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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.

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.

Something Delicious is Cooking at Stovehouse

In case you haven’t noticed, there is something moving around over at the century-old Martin Stove Factory, and we are sure it is not the ghosts of Charles and W.H. Martin, transitioning wood-burning stoves into electric ranges and cast-iron skillets.

However, there is definitely something cooking in the old stove plant at 3414 Governors Drive in west Huntsville that promises to satisfy that itch you often get – you know, the one where you are craving something out of the ordinary to eat and a unique atmosphere in which to enjoy it?

Danny and Patti Yancey purchased the old Martin Brother’s stove plant facility in 2016 to preserve its rich history. Danny is a Huntsville history buff and 30-year veteran of construction and finance. Together with Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group, they are developing the 200,000 square foot building situated on a 10-acre property into a thriving large-scale food, office, events, and entertainment complex surrounding a hub of eclectic cuisine that showcases the talents of local restaurateurs and chefs.

“Stovehouse will blur the line between modern and historical, work and play, and small-town culture and high-tech urban energy,” said Yancey. “The food garden is the heart of Stovehouse. It’s where the city can mingle, enjoy live music, play games, and experience some of the best food Huntsville has to offer.”

Several local restaurateurs and chefs will be opening unique dining concepts in the food garden, beginning with Kamado Ramen, Oh Crêpe, Pourhouse, and Mazzara’s Italian Kitchen.

Kamado Ramen and Oh Crêpe are Japanese-inspired eateries, both members of Huntsville and Madison’s I Love Sushi restaurant team.

Coincidentally, Kamado means “stove” in Japanese and they will feature several bowl options that include various noodles, sauces, vegetables and meats. All sauces will be made in-house and patrons can enjoy dishes that showcase pork belly, chicken breast, kimchi, deep fried pork, and Japanese soft-boiled eggs.

General manager Chao Fang said, “Kamado will be hyper-focused on creating the highest quality ramen dishes in the area. A lot goes into creating exceptional ramen and our goal is to be the place everyone immediately thinks of when someone mentions ramen in Huntsville.”

Jim Xue, partner at Kamado Ramen and Oh Crêpe, said, “Huntsville is very progressive when it comes to accepting new and exciting restaurants to the area. When it came to selecting a site, Stovehouse fit our needs on every level. We are very excited to be a part of it.”

Oh Crêpe will offer a fun spin on traditional crêpes using Japanese flavors and ingredients like banana, green tea ice cream and chocolate, or savory selections like lobster, chicken and spinach. The crêperie will also offer Taiwanese-style shaved ice cream along with several toppings.

General manager Yituan Wang said, “You can completely change the look and taste of crêpes depending on what flour you use. Oh Crêpe will use Japanese rice flour, and pay special attention to the presentation. We can’t wait for people to see how beautiful our crêpes look and discover how wonderful they taste.”

The creators of Church Street Wine Shoppe and Purveyor have committed to opening Pourhouse, an eclectic upscale bar; and Mazzara’s Italian Kitchen at the Stovehouse Food Garden next year as well.

“We like to think that if Purveyor had a little sister, Pourhouse would be in her place,” said Stephanie Kennedy-Mell, the pub’s co-owner and creator. “Pourhouse will be a bohemian, laid-back, upscale and ‘comfortably swanky’ bar with unique touches not yet seen in Huntsville. Customers can grab a drink and enjoy the rooftop deck or one of our heated outdoor patios, complete with fireplace. It will be at the center of everything at Stovehouse.”

Pourhouse will serve a wide selection of wines; domestic, international and local craft beers; spirits; and handcrafted cocktails. Although no food will be served at the bar, guests are welcome to bring food from the eateries over to the Pourhouse area and enjoy their meal with their favorite Pourhouse selection.

Serving fresh, made-in-house pasta, sauces, and other traditional Italian fare, Mazzara’s Italian Kitchen will feature primarily Mazzara family recipes. They have been passed down for generations to owner Stephanie Kennedy-Mell, from her great-grandparents, Stefano and Carmela Mazzara, who were Italian cooks from Sicily.

“Mazzara is my family name and our menu may feature favorites like chicken parmigiana and lasagna as staples, but my great-grandmother’s eggplant rollatini will be something everyone will be watching for,” she said. “Service and quality are our trademarks at the Church Street Family and this will be fast, casual service with the high-quality food our customers have come to expect from us.”

Managed by Chef Rene Boyzo of Purveyor, Mazzara’s will also feature Guistino’s Gelato, a made-from-scratch gelateria created by Huntsville local, Justin Rosoff.

Rosoff took classes in Bologna, Italy, to craft artisanal hard and soft-serve gelato, pastries, and gelato pops. All gelato will be made in small batches on premise, so guests can watch Justin create the desserts in person. Patrons can also enjoy seasonal sorbets, biscotti, rainbow cookies, almond cookies and Italian coffee. Dairy- and gluten-free options will be available.

All four eateries are scheduled to open in March 2019.

“Stovehouse is the perfect backdrop for these new concepts from Matt and Stephanie,” said Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Principal Wesley Crunkleton. “The Food Garden will allow guests to experience delicious authentic food from different destinations around the world, and the Church Street team has a proven track record of success when it comes to creating concepts that Huntsville embraces.”

Star Lab moves office to Stovehouse

Star Lab has moved its engineering office to Stovehouse. (Star Lab Photo)

 

A Washington, D.C.-based security company has moved its Huntsville office to the city’s Westside.

Star Lab, an embedded security company which provides solutions to defense and commercial customers, recently moved to the Stovehouse development.

The company relocated its Huntsville engineering facility to a 4,626 square-foot space at the historic mixed-use development on Governors Drive.

“Stovehouse has an authenticity that makes it appealing to our employees and clientele,” said Star Lab CEO and Irby Thompson. “We chose the location for practical reasons, like its close proximity to Redstone Arsenal and Research Park.

“However, we also committed to Stovehouse because we were looking for an environment that wasn’t ‘cookie-cutter’ and provided amenities like food options and after-work entertainment.”

Founded in 2014, Star Lab’s mission is to ensure that critical systems operating in hostile situations are able to withstand cyber attacks, reverse engineering and other nefarious activities. The company safeguards the integrity and security of multibillion-dollar assets and provides solutions that severely limit potential attacks.

Danny Yancey, owner/developer of Stovehouse Properties, said Star Lab has been a great addition to the development.

“Having Star Lab as part of our growing community has been a privilege,” said Yancey. “Irby and his team were in search of a space that would align with their culture and values, as well as provide more visibility to their growing client base.

“Stovehouse delivers the collaborative setting they were looking for and we are honored to have them on board.”

For information, visit stovehouse.com and starlab.io.

 

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.”