North Alabama residents will get a sneak peek next week at one of the area’s most anticipated mixed-use projects in Huntsville.
Will Culver, who is running for re-election in the District 5 Huntsville City Council race this month, will host an event geared toward young professionals at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the atrium of Madison Square Mall on 5901 University Drive N.W. The gathering will offer food, music and an opportunity to talk with local developer RCP Companies about MidCity Huntsville.
Culver said Madison Square, which has struggled in recent years with higher crime, declining property values and low mall occupancy, has become an eyesore.
“We’ve been looking at what we could do for that area,” he told AL.com. “Finally, we found the right fit. The purpose (of the project) is to create a city within itself so we can revive that corridor in its entirety.”
The council voted in May to approve an urban renewal and development agreement between the city and Mid-City Owner, LLC, to revitalize a portion of the property the city does not need for public infrastructure upgrades under the newly-adopted urban renewal plan for Cummings Research Park East.
The project will likely have a mix of uses, including commercial and office space, retail, at least one hotel, and multi-family units. A cannibalization clause in the development agreement said 70 percent of the businesses must be new to the Huntsville market.
Culver’s campaign event Monday will be the public’s first glimpse at the project, which must be approved by the city council before it can move forward.
“We’re excited to share the project and talk about what the vision is for MidCity,” said RCP Director Odie Fakhouri. “There’s not a better group to do that to than the audience of the young professionals.”
RCP has not announced when Madison Square Mall will close, but is in the process of liquidating unused furniture, fixtures and equipment at the property. Only a few tenants remain at the 32-year-old development, which is home to anchors Sears and JCPenney.
Felicia Beaulieu, who is planning the campaign event, said they are trying to create a board for next week where attendees can share their ideas for MidCity.
“(MidCity) is a big deal and we think that it needs to be talked about,” she said.