Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Archive for July, 2011

6th and Beltline

Posted by alalto on July 31, 2011

I apologize for how long it’s taken me to post about this.  Either way, here’s my take on the new development at 6th and Beltline.

Below is an excerpt from the Decatur Development Map, which you should take a look at 😉

Pay attention to the numbers and colors, they’ll help you figure out what’s going on.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Red means “Expected; awaiting construction”
Blue means “Completed”
Purple means “Proposed”

1) Shopping center, supposedly anchored by Kohl’s (they haven’t released the anchor yet, but it’s generally believed to be Kohl’s). 80,000 to 110,000 sqft.

2) Olive Garden: Currently occupied by Lynn Layton Cadillac. Lynn Layton Cadillac will move across 6th Ave (US 31) (the large road that runs north south). After Cadillac moves across 6th Ave, three takes place.

3) Lynn Layton Nissan and Cadillac move in together. Nissan will be remodeled once Cadillac moves over.

4) Kroger intends to build a fuel center in front of its building. At this moment, we don’t know where on that property it will be built.

5) New tenants have been announced for the Crossings of Decatur (anchored by Target) as:
– Moe’s Southwest Grill
– Gigi’s Cupcakes
– Shoe Show
– The Children’s’ Place

6) Bender’s Gym: A 33,000 sqft, $3.5 Million facility.

There’s also another development that I neglected to label on the map. The orange box immediately to the right of #2 (Olive Garden) is a Verizon Store that is currently under construction.

7) This is some proposed development spot. They didn’t really say anything about anyone looking at, simply that it was “prime real estate.”

Here’s the deal.

Most of this I expect to happen.  The city will benefit through increased tax revenue, substantially.  However, traffic is going to get bad.  The city plans improvements to the Beltline/Veterans Dr intersection, and there will be a light placed in front of the Kohl’s shopping center.

Eventually something is gonna have to give, and I don’t think we can expect anything to happen until the widening of the Beltline on the SE end.  Even with that widening, you still have the problems on 6th Ave and AL 67 east of US 31.  What we consider moderate traffic during the day (non rush hour times), can/will quickly grow into heavy.  It seems quite short-sighted of the city to only consider slight intersection improvements.

What else can we expect?  Sales tax produce is going to increase.  I don’t mean from the stores that are planned for construction, I’m talking about all over town.  Folks in Lawrence, Morgan, and northern Cullman Counties will have less of a reason to drive to Huntsville now, since Decatur is closer and will be more able to satisfy their shopping needs.  So, look for more traffic ALL OVER town.

As for when all of this will be completed, there’s no telling.  If I had to guess, I’d say mid 2013 would be the latest.  But, we all know how things progress in this city…


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Development Map

Posted by alalto on July 26, 2011

Check out the updates to the Decatur Development Map!

We’re now on Tumblr!  Still under construction, but you can go ahead and follow us!  It’s our Decatur Development Blumblr!

Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

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Stratford Doctors Offices

Posted by alalto on July 24, 2011

You might remember a long time ago that there was a proposal for the corner of Stratford Road SE, and 6th Ave SE for some office buildings. Well, according to the “Building Permits” listed in the DecaturDaily today, those offices are finally about to be built. It’s been probably 3 or 4 years, but they’re about to be constructed by Fite for about $650,000. It’s about time…

I hope to have another post soon about the activity at 6th Ave/The Beltline.

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What’s With All The New Development?

Posted by alalto on July 20, 2011

Maybe you’ve noticed, Decatur’s been kinda popular within the past month or two when it comes to job announcements and retail developments.


If you asked this question to my face, I’d tell you, “Who cares?”  BUT, since this is a development blog…

Basically, folks, the economy is recovering and we’re ahead of the curve.  Well, really, all of the Tennessee Valley is ahead of the curve.  Huntsville has seen a massive tidal wave of new residential developments in downtown (by Alabama standards), Madison has started construction on a development that will be almost identical to “The Crossings of Decatur,” here we’ve had announcements of an Olive Garden and new shopping center (supposedly including Kohls); and this could all be added to by an Audi announcement (everyone hope and pray).

All of these developments make me ask, “What are we doing in the way of planning to cope with the potential outcomes of these announcements?

The City of Huntsville has set out a great plan for communities surrounding a potential Audi plant in Huntsville annexed Limestone County.  You can read about it here in the Huntsville Development News.

The plan includes village centers, planned residential areas, and probably the first function grid systems since the early 20th century.  Why are grids important?  City’s like Atlanta don’t really have them, so you can guess how they might impact future growth.

Anyways, the effort to mitigate traffic and sprawl problems from these developments has shown promise, but more needs to be done.  I know, I’m always saying that more needs to be done.  It’s true though, The South has never really been at the forefront of planning for its future.  However, some of our cities have really been making a good effort to plan for their future (Huntsville, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa have been doing the best so far).  There’s no reason why we can’t join the ranks.  It’s time that we make the efforts of the “Downtown Decatur Redevelopment Authority” an official part of the city planning department.

I’m happy that within the past month we’ve had two announcements that will add over 300 jobs to the market, but I want to be sure that the people that move here to take those jobs will be building homes in a way that compliments the residents that already reside here.

ANYWAYS, back to the original reason for this post.  Why the developments are here.

1)  North Alabama has a very diverse economy.  Decatur is the manufacturing anchor, while Huntsville is the tech anchor, so our region easily recovers from a weak economy.

2)  Morgan County had very little damage from the April tornadoes, and zero deaths.

3)  We have a skilled workforce to draw from.  Any industry can set up in our town and expect to have applicants that have specialties from robotics to assembly lines.

How will all of this affect us?

I know many of us are wondering how this will affect our own pockets and patience.  Basically, you’re going to see A LOT more traffic around the 6th/Beltline intersection.

What will that lead to?  I think you’ll start to see leaders thinking about widening nearby roads like Veterans Drive as citizens attempt to take alternate routes.  Additionally, you’ll see more traffic along AL 20/ALT 72, but the newly widened Beltline should help tremendously.


All in all, the affect shouldn’t be that huge in how much it messes with your patience.  BUT, I think you’ll start to notice that you’re traveling to Huntsville less and less.  After Academy was built, I think that kept nearly 175,000 people from making thousands of trips to Huntsville because they could now shop for pretty much anything they needed in Decatur.  After these new developments, we’ll see more of that, which really helps our school budgets and city coffers.

It’s all good people, embrace it 😉

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High End Apartments for Young Professionals?

Posted by alalto on July 7, 2011

The Daily recently did an article about how the city is attempting to attract a developer that will construct some upper class apartments in order to attract young professionals that work in the city.

While I believe that the effort is a good one, and I agree that we need to be working harder to keep our young professionals from living outside our city, I’m not sure how well the city’s idea would work.


Put bluntly, Decatur doesn’t have good nightlife.  Retaining these young professionals is all fine and dandy, but they have to have something to do, right?  We have some good restaurants, and downtown is FINALLY starting to pick up as far as night business goes.  BUT, more has to happen before we can truly have something that these 20 somethings desire.  I should know, I’m 22, as of today of course.  It’s my birthday 😉

Anyways, if this apartment complex idea is to be effective, it has to be constructed in or near downtown.  Why?  Because young people are more and more trying to get away from driving EVERYWHERE.  Our 20 somethings that have grown up in Decatur may not be so open to walking everywhere because of our car based layout, but young professionals that have attended schools like Alabama, Auburn, Vandy, or Ohio State have been using public transit for years.  I remember when I first got to Alabama, I never thought I’d use the buses, but they turned out to be an invaluable asset in the mornings…  So, since we cannot at present provide adequate public transit, we need to be able to provide a walkable community.

Bottom line is that our city needs to start working constructing walkable communities.  I was very happy with how they installed sidewalks along Sandlin Rd, and the results have been great.  There’s been much more foot traffic.  So, we need to replicate that, especially along 6th Ave.  That street is aging and needs something to bring it back.

So, all in all, the city’s idea for a high end apartment complex is a good one.  BUT, they need to be careful on which area they’re interested in for this project or else it will never succeed.

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