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YMCA to return downtown

The original building has been restored and is used by law parctices , the new location will be across from Big Spring Park.

By WENDY REEVESTimes Staff Writer [email protected]

Huntsville Utilities site to have saunas, hot tub, aerobics

Within six months, a YMCA will open in downtown Huntsville.

The YMCA Express Center will occupy 14,000 square feet on the first floor of the Huntsville Utilities building on Church Street.

http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/ind....xml&coll=1

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That is quite interesting that the YMCA left Downtown Huntsville, and recently as last year here in Birmingham our Y return to the Downtown area also. When did it leave the Downtown area and how long has it been gone? Anyways, it is positive sign for the core of HSV when place like the Y are coming back.

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That is quite interesting that the YMCA left Downtown Huntsville, and recently as last year here in Birmingham our Y return to the Downtown area also. When did it leave the Downtown area and how long has it been gone? Anyways, it is positive sign for the core of HSV when place like the Y are coming back.

it's probably been 30 years, the "Y" is doing quite well in Madison County it seems

This is the "old" Central Y downtown building that has been completely restored, it even has a swimming pool inside.

8BD507D0-6D06-4138-8EB3-3560DFFF904F.JPG

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I think this is great news. A good gym makes living and working downtown more attractive. I work downtown, so I can't wait for this to be done.

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The old Central Bank building to get a major transformation

from WAFF

http://www.waff.com/global/story.asp?s=7153490

A building in downtown Huntsville will soon undergo some major renovations.

The Park Tower building, just across the street from the Madison County Courthouse, sold recently, and the new owners have some high hopes.

To coincide with the Mayor's downtown revitalization plan, it's a project like no other.

The company is now in the works to turn a downtown building into a high rise of living, office and retail space.

Standing some nine stories high, smack dab in the center of downtown Huntsville, it's prime real estate.

"As they say in real estate, location, location, location," says Park Tower, LLC's Bill Chapman.

And it's soon to be the home of lofts, office and retail space.

It's 200 Park Tower

He explains his company's hope of creating an atmosphere where residential life meets downtown living -- all in an effort to help revitalize the City of Huntsville,

"To follow the Mayor's lead, in Huntsville being a top ten green city we're going to green up the building if you will."

The construction won't start for another 18-24 months. In the time company officials will be nailing down the details of how the building will look.

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I stumbled upon this rendering of a proposed condo tower called "218 Randolph Place" in downtown Huntsville. Looks like this is still in the planning stages, so it's not set in stone, but it's still pretty cool. If Google Maps is right, this will be located near the Courthouse Square. Looks like its going to be one of the taller buildings downtown if built like the rendering.

24.jpg

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sweet, I guess that's the vacant lot by the old Health Dept building, a parking garage is also planned for

that block I think. That is also on the top of that hill so it will have a bit of prominence. I wonder how this

is impacted bt the vague height limit or will this be a variance. Looking at the rendering it would be nice if there was more of a setback from the street.

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Oh wow! Looks great. Great location(assuming google maps is right) to add some much needed centralized density to the skyline. It looks like the rendering is colored with crayon. Is that supposed to be brick? Brick would look great, but I'll be happy just as long as they use a better color scheme than embassy suites... Maybe this will expediate a much needed courthouse renovation because man, that building is absolutely hideous.

Now if I only had a million bucks...

Looking at their website, the company's physical address is the same one as this project. Seems a little strange...

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Well, I really doubt that there would be a website for this development yet b/c it hasn't been officially announced and it's probably too early to try to get prospective buyers.

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16 Units! That is only 2 per floor. These must be some really large units. I like the location and the look of the building, but I think the Twickenham residents will fight having a building that tall at that location.

When do you think there will be a reasonably priced condo development downtown? 301 East, the proposed Ovation Condos and this development are basically retirement homes for the extremely wealthy who want to downsize. I'd like to see some units in the $150-200K range for a 2 bedroom, even if it means sacrificing some external asthetic appeal to the building. Then, some young professionals might be able to consider living downtown. That is the only way downtown will start to feel vibrant. 16 units averaging between $500k-1mil won't do that.

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16 Units! That is only 2 per floor. These must be some really large units. I like the location and the look of the building, but I think the Twickenham residents will fight having a building that tall at that location.

When do you think there will be a reasonably priced condo development downtown? 301 East, the proposed Ovation Condos and this development are basically retirement homes for the extremely wealthy who want to downsize. I'd like to see some units in the $150-200K range for a 2 bedroom, even if it means sacrificing some external asthetic appeal to the building. Then, some young professionals might be able to consider living downtown. That is the only way downtown will start to feel vibrant. 16 units averaging between $500k-1mil won't do that.

good question, even a nice apartment complex could get the same effect. The condos at the Constellation project may be a bit more reasonable but who knows. Most developers want to recoup their investment (and then some) quickly as the projects are expensive

on the front end.

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I think the best hope for affordable housing downtown will be in Dallas Ave and Cleveland Ave area where there is quite a bit of land. But even that land may be too expensive.

With building costs and downtown real estate prices being what they are, I don't think 150-200K living is in the cards. Just think how far from downtown you have to drive to be able to buy anything for 150K... Mississippi maybe. :)

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I think the best hope for affordable housing downtown will be in Dallas Ave and Cleveland Ave area where there is quite a bit of land. But even that land may be too expensive.

With building costs and downtown real estate prices being what they are, I don't think 150-200K living is in the cards. Just think how far from downtown you have to drive to be able to buy anything for 150K... Mississippi maybe. :)

OK, I realize a $150K 2 bedroom is probably not going to happen, but let's assume $150K for a 750sqft 1 bedroom and $200K for a 1000sqft 2 bedroom. That is $200/sqft. That seems really doable considering that properties in the most desirable "downtown" neighborhoods like Old Town, Five Points and Blossomwood typically don't (but sometimes do) go for that much. AND you get a yard and you don't have to pay condo fees! I wonder how land can be so expensive downtown. Look around, there are a lot of For Lease signs everywhere. The properties that are vacant aren't being snatched up quickly. I work and basically live downtown, I've seen For Lease signs in the same windows for a year or more in many cases. I realize that commercial and residential properties are two different animals, but still, if the demand is not there for commercial real estate, then why is the property value so high? The north and northwest sides of downtown have a lot of undeveloped land. Once the Searcy Homes are demolished, there will be a lot more.

Edited by rnc

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good question, even a nice apartment complex could get the same effect. The condos at the Constellation project may be a bit more reasonable but who knows. Most developers want to recoup their investment (and then some) quickly as the projects are expensive

on the front end.

A couple nice, large apartment complexes would do wonders for downtown. Maybe even more for the nightlife than condos because the tenants would typically be younger and probably a good number of college students.

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This will probably sound like a smartalek answer, but I guess it just doesn't make good business sense right now.

I think the design and construction costs of new condo buildings, like the really nice one proposed on Randolph, preclude affordable units. The city would probably have to provide some incentives to bring the profit margin up for the developers.

Renovating existing older buildings are a different story though. I think the building behind 301 East is low income, right? That building could probably be renovated into affordable units. Same with the old hotel downtown (name escapes me).

I think there is just a general lack of desirable, affordable residential real estate in the Huntsville metro area period.

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Well I went by the site quickly at lunch and few curious observations.

1. This is the current offices of John Blue Realty which are in a renovated building that

looks just like the first level or very similar to the above rendering, even the lights.

2. I think this building is designated historic(as is most of the CBD) and could not be torn down.

3. This leads me to believe the main building would be built Over the existing structure (it would not be holding up any of the new structure)

4. This view is looking south which will leave room for the planned city parking garage behind it, which could be an incentive. Most garage projects now look to have some sort of built in tenant use.

