New $170M development coming to Huntsville - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New $170M development coming to Huntsville

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A Huntsville developer announced the Constellation project is a go after years of work. A Huntsville developer announced the Constellation project is a go after years of work.

A Huntsville developer announced the Constellation project is a go after years of work.

The project is seen as a gateway to downtown Huntsville. It runs parallel to Memorial Parkway and Heart of Huntsville Drive and stretches from Clinton Avenue to Monroe Street.

Developer D. Scott McLain said 277,000 people pass by the area every day.

According to McLain, the Constellation project will be developed on 12 acres. It is approximately 530,000 square feet and will employee nearly 2,000 people. The project includes a new AC Hotels, a Marriott brand.

According to Marriott, AC Hotels has locations only Europe, but has planned to expand to North America.

Constellation will include two parking decks, 10 buildings, seven to eight restaurants, 20 retailers, office space and 150 apartments. McLain said the project is a $180-million investment.

"This will be a downtown mixed-use project," said McClain. "It will not be a mall. It will not be a shopping center. It will not be a lifestyle center."

McLain tried to build the project nearly a decade ago, but the Constellation project never got off the ground outside of a SpringHill Suites. Now, McLain said he has a site plan, more tenants than space, and a development team. McLain expects construction to begin in 2015.

"Compared to other communities across the Southeast, Huntsville is on fire," said McLain.

Mayor Tommy Battle said the closure of the downtown Holiday Inn hurt, and sees the Constellation project as a move to bring the numbers of downtown hotel rooms back up. "Right now we have about 350 rooms around the civic center. To attract the larger conventions, we need to get close to that 800-1000 number," said Battle.

WAFF reached out to Marriott. A company spokesperson confirmed AC Hotels will have a location in Huntsville. The spokesperson said there are plans to develop many AC Hotels in the near future, but wouldn't disclose the other locations.

According to the Boston Business Journal, AC Hotels announced they're building an 83,000 square foot property in Medford, Massachusetts. AC Hotels has dozens of current locations in Spain, Italy, and Portugal.

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