New-to-Alabama Brass Tap opening beer bar at Merchants Square in Huntsville

By Lucy Berry

A Tampa company will bring an upscale craft beer bar, sports TV and live music option to Merchants Square in Huntsville.

Brass Tap, founded in 2008 in Florida, will launch a 3,800-square-foot facility at the southeast corner of Bob Wallace Avenue and Memorial Parkway, across from the Whole Foods-anchored Shops at Merchants Walk. Brass Tap is one of three confirmed tenants at the $40 million project being developed by RCP Companies.

RCP hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon for the development, which will also be home to Chuy's and ULTA Beauty. Director Odie Fakhouri said they expect to announce another new-to-Alabama regional steakhouse and seafood restaurant spanning 6,000 square feet within the next 10 days.

"Including Chuy's, these are three first to Alabama or Huntsville concepts," Fakhouri told "We are excited to have them join the quality operators in the area."

Fakhouri said Brass Tap will offer more than 60 regional craft beer taps and 150 domestic and international draft, bottle, and canned beers. The facility will also provide craft cocktails and a large selection of premium wines and cigars. shows Brass Tap began franchising in mid-2012 and currently has 40 locations, with 18 projected openings for 2017. Fakhouri said the Huntsville spot will debut in late spring 2018.

Merchants Walk and Merchants Square are collectively more than 80 percent leased by new to market tenants, Fakhouri said.

"This means more jobs, more options, and more tax revenue for city improvements," he said.

RCP began working on Merchants Square, formerly home to Arora Technologies, in 2012. Fakhouri said they partnered with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to clear ground contamination, purchased an existing lease, raised funds, and designed the buildings and space in between for better traffic flow at the project.

The developer is in discussions with several other tenants to complement the 41,500-square-foot Merchants Square and the Whole Foods center across the street, Fakhouri said.

"We take extreme care in the tenants that we put in," he said. "They all deliver quality food, they all deliver a method of health and wellness, and they all engage with the community and they make that a priority."

The Merchants Square property was recently annexed into the City of Huntsville, allowing the city to collect property, sales and business taxes. The city agreed in January to spend $3 million on a new 300-unit parking deck at Merchants Square, which is expected to generate $19 million in tax dollars over the next 20 years.

Battle said Merchants Square should have a positive impact on other parts of Huntsville.

"I always say you have to work from your strengths," he said. "You build on your strengths and you go outward from there. It will continue to go north, south, east and west."

Original article on here.

Nadia Niakossary