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South Huntsville redevelopment project adapts as coronavirus impacts retail

The Hays Farm Village Center is part of revitalizing the old Haysland Square Shopping Center, where empty retail buildings sit.

Posted: Apr 23, 2020 9:25 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2020 12:00 PM

If you've driven along Memorial Parkway near Weatherly Road, you've probably seen where doors have been closed for years. In Fall of 2021, this space will have retail and office spaces, apartments, and a green space.

"Where we've learned to deal differently with businesses, so these businesses here will be set up for curbside and online and distancing. It might not be as compact as they would have been otherwise but we have time now to put that into the design," Jennie Robinson, District 3 Huntsville City Councilwoman, said. 

She's been working on a massive redevelopment project of the old Haysland Square Shopping Center for quite some time. The coronavirus has changed life for everyone, and it's now impacting this project. Robinson says the businesses that would have moved in before the coronavirus now may change.

"The types of tenants that come here might change as a result of the demand for what we are seeing in this new normal," Robinson said.

Bekah Schmidt is the Executive Director of the South Huntsville Business Association and says before the coronavirus hit, 35 potential business owners took a tour, looking at available spaces. She says they'll need another.

"Things have changed a little bit, however it's going to be even more important that we plug potential business owners up with available space when all this is over," Schmidt said. 

The project is still expected to be complete in Fall 2021, but the exact timing may be different. Robinson says with the project being in the early stages, it will now be ready for the coronavirus.

"This is good timing, an opportunity to adapt and make this the shopping center for the future," Robinson said.

Construction has already begun on this portion of the project. The land is from the Hays family, and their development group is overseeing the project. To see our previous reporting on this project, click here.

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