City unveils plans for mixed use development at Johnson High School campus

City proposes plan to make old Johnson High property retail, commercial space

A District One community meeting was hosted by councilman Devyn Keith Tuesday evening.  In the meeting, he laid out his plans to take the property of the old J.O. Johnson High School and turn it into a mixed use development.

The old Johnson High in northwest Huntsville sits on nearly 50 acres of property. City officials say it's a huge economic development opportunity. “You will never get an opportunity to get 45 acres that you own scot-free, you have no debt on and developers and builders see it as a golden goose egg,” said Keith.

Tuesday night, city leaders unveiled a proposed design of what the old campus could become.  It includes a mixed use development somewhat like MidCity.

"There probably will be a good bit of residential, but also there would be a public space like a community center, maybe some park space and we think there's also opportunity for some retail, maybe office to mix in there," said John Hamilton, Huntsville city administrator.

Officials said they came up with the proposal after meetings with community members, but not all residents approve of the mixed use facility. "The constituency here are persons that have medical needs and so I'm not saying a medical hospital, I'm talking about a facility that will provide some medical services," said Veronica Curtis-Richie.

City leaders said they are still in the very early planning phase but believe redevelopment is necessary. "This is an area of town that has not had a lot of investment in the last few years. We think it's prime for that. We really think it's a good opportunity to do that and getting private development into this part of this neighborhood would just start up lifting values and bring quality of life to the area," explained Hamilton.

The city will send out a request for proposal to private investors by December first to determine what direction the property will go. 

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