REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A groundbreaking could be held in late spring or early summer for a $1 billion office park near Gate 9.

Gov. Bob Riley last week signed into law legislation that will permit the city of Huntsville to create a partnership with a Montgomery company to build the massive office park using a tax-increment financing district to provide money for public improvements for the development. He participated in a signing ceremony Friday morning at the Redstone Arsenal Visitors Center.

"This is a win-win-win," Riley said.

The research park project involves Redstone Arsenal, the city of Huntsville and a private developer, LW Redstone LLC out of Montgomery. Under an existing Army program called Enhanced Use Leasing, the 470-acre site will be developed for administrative buildings, educational areas and associated businesses such as restaurants.

"This is probably one of the more attractive pieces of property you will find in the state of Alabama," Riley said.

Said Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli: "This is truly a great event."

Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle said the project will have a huge impact in this community.

"This TIF legislation is the enabler to continue our growth here in the Tennessee Valley," Battle said.

Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal, had just returned in the previous 48 hours from a visit to Afghanistan. He told the attendees they can be proud of what U.S. servicemembers are doing in the war effort.

"This community, this state, is one of the most unique places I've ever been," Myles said. "And today is one more example of what can be done when you think of others more than yourself."

After the groundbreaking, it will probably be two years before the doors open; and it will take 10-15 years until the area's complete development. The magnitude is staggering - think of the Sparkman Center times four. Sparkman is more than 1 million square feet of space. This will be closer to 4 million square feet of administrative space, representing about 50 or so buildings. Rideout Road will see some improvements to manage traffic in and out of the site.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16