Huntsville City Council OKs new downtown hotel

The Huntsville City Council on Friday approved a new hotel for the Von Braun Center area.

Posted: Mar. 15, 2019 11:05 AM
Updated: Mar. 15, 2019 7:01 PM

The Huntsville City Council on Friday approved a new hotel for the Von Braun Center area.

The boutique hotel, which must be completed by Dec. 31, 2021, will bring more hotel rooms to the city. Officials say there is demand for at least 1,000 rooms downtown for conventions.

They also expect the hotel to provide more customers to local businesses.

Of the four new hotels coming to downtown Huntsville, three of them are coming near the Von Braun Center. A fourth will be near the courthouse. City tourism officials say Huntsville needs more hotel rooms to be competitive.

Glenda Beard said she comes to the Von Braun Center often, and parking is normally an issue for her.

"The last time I came to the craft show, I couldn't find a parking space in any of the garages. They were all full," she said.

Hearing that more hotels are about to be built with no additional parking concerns her.

"I don't think there is enough parking space now, so it's really going to be difficult," she said.

Visitors from the Shoals said they were shocked by the transformation in downtown Huntsville.

"I'm amazed by all the construction going on in Huntsville," said Roger Bigbie, who lives in Florence. "There must be market for the amount of rooms they are looking at." 

The Convention and Visitors Bureau said there is a market. Hotels stay at full occupancy during the week, mostly because of conventions.

"During the week, Monday-Thursday, those rooms are all sold out, and they have to go to other parts of the city," said Judy Ryals, President of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Beard said she thinks more parking should have been the focus, instead of more hotels downtown.

"I think they could space them out throughout Huntsville and not put them all downtown," she said.

The visitors bureau says Huntsville needs more rooms to accommodate the current need, and to bring in tourism.

"We still want to see a little bit more. We are just delighted we have some openings soon, and adding to our downtown inventory," said Ryals.

The City of Huntsville is adding 500 spaces in a new garage being built on Greene Street in downtown Huntsville.

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