5. First United Methodist church is due north and the old Downtown YMCA building is due east.

6. Wonder how long ago this proposal was done or if it is even still valid?

Edited by HSVTiger

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This will probably sound like a smartalek answer, but I guess it just doesn't make good business sense right now.

I think the design and construction costs of new condo buildings, like the really nice one proposed on Randolph, preclude affordable units. The city would probably have to provide some incentives to bring the profit margin up for the developers.

Renovating existing older buildings are a different story though. I think the building behind 301 East is low income, right? That building could probably be renovated into affordable units. Same with the old hotel downtown (name escapes me).

I think there is just a general lack of desirable, affordable residential real estate in the Huntsville metro area period.

The city has no problem giving tons of incentives to suburban developers, why not something downtown. Heck, they keep annexing more and more land (which they have to provide services to) just to provide developers greenfield to develop.

How is there a shortage of affordable residential real estate in Huntsville? There are tons of options under $150K for a small 3/2 house in good school districts in SE Huntsville, Madison, Monrovia, NE Madison County... A friend just bought a nice starter home in a little neighborhood off Slaughter, right next to the Research Park for $130K for about 1400sqft. Other than a few minor asthetic things, it is a great little house. It is 1 mile from 20,000+ high paying jobs and the new Bridge Street development, it is in pretty good school districts and close to lots of shopping. Considering the high income in Huntsville, the housing is really reasonable, except for a few highly desirable areas.

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Local officials announced today that the Heart of the Valley YMCA will open a 14,378-square-foot fitness center on the first floor of the Huntsville Utiliites building on Spragins Street. The Downtown Express Center will include weight machines, an aerobics studio and a state-of-the-art cardio theater.

Other amenities planned for the $850,000 project, which is expected to open in May, include aerobics and spinning studios, a whirlpool, women's and men's locker rooms and a child watch area. Cardio machines such as treadmills and stationary bicycles will be equipped with individual audio feed and video screens.

http://blog.al.com/breaking/2007/12/ymca_c...downtown_h.html

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It's been no more than 20 years. I played basketball as a kid there as recent as 1985 or so. It's a fantastic building. It had a pool under the basketball court. They would just raise the floor to the ceiling for swimming. I miss the old McCormick Y on Triana in West Huntsville too. It was another great building now being used as a kitchen supply place or something.

it's probably been 30 years, the "Y" is doing quite well in Madison County it seems

This is the "old" Central Y downtown building that has been completely restored, it even has a swimming pool inside.

8BD507D0-6D06-4138-8EB3-3560DFFF904F.JPG

Edited by deesonic

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The one thing that seems to be a real magnet for drawing people is a movie theater. I think building a Rave-type theater downtown would be the thing that would actually spur all the downtown entertainment that we would all like. Ideally, it would be located close to the Civic Center (to get the attention of convention goers) and to the rest of downtown (to be within walking distance of bars and resturants before and after the movie).

Of course that land is already occupied, so a bank or Channel 19 would have to be convinced to find a new location.

I can't remember if Constellation is supposed to have a theater. In my opinion, it would be too far away from the rest of downtown to spin-off any other growth.

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Great idea. I think a movie theater would be a great addition to Constellation. I know that in the early renderings, there was (what appeared to be) a movie theater planned as an anchor. Maybe it'll come back up in the final product. True, it might be a bit far from the core, but it's probably the most visible location. And it appears that downtown is moving in that direction, and will continue to do so as long as this height limit debacle continues....

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Is there an independent film theater in or near downtown? An indie theater opened recently on Dauphin St. in downtown Mobile, and I think it's doing pretty well. It's a nice smaller draw that doesn't require the downtown area residential demographics that I assume a multiplex would require. Montgomery has had one for years in a commercial district in an old streetcar suburb. If indie theaters can make it in Mobile and Montgomery, surely one would be successful in Huntsville.

Hopefully y'all can get a multi-screen theater downtown as well.

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