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timmay143

Huntsville City Hall - New location and redevelopment of the old site

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Decided this could be worthy of its own thread.

Noticed they were demolishing this a few weeks ago.  The city annex, which sits adjacent to City Hall in between Church St and Fountain Cir east of Big Spring Park, is up for redevelopment.  For now it seems it will be "green space" after demolition.  However, according to the city's general services director, Ricky Wilkinson, there are plans to eventually tear down the City Hall, as well, for relocation and the whole site is slated for mixed-use.  Seems that City Hall would be rebuilt across the street where the current municipal parking garage is located on Fountain Cir with Madison St to the NE and Gates Ave bordering the south.

A bit of a shame, IMO.  While nothing spectacular, I do kind of like the cladding on City Hall.  Most would probably disagree and think it is pretty ugly.  Not sure of the state of the inside of the building, but it will probably be better suited for something else.  Now that AT&T comm building next door, that's a different story!

I "stole" KJHburg's picture for reference.  This is the City Hall building looking SE in the eastern portion of BSP.  Kind of has an art deco look?

IMG_5346.JPG

https://whnt.com/2018/09/01/huntsville-city-officials-disclose-plans-for-demolished-city-annex-site/

Quote

Huntsville city officials disclose plans for demolished city annex site

Posted 10:06 pm, September 1, 2018, by Kelley Smith, Updated at 10:45PM, September 1, 2018

The city annex is located on some valuable real estate. It sits right across the street from Big Spring Park. So when the building is completely removed, what will go in its place?

"Once they're finished up they'll bring in some dirt and some out the site the best we can and have some grass growing and just have kind of a green space,"

But it probably won't just stay a green space forever. In fact, there are plans to give this entire corner a complete makeover. The city's general services director, Ricky Wilkinson says plans are in the works to eventually also to rebuild city hall in a new location and tear down the current city hall building.

"The plan is the municipal parking deck which is across the street from that would be demoed, torn down, and then the new city hall would be built on the north part of that property and then we would have a parking deck connected on the south part of that property. That's the current plan," he said.

Wilkinson says the city's master plan has this corner slated as an area for mixed-use space.

"In general mixed-use developments consist of some form of retail, maybe a food and beverage type space, as well as some offices, potential apartments, things like that," Wilkinson detailed.

Leaders want to add to the vibrancy of downtown and give people even more reasons to come to the park.

Plans for the new city hall are in the schematic design phase. The city is working with the company Goodwyn Mills and Cawood to create schematic designs of what the inside of the building could look like.

Officials say the city has yet to enter into a contract with an architecture firm. They should be ready to do that late this year or early 2019.

Screen shot from overhead Google Maps:

image.thumb.png.624c19ed83adf30ddf94e481fb88e1f7.png

Edited by timmay143
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I see the city hall redevelopment has been planned for at least a year or so.  The building is over 50 years old and was constructed in 1963.

Even though this building was constructed in the 60's, it seems to have a P.W.A. (Public Works Administration) Moderne style.  The PWA style was popular in the '30s and '40s after the great depression era due to relief projects sponsored by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  Maybe it is a form of Brutalist style as well?

https://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/03/huntsville_takes_first_step_to_1.html

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Huntsville takes first step toward building new city hall

Updated Mar 12, 2017; Posted Mar 12, 2017

By Paul Gattis, [email protected]

At Thursday's meeting, the city council approved a $36,500 contract with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood architectural and engineering firm for preliminary design services.

Mayor Tommy Battle cautioned, however, that a new city hall won't be rising from the ground for years.

"When we start talking about a city hall today, we're talking six or seven years away from moving into the thing," Battle said. "We may be being very optimistic in that. We need to start now if we want to be in something new in seven to 10 years. That means this building has to last that long, too."

Huntsville's current administration building on Fountain Circle was completed in 1963. City officials are also spread among about a half-dozen buildings in the downtown area and an objective of a new city hall would be to bring those employees under one roof.

