HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — One of the oldest and most important buildings in Downtown Huntsville is getting a facelift along with a new parking garage.
Huntsville's new City Hall will replace the current Municipal Complex, which opened more than 50 years ago at 308 Fountain Circle. The new City Hall will be built directly across the street at the site of the current municipal parking garage, which will be demolished soon.
The project has been nearly five years in the making, will cost more than $78 million, and is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the Rocket City. The two year construction project is expected to start in mid-January when the parking garage along Fountain Circle gets demolished, leading to immediate changes to parking availability.
Huntsville's Director of General Services, Ricky Wilkinson, says, "During the construction, there will be some lane closures along Gates, Fountain Circle and also on Madison Street. We tried to, especially on Madison Street and Gates, we will only be occupying one lane so we'll still have north and southbound along Madison Street."
And those jobs? Wilkinson says, "Obviously, this will initially provide a lot of opportunity for construction trades and hiring folks to take care of some of the construction activities on site. It really just starts a ripple effect on a number of fronts to provide those opportunities for downtown and really the city as a whole."
Why a new City Hall for Huntsville?
City Administrator John Hamilton said there are many reasons why a new City Hall is necessary, but the primary one is simple – a better and more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Because of limited space, some departments operate out of leased buildings elsewhere. The current building also has maintenance issues, which grow more costly each year. Hamilton praised the City’s maintenance crews for keeping it functional with “bubble gum and baling wire.”
The new building will cover a city block and have seven floors with related departments groups together. Hamilton says will make it easier for residents and business owners to renew licenses, pay taxes, get building permits or conduct any other City-related business.
Construction on City Hall won’t begin until after the demolition of the municipal parking garage and debris removal, which should happen by late 2021. Hamilton anticipates a construction contract could come before City Council for approval in October.
Construction is expected to take about two years to complete.
Artist rendering of Downtown Huntsville with new City Hall: