Demolition underway at Merchants Square retail project in Huntsville

By Lucy Berry

An architectural rendering of Merchants Square in Huntsville. (Courtesy)

Demolition is underway at the future site of Merchants Square across from the Whole Foods-anchored Shops at Merchants Walk in Huntsville.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held June 27 at the project, which is being developed by Huntsville-based RCP Companies doing business as Arora Properties. The site will be home to Chuy's and ULTA Beauty in 2018 at the southwest corner of Bob Wallace Avenue and Memorial Parkway.

"As part of this transformation, the property will be annexed into the Huntsville city limits, allowing the city to collect property, sales and business taxes," RCP Companies Director Odie Fakhouri said.

The Huntsville City Council is expected to vote on annexing the property next month.

Fakhouri said plans are also in place to provide pedestrian and vehicular connections from Parkway Place Mall to Merchants Square, which should alleviate traffic and safety issues in the area. 

The city agreed in January to spend $3 million on a new 300-unit parking deck at Merchants Square, which will include 41,500 square feet of commercial space. In return for the investment, the city predicts the development will generate $19 million in tax dollars over the next 20 years.

Mulk Arora owns the property where Merchants Square will operate. Arora's son, Amit Arora, said his father will have an indirect minority interest in the project as part of the upcoming sale of the land.

Fakhouri said RCP and Arora began working together in 2013 to redevelop the property formerly home to Arora Technologies.

"Early last year, the existing lease of a Mexico-based company was bought out and terminated," he said. "For the last 12 months, the building remained vacant while environmental issues were remediated and the RCP development team worked through planning and pre-leasing the project."

Demolition of the site is expected to last two weeks. Fakhouri said they will announce more restaurants at Merchants Square in June. 

RCP is also developing MidCity at the old Madison Square Mall and CityCentre at Big Spring on the site of the former Holiday Inn in downtown Huntsville.

Original article from here.

Nadia Niakossary