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Officials break ground on 76,000-square-foot facility at Redstone Gateway

HUNTSVILLE — Several officials and eager guests from Huntsville, Madison County, Redstone Arsenal and beyond gathered at Redstone Gateway March 7 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new 76,000-square-foot facility, half of which will be occupied by the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

We have 75 people in town now, and we’re going to be moving them from multiple suites on Perimeter Parkway into the new facility and doing some prototyping and lab work,” Chuck Nickey, director of operations at GTRI, told AL.com. “We do a lot of defense work in town.” Nickey added that they already anticipate further expansion in Huntsville.

The facility is just one small piece of a much larger mixed-use development brought to Huntsville by Corporate Office Properties Trust. A map of the overall development indicates two campuses: commercial and secured. Within the commercial campus exist three smaller campuses: I-565, Lakeview and Rideout Road. All in all, Redstone Gateway is a 468-acre technology park that boasts more than 4 million square feet of development capacity, 1.2 million of which is dedicated to the secure parcel inside Gate 9.

The groundbreaking comes during a whirlwind period of time in which Huntsville, Madison and Madison County are seeing explosive growth in business, education, research and residential properties. Paul Adkins, COO and executive vice president of COPT, described Redstone Gateway as “a first-class, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly and highly visible development that offers conveniences to attract and retain talent.”

Before he described what’s in store for Redstone Gateway and the citizens of Madison County, Adkins acknowledged the traumatic tornadoes that ripped through Lee County, Alabama, this month, pledging to donate $10,000 to the county to support their efforts moving forward.

The 76,000-square-foot, single-story office building will stand across the street from the Marriott TownePlace Suites off of Rideout Road. It is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2019. As he unveiled a poster denoting GTRI’s place in the new facility, Adkins welcomed two representatives from the research arm of Georgia Tech. “I know we’re in the land of the Tide and the Tigers, but today is Georgia Tech’s day here at Redstone Gateway,” he said.

Also under construction in the development are two properties on Market Street that will also be single-story office buildings roughly half the square footage of 8800 Redstone Gateway. Future amenities planned for Redstone Gateway include 200,000 square feet of convenience retail, restaurants and hotels. Guests will also be able to enjoy a walking path around an existing lake.

“There’s activities in the pipeline to bring over 750,000 square feet within the next 12 months,” Adkins said.

The featured speakers at the ceremony included Adkins, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong and Lt. Gen. Edward Daly, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. These speakers all touched on a common theme of strong and effective partnerships.

“Ten years ago, we sat together and we came together with a partnership,” Battle recalled. “The partnership wasn’t easy to come into. There was a lot of negotiating that was done. The City of Huntsville, COPT, Wilson development and Redstone Arsenal were all negotiating how we were going to put this together.” Realizing that the available space at Cummings Research Park was dwindling, Battle said they needed additional space for the future. “We knew that if we were going to continue to grow, we needed office space. We would need the office space to supply us the expertise and the place to work for our future work generations. So, we did that.”

The solution was in the partnership, which brought more than 3 million square feet of development space that could fuel the local economy “for years to come.”

“We did that so that we could make sure that we always have a place to expand,” Battle said. “Today, we are very proud of that partnership. … It was a great thing to happen in this community. … We had a great partnership between federal government, state government, local government and private enterprise, and in putting that together, we gave ourselves an opportunity to grow.”

Strong shared a similar message and recognized, as he has done at many other groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings, that the county’s “best days are still ahead.”

James Lomax, director of asset management and leasing at Redstone Gateway, said he believes Redstone Gateway will become a popular destination for businesses and locals because of more than the attractive amenities and brand-new buildings. “We think that a lot of them want to come to the Gateway because they’re becoming a part of something bigger than themselves,” he said. “They’re joining Team Redstone, the economic engine of our area, and they’re joining such a greater, prosperous area.”

Adkins recognized Jim Wilson and Associates for their “integral” role in turning Redstone Gateway into reality. “Their perspective has been very valuable to our work here at Redstone Gateway.,” he added.

Daly thanked all guests—which included representatives from the FBI, Redstone Arsenal, UAH and the chamber of commerce—for attending the ceremony and for their commitment to the future. He also thanked Battle and Strong for their commitment and dedication to their partnership with Redstone Arsenal and Redstone Gateway.

“This is a great day, and it’s a demonstration and a celebration that we’re continuing to focus on the growth of Redstone Gateway really as a foundation, really for what we’re doing not only on the Arsenal, but for the Tennessee Valley at large,” Daly said.

COPT, a real estate investment trust that is registered with the New York Stock Exchange, already has more than $5 billion of market capitalization with developments in areas like Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, Maryland and San Antonio, Texas. Adkins said their claim in Huntsville shows just how much the city “is truly on the rise.”

For more information on Redstone Gateway, visit redstonegateway.com.

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