, you know you’ll be getting real food that tastes great,” said Sangeetha Bathala, owner of Great Harvest Huntsville, “We plan to source coffee and produce from local farmers and vendor and make our food the right way, with wholesome ingredients and from scratch, so you can feel good about eating our treats.”

Mercury Systems Dedicates Expanded Advanced Microelectronics Center

A Massachusetts-based aerospace and defense company is increasing its operations in Alabama.

Mercury Systems expanded its Advanced Microelectronics Center in Huntsville with a 24,000-square-foot facility for RF and digital processing technology, including 5,000 square feet of lab space with secure production capabilities.

“Our AS9100D-certified Huntsville facility now has even more capability, enabling us to continue providing very advanced, leading mixed-signal processing solutions that support our prime customers in the development of the next-generation radar, electronic warfare and ELINT systems critical to maintaining dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Neil Austin, vice president and general manager of Mercury’s Embedded Sensor Processing group.

Mercury Systems provides secure sensor and safety-critical processing subsystems to a wide variety of defense and intelligence programs.

Adtran Platform Provides Disruption-free Ultra-Broadband Wi-Fi Services

Adtran has extended its SmartOS-enabled portfolio of broadband access solutions with a new residential and small business gateway.

Operators can now expedite the delivery of ultra-fast internet services — leveraging recent investments in building multi-Gigabit access networks so that customers can have the richest broadband experience independent of location, device or infrastructure.

Huntsville-based Adtran is the leading provider of next-generation open networking and subscriber experience solutions

The new carrier-grade, SmartOS-enabled residential and small business gateway provides the ability to deliver highly competitive broadband—up to 700Mbps—without service or customer disruptions.

“The design philosophy with SmartOS is to give service providers a single, open source-based, secure software framework so that providers gain consistency and commonality to reduce testing or qualification cycles and increase speed to market for new and innovative services,” said Adtran Senior Vice President of Subscriber Solutions & Experience Jeff McInnis. “We can significantly reduce the cost and resources required to introduce new solutions into a network and help our customers bring better services to their subscribers through our feature-rich, SmartOS platform—enhancing the experience for everyone.”

Stovehouse Grand Opening Set for May 24

What do Huntsville neighborhood pools and the Stovehouse have in common?

On May 24, they will be open to the public, garnering much fanfare; kicking off the Memorial Day weekend and all that comes with endless summer evenings.

The Martin Stovehouse, circa 1929, has been totally reconfigured and reimagined to create an enticing and eclectic variety of restaurants, cocktail bars, coffee houses, boutique and unique retailing, collaborative workspaces, event and entertainment venues, courtyards, play spaces, greenspaces, and more.

The assortment of restaurants offers something for just about every taste.

Built on the foundational bricks of a bygone era, the Stovehouse is Huntsville’s largest “work-play-eat-drink” and events space. The lines are decidedly blurred between worktime and playtime here, as well as the merging of the modern with historic.

The Stovehouse delivers the charm of small-town culture fused with high-tech urban energy.

With ample parking on both sides of the building, there’ll be plenty of room for everyone. There’s a street and a footpath in development that will connect the Stovehouse with Campus 805, thus enhancing the potential for jointly hosted conferencing and special event bookings.

In any case, the convenient location will allow for people to participate in several events on the same evening, without having to move their car.

Recently at the Stovehouse’s recent “soft opening,” guests had the opportunity to “dip their toes into the water.” – quite literally, as it was pouring down rain for the entire event.

Despite the deluge, the place was packed with the crowd checking out the newly configured property, to experience the Pourhouse and check out the rooftop bar while listening to the sounds of Spectrum Jazz.

The funky and very eclectic Company Store was also open for the event, complete with unique offerings of craft sodas, lemonade, and candy.

The store is truly a paradise for kids and nostalgic adults.