Last night was a giant leap for our team as the Huntsville City Council subsequently voted 4-1 to approve a $4 million contract with Matheny-Goldmon Architects and an international team of designers, architects, music industry experts after Mayor Tommy Battle and members of his Urban and Economic Development team proposed a new $40 million amphitheater to be built in the public park as part of the MidCity development.
Council Members held a work session on Jan. 23 to review the proposal along with updates to the City’s public-private MidCity project from our team. For a further view of the work session, you can watch the recorded recap and download the presentations here:
- Huntsville MidCity Project Update January 2019 by Shane Davis, Urban and Economic Development Director for the City of Huntsville
- BIG Picture Economic Development Update January 2019 by Dennis Madsen, Long-Range Planner for the City of Huntsville
- Design Charrette for Huntsville Amphitheater by Rob Robinson, AIA, Managing Principal, Urban Design Associates
- MidCity Development Report January 2019 by Remy Gross, President RCP Companies
- Huntsville Amphitheater Proposal by John Hamilton, Administrator for the City of Huntsville
When The City approached RCP about purchasing Madison Square Mall in 2015, the initial plans included a Destination Amphitheater to anchor the public park. Since then, plans evolved and partnerships were established to make this amphitheater a world-class venue to serve the music industry beyond our city borders.
Why an amphitheater in Huntsville? Investment in arts and cultural infrastructure is not only a quality of life amenity but also an economic development driver. It would attract tourists to drive to Huntsville for music, rather than Huntsville citizens taking their dollars to other music cities. In a recent study conducted by the city, this type of venue will generate $4.8 million in revenue from concert tickets alone in year one. This doesn’t even include food, beverages, hotel rooms, gas, and other types of peripheral spending.
Why at MidCity? Proximity to Research Park Boulevard, I-565, and US Hwy 72 is just one strength of the project. The 18-city-block development sits on the corridor which accounts for 23% of our sales tax base, adjacent to the city’s largest employment area, and in the center of major commuter hubs in the region. People want an experience when they go to a show – pregame and postshow activities are within walking distance of the venue
Why now? Huntsville is ready to be taken to the next level across the Southeast. We have thousands of jobs emerging which means we need to recruit great young talent who WANT to move to Huntsville now! An amphitheater would extend beyond the music industry. AL.com quoted Councilwoman Jennie Robinson saying, “We have made promises to employers like Facebook and Toyota Mazda and Aerojet (Rocketdyne) and all these others. If we are going to recruit the workers it’s going to take to keep those promises, this is the kind of project it will take.”
This design contract carry is only the beginning of a series of further discussions, including the importance of an operator for this venue. The proposed anticipated schedule states the design timeline ranging from now until September 2019, with construction beginning in October. The first show is projected for April 2021.
Further media links: