HUNTSVILLE – Developers held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for an apartment complex being built with the blessings – albeit non-financing – of the University of Alabama system and the University of Alabama in Huntsville, which has a pressing need for student housing, adjacent to the Chargers Fitness Center.
The event went on as planned, but it was purely ceremonial.
Principal contractor Fite Building is already off and running on the project. As speakers addressed the audience, workers were busy in the distance where they’ve already framed one floor and erected an elevator shaft for the $60 million structure.
Capstone Development Partners and Boaz Ventures spearhead the project, which together
describe it as a “purpose-built housing community.” The aim is to attract students, faculty and staff from UAH but others won’t be excluded.
“We thank everyone who has participated in this groundbreaking or framing party, whatever you want to call it,” Capstone Chief Development Officer William Davis said. “We tried to get the Fite team to slow down a little bit so we could have this groundbreaking, but they got off to a strong start and we’re most grateful and appreciative of that.”
Nexus is targeting students and staff but no one is excluded. Available will be four bedroom/four bathroom and two bedroom/two bathroom units. Amenities include two courtyards, an outdoor pool, grilling area, community kitchen, TV lounge, a multi-purpose room and study lounges.
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said 60-70% of UAH students remain in the area post-
education and strengthen the workforce for “years and years to come.”
“And when you have something like this, it attracts the best and the brightest,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for – the best and the brightest.”
According to Capstone Principal Jeff Jones, the UA system and UAH representatives gave their support contingent on several factors:
● There would be private financing
● The project be well-designed, maintained and managed
● Delivered at attainable pricing for students
Jones said other factors aside from affordability were for the complex to be walkable to campus and centrally located. Also, if the UAH community doesn’t provide 100% of the renters, then units will be available to the likes of “recent graduates who are starting jobs” or “public-sector employees that need affordable housing.”
Boaz Ventures co-founder Joey Azar and Opportunity Alabama (OPAL) founder Alex Flachsbart also spoke at the ceremony.
Jones said building affordable housing in the current economy “isn’t easy,’’ and thanked Fite
and Redstone Federal Credit Union for reasonable deals and loans, respectively. OPAL is part of a group of Alabamians who make up 90% of the project’s investors.