A housing and retail development is set to reshape a large portion of south Huntsville.
A 850-acre field just north of Grissom High School is set to become the Big Spring Park of south Huntsville, according to the developer Jeff Enfinger. He said this project will have an economic impact of $450 million for Huntsville.
Dirt is already being moved in the early phases of this project that is decades in the making. The opening of the new Grissom High School jump-started the project two years ago. Since then, Enfinger said other developments in Huntsville increased the need for new homes, "with Toyota Mazda and the FBI announcement and so those come along at a perfect time for us."
The homes will range from $300,000 in price to $700,000, and 500 acres of the 850-acre development will be green space given to the city to develop as part of the Greenway Master Plan. The neighborhoods will have 8 miles of trails that will be 12-feet wide.
"Trails will be designed, not only for walkers, but for bikers as well," said Enfinger.
The city tasked the developer with creating as much outdoor space as possible to create a, "focal point for south Huntsville where there could be outdoor activities and families could enjoy," said Enfinger.
The Haysland Square Shopping Center will be replaced as part of the development.
"We're going to tear down the existing, and it's going to be redone as a walkable shopping area," said Enfinger.
The shopping center on the south side of Haysland Road will also get a face lift.
"That center has a current lease that we expect to be active till 2024, and then at that time, that center will be redone as well," said Enfinger.
South Huntsville is currently going through a Main Street Alabama revitalization program. The South Huntsville Business Association said this development fits the mold of what the area needs.
"We've seen the need for exactly this type of development, so it fills a huge gap in our community right now," said spokesman, Bekah Schmidt.
After decades of planning, it boils down to reshaping an entire area.
"There's a feeling of anticipation," said Enfinger.
The Huntsville City Council still needs to annex land and approve zoning changes for this project. Those votes are scheduled to come up over the next month and a half.
If everything gets approved, Enfinger said homes will start being built by the end of 2019.