MADISON — Town Madison, a mixed-use development on the south side of Interstate 565, stretches across 550 acres with more than two miles of interstate frontage.
Anchored by a baseball stadium that will be home to the minor league Rocket City Trash Pandas, the project boasts about $550 million in private capital investment projects either under construction or committed, and its developers are looking for it to draw people from across the area.
It already has dramatically altered the view from I-565 for anyone traveling from Morgan or Limestone counties to Huntsville.
“It’s a regional site,” said Joey Ceci of Breland Companies, Town Madison’s developer whose owner is Louis Breland.
“It’s easy for people from Decatur or Athens or Cullman to come here," he said. "It’s a regional site that we just haven’t had in this area.”
The development will include four hotels, office space, shops and restaurants, two apartment complexes, and single-family homes.
On the western side of the site near Wall Triana Highway, one project is already completed — the 97-suite Home2 Suites by Hilton — and a Twice Daily convenience store and White Bison Coffee, both new to Alabama, are being built next to the hotel.
To the east of the hotel is Duluth Trading Co., which opened earlier this month. It’s the first Alabama store and 54th store for the retailer that specializes in men’s and women’s casual wear, workwear and accessories.
“We’ll end up with about 1 million square feet of restaurants and retail,” Ceci said.
The development will feature more lodging projects.
Construction of a Hilton Garden Inn is expected to start in about 60 days and will probably open next spring, according to Ceci. And ground was broken in April on a hotel for the Avid brand, which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2020.
Both of those hotels are on the western side of Town Madison.
Also making an Alabama debut is Margaritaville, a 150-room hotel that will be adjacent to the baseball stadium. Developed by Chance Partners LLC, it will have 3,000 square feet of meeting space, a retail store and a water park with a lazy river feature and sand volleyball court.
Site work has started there, and Ceci expects a late summer 2020 opening.
“We are right at about 600 hotel rooms announced or under construction,” Cecil said.
Then there’s a planned food hall, just outside the ballpark, that’s expected to open in the second quarter next year, according to Ceci.
Plans include 18 kitchens curated by local and regional chefs, two breweries, stationary food trucks in an outdoor dining area and an outdoor event space and covered stage area.
Ceci expects new projects will continue to be announced for the next couple of years.
“There’s a three- to five-year timeline to complete the build-out of the development,” he said.
Another component of the property is single- and multiple-family housing on the eastern side.
Under construction near Zierdt Road is The Station at Town Madison, a four-story, 274-unit apartment complex developed by Tynes Development Corp. Leasing will begin around the end of August with move-in starting in October, Ceci said.
“We’ll break ground late this summer on a second apartment complex of about 300 units,” Ceci said.
The first phase of single-family housing will have about 300 homes, with a mix of estate and cottage-style homes and townhomes, and construction will start within the next 30 days.
“Phase 1 is pretty much sold out as far as the lots, Ceci said.
“We’ll end up with about 1,000 to 1,200 homes,” he said.
The residences will surround a town center, with about 60,000 square feet of retail.
In developing a mixed-use community that features a residential area with a “walkable,” small-town feel and integrates office and retail components, Ceci said developers looked to the 1,500-acre Westhaven and 600-acre Berry Farms, both in Franklin, Tennessee.
Andres Duany, described by Ceci as “the leader in New Urbanism,” is the master planner for the entire Town Madison project.
Town Madison’s retail leasing partner is Fuqua Development, which specializes in metro retail mixed-use communities. One of Fuqua’s projects is the Battery Atlanta at SunTrust Park, the $400 million mixed-use development that’s connected to the Atlanta Braves' baseball stadium that opened in 2017 in Cobb County, Georgia.
“That is probably the most successful mixed-use development around a major league ballpark in the country,” said Ralph Nelson, CEO and managing partner of the team ownership group BallCorps.
New I-565 interchange
Plans are also underway to provide interstate access to the property.
Around mid-September, the first phase of an interchange at I-565 to the west of Zierdt Road will be ready, Ceci said.
“It gives us right-in, right-out access,” he said.
A second phase of the interchange includes fly-over bridges that will allow motorists traveling westbound on I-565 to enter Town Madison and those leaving the site to head west.
Madison Mayor Paul Finley said he expects the Phase 2 project to be bid in about two months.
The Madison City Council and Madison County Commission last year approved changes in an agreement with the Town Madison Cooperative District that brings bond capacity to $40 million to pay for the I-565 interchange and other roads and infrastructure in the development.
Non-education sales and property tax revenue that’s generated by Town Madison that would have been paid to the city and county will be used to pay off the bonds.
“We've got plans for 80,000 square feet of office space on top of the hill” to the west of the stadium, Ceci said. “We’ll probably start that phase late this year.
Yet another feature of Town Madison is Pro Player Park, a complex of 12 synthetic softball and baseball fields, for local and travel teams’ use.
“It will be a great people-generator for the project,” Ceci said. “We expect about 35,000 room nights a year to be generated” from the facility’s visitors.