Decatur Development Blog

Expansion and Development in the Greater Decatur area

Posts Tagged ‘development’

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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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.

Why?

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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McD’s and Annexation

Posted by alalto on October 1, 2008


I was correct about what I read in the paper the other day about what was being considered during the city council meeting. Decatur is getting it’s 4th McDonald’s restaraunt, it will be located on Alabama 20 near Woodall Road.

The developers of the McDonald’s are also planning to annex 130 acres into the city.

This annexation announcement has been brought on by the city’s use of a sewer fund to attract development by helping to cover the cost of sewer service, which is a huge draw to businesses and residential development.

This is the second time the fund has been used since it was created, the first being the 400 unit housing development on Burleson Mountain being built/annexed.

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City seeks downtown grant

Posted by alalto on September 30, 2008


The city council approved 5-0 a venture to ask for a state grant of $400,000 for streetscape work on the lower portion of Bank Street. Improvements would include the conversion of the 4 lanes to 2 lanes, diagonal parking, wider sidewalks, improved lighting and a brick paved median.

All of this would be meant to encourage development along the lower portion of Bank Street, which is key to improving the connection between downtown and Mid-Downtown (Bank Street). Funding is already being gathered for improvements on 2nd Avenue and Lee Street.

Judging by the topics covered in the city council meeting, it appears that a McDonalds (really just someone with the name McDonalds USA) might be locating along Alabama 20. I’ll see if I can figure anything else out.

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Ever been to Point Mallard???

Posted by alalto on July 30, 2008


Have you?

Cause if you haven’t, I’d recommend you go there before you become one of the ones that goes just because it’s the “cool thing” to do.

Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap is desperately looking for funding for improvements on Point Mallard Park. As many of you know, Point Mallard is where “America’s First Wave Pool” lies. Well, for the part that you may not be so familiar with is the increasing revenues that the park is experiencing during this horrible horrible HORRIBLE economic downturn.

I say this with sarcasm because the entire park has seen a revenue increase of 14%. Divided out, that’s 7% for the aquatic center, 9% for the general park, 19% for the golf course, 5% for the ice rink, and 24% for the campground.

Now, that’s grand over all. But, when you realize that the ice rink has not been the most popular attraction in Decatur it becomes pretty gasp-worthy. And the 24% for the campground, that’s just down right outstanding.

Well, Jeff Dunlap is looking for the city council to include in the bond issued for the Sweetwater development, funding for a lazy river ($2 Million). Dunlap is also asking that the city council hand the park $180,000 to provide sewer hookups to the the C and D parts of the campground. The campground is usually booked completely throughout the year by people who are wanting to stay throughout the entirety of the city’s festivals held at the park.

You may be asking, what justifies all this? Well, the fact that the Aquatic Center is the 2nd most popular amusement park in the state might just give you that answer. Also, with the recent downturn in the economy and increasing gas prices, more people are staying closer to home and going to more local attractions.

Dunlap is hoping to capitalize on all of this by allowing the park to continue setting attendance and revenue records, as it has been each year for about the past 5 years.

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Doing business in Decatur, and 6th Avenue renovations

Posted by alalto on July 29, 2008


I was reading the Insider in the Birmingham News today. The article put the spotlite on the Alabama metros that ranked in a list of cities to do business. In the entire state, Auburn-Opelika ranked 5th, Huntsville was ranked 32nd, Tuscaloosa was ranked 90th, and Decatur was 100th. You can look at the link for the full list.

Birmingham News: Insider

The owner of the small shopping center at the corner of 6th Avenue and 11th Street SE is spending $65,000 on renovating the property. If you’re not familiar with where this is, it’s the center that Mando’s used to call home. I miss Mando’s 😦 Anyway, YAY! finally. This place has been look awful for the longest time, so it’s about time this place got a facelift.

Daily Article

In other news, the Chili’s that is being constructed at the corner of the Beltline and Modaus Rd SW is nearly finished.

The city of Priceville is asking the people that own the Morgan County Fairgrounds (they plan to move the fairgrounds to an area in Priceville) to drop the plan to move there. Which I do not agree with. Priceville needs some more development.

And the town of Trinity is petitioning MCATS (Morgan County Area Transit Service) to provide the town service. That should have already been done, considering that MCATS already services Eva and Lacey’s Spring.

BTW, here’s the Daily article about the city council approving the Sweetwater contract.

Daily article

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Ordinance Adopted

Posted by alalto on July 29, 2008


All voting members of the Decatur City Council voted in favor of the ordinance for the incentives for the Sweetwater development.  Billy Jackson (the council president) wasn’t very clear on what all the ordinance included, but I’m going to do some research and try to figure out what all is included.  Mr. Jackson made it seem like the ordinance approved the incentives so long as the city’s concerns were worked on.  Like I said, it wasn’t very clear, so I’m gonna do a bit of research.

SOME CLARIFICATION

Ok, so I snooped around and came across a video on WAFF.com.  It explains that the ordinance that was approved tonight formalized an agreement that guarentees a Bass Pro, hotel/convention center/225,000 square feet of retail space.  So, it seems that the city moved to accept the contract and what not.  Here’s the link if you wanna watch for yourself.  There’s going to be a story on WAFF tonight at 10PM about the meeting, so you can watch that and get some clear info, I’ll also try and post the link to that video on here for you.

WAFF Video

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City Council Meeting

Posted by alalto on July 28, 2008


I’m going to be going to the council meeting at 7PM soon.  They’re supposed to vote on accepting or rejecting the contract with Genesis USA for the Sweetwater Development.  I’ll post when I get home from the meeting about what happened.

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Buses, Sweetwater and a sit down with the Mayoral candidates.

Posted by alalto on July 27, 2008


Decatur City Schools has approved expanding the current bus systems from 17 routes to 27 routes.  This will enable the busing system to encompass the entire system and allow full busing for all students.

The Daily recently sat down with mayoral candidates Don Kyle and Don Standford.  Both candidates talked about things like energy issues, citizen complaints, and Calhoun’s venture to locate an arts program downtown.  Both candidate’s answers were almost exactly the same, and both seemed like genuinely good candidates, but I’m still partial to Don Kyle. 

Some things I found interesting in the interview with the candidates was the mention of the downtown redevelopment proposals and some road construction proposals.  The downtown redevelopment was what I most enjoyed.  They both expect to have lower Bank Street redevelopment started in fiscal 2009 (if funding is available) and 2nd Avenue started in fiscal 2010.  2nd Avenue would be the most expensive at around $1.2 Million and Bank Street would be the least  at $874,000.  The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has already given $350,000 to the 2nd Avenue cause and local businesses have amassed some $112,000. 

As for road construction, there was mention of a proposed connector of Auburn Drive and Modaus Road in Southwestern Decatur.  This was interesting to hear, cause I’d NEVER heard of it.  There weren’t any details really offered at all.  But, it definitely sounds like a good proposal that would encourage a lot of residential growth in the Cedar Ridge area.

Finally, after 4 months, the city council is set to vote on whether or not to approve a contract with Genesis USA for the Sweetwater development.  If approved, Genesis would develop the first planned phase (125 acres) of the 536 acre property at the corner of Alabama 20 and I-65.  Sweetwater is to contain a Bass Pro Shops.  Genesis USA has yet to formalize a deal with any hotel developmer, which is key to repaying the debt that the city of Decatur would incure by offereing incentives to Genesis.

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