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New Huntsville City Hall, parking deck a ‘legacy project’ for the future

Published on December 16, 2021

aerial rendering of Huntsville City Hall

The City of Huntsville’s new City Hall and adjoining parking garage are one step closer to reality following the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting Thursday night.

City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Tommy Battle to enter an agreement between the City and Turner Construction Co. for construction services of the new City Hall and parking deck to be built across the street at the site of the current parking garage on Fountain Circle.

General Services Director Ricky Wilkinson said the $76.8 million contract approved by City Council represents a significant milestone for the City of Huntsville.

“This is a legacy project for the City as a whole,” he said. “This is a structure that will stand for at least the next 75 years and have a huge impact on downtown Huntsville.”

What’s next?

Turner Construction, a multinational organization with over 60 years of experience in Huntsville, was the apparent low bidder for the City Hall and parking deck contract. Wilkinson said Turner was among six pre-qualified general contractors that bid on the project in early December.

City leaders said Turner will begin demolishing the current parking garage in mid-January and expect the process to take 60-90 days. The seven-story municipal building, which will span 170,000 square feet and serve 365 employees, will start going vertical in mid-2022 and take about two years to complete.

Unlike the current City Hall, the new municipal building will group interrelated departments to make it easier for citizens to conduct City business. It will also offer room for growth.

“It’s bringing the departments together,” Wilkinson said. “We’re currently located in a number of different buildings and some of the spaces we occupy are leased space. There’s costs associated with that as well as the costs associated with maintaining and operating the buildings we are in. It’s our intention to be much more efficient and get rid of some of those costs associated with maintaining older facilities and leasing space in buildings we don’t own.”

The adjoining parking deck will provide 568 spots, with the first floor designed for the public and remaining six floors reserved for City use. Employees who use the current garage will park at other City-owned properties while work on the new City Hall is ongoing.

Moving forward

During the Council meeting, Wilkinson discussed the need for a new City Hall, which currently houses 129 employees. Constructed in 1963, the 61,000-square-foot facility has multiple significant problems, including:

  • Inadequate structural integrity (seismic codes)
  • Code updates (ADA, building, fire, etc.)
  • Façade issues (marble cracking, separating from building, sealant failure)
  • Lack of available space (inefficient layout, less than 50% of space needed)
  • Electrical service (parts obsolete)
  • Elevator serviceability (parts obsolete)
  • Major mechanical systems (end of useful life)
  • Building leaks (façade and roof)

The current 512-space parking deck, built in 1965, also has issues requiring attention, such as poor structural integrity, code updates, electrical service and elevator serviceability.

When the new City Hall opens, Wilkinson said employees will enjoy quality amenities, technology, security and public art. The building will also serve as a symbol of our community and play a role in civic pride.

“We’re excited to see it come to life and to eventually see the public interact with it,” Wilkinson said.

Click here to view the presentation.

Moving into the future: A look at Huntsville’s new City Hall