The initial planning will also help identify sites ideal for a new city hall. Battle said possible sites include the parking deck across Fountain Circle from the current city hall, the city annex next door to the current city hall or the parking lot on the north side of Huntsville Utilities off Clinton Avenue.

https://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/07/developers_propose_new_iconic.html

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Developers propose new 'iconic' building for downtown Huntsville

Posted Jul 30, 2017

By Paul Gattis, [email protected]

What the vote at Thursday's council meeting passed was a resolution authorizing Mayor Tommy Battle to enter into a non-binding letter of intent with the developers - Triad Properties/Crunkleton & Associates - for the redevelopment of the site of the current city hall and the shuttered annex building next door.

The new downtown master plan called for a large mixed-use building that would be built on the city hall site and front Church Street. Battle said that is the plan for Triad/Crunkleton.

"If you're going to get what you have from UDA (the developers of the master plan) and that type of development, you've got to tie down to one person to do it, one firm who has committed to doing something like this," Battle said.

City leaders have already deemed the current city hall, which opened in 1963, as obsolete moving forward. The building's physical condition indicates its time is drawing to an end and it's only about half as efficient due to spacing as it needs to be.

The city has employees spread out in nine buildings across the town and a new city hall would bring them together under one roof. That would also allow the city to shed itself of the costs of those other facilities, Davis said.

Edited by timmay143

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April was when it was reported that the Huntsville city council approved a $698,773 contract with Gulf Services Contracting to demo the annex building.  The contract total length is for 6 months.  The first half of the contract is to remove asbestos from the building.  The last 3 months will be for removing the structure.  At this point, it seems there was no decision yet on where to build the new City Hall.  It also seems that using the annex land for redevelopment, a public/private endeavor for an "iconic" mixed use building up to 16 stories tall, was on hold at this time.  However, a master plan conducted by the city in 2017 proposed that the new City Hall be built at a current parking garage site.  BSP would then be extended into where City Hall currently sits while a "city skyline-dominating mixed-use building" would be built at the annex site.

https://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2018/04/demolishing_of_huntsville_city.html

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Demolishing of Huntsville city hall annex set for later this year

Updated Apr 30, 2018; Posted Apr 30, 2018

By Paul Gattis, [email protected]

The annex to Huntsville's city hall, located just a few feet south from the eight-story administration building, is expected to be demolished by the end of the year.

The Huntsville city council on Thursday approved a $698,773 contract with Gulf Services Contracting to remove the long-abandoned building that once housed, among other offices, the city's police department.

The demolition of the building has been in the works for some time and the council last September approved a contract to plan the deconstruction of the building, which descends from its presence next to city hall on Fountain Circle to Church Street.

Alas, the demolition of the building will not include a dramatic implosion.

The city council is also inching toward approving a new city hall to be built across Fountain Circle on the site of the current city hall parking deck. Hamilton reminded the council that removing the annex is a needed project and has nothing to do with building a new city hall.

"Demolishing the annex is not the beginning of replacing city hall," he said. "That should be thought of as a separate and distinct requirement, a separate and distinct project."

In September, the council was told that the city was under orders from the state to remove the unused elevators in the annex. Rather than removing the elevators and then tearing down the mothballed building, the council is opting to just removing the building altogether now.

As for what will happen at the site of the annex once the demolition is complete, Hamilton said that depends on what the council decides about building a new city hall. Assuming the council goes forward - as the body has indicated it currently favors - with building a new city hall across the street, the annex site could be teamed with the current city hall site for private development.

A public/private deal in discussions with two Huntsville developers to build what Mayor Tommy Battle described as an "iconic" downtown building - perhaps as tall as 16 stories - have quietly died. The possibility that those talks could be revived, of course, remains a possibility.

A master plan approved by the city council last year - which included the new city hall at the site of the parking deck - would allow the expansion of Big Spring Park onto the footprint of the current city hall while calling for a city skyline-dominating mixed-use building more to the south where the annex now stands.

Picture of the City Hall annex portion currently undergoing demolition (or is already demoed at this point).  This is off of Fountain Cir looking southwest.

The abandoned annex of Huntsville city hall, located next to the administration building on Fountain Circle, is set to be demolished later this year. (Paul Gattis/pgattis@al.com)

 

From this WHNT story, the building does look pretty decrepit.

https://whnt.com/2018/05/24/one-last-look-at-the-huntsville-city-hall-annex/

Edited by timmay143

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