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Ground broken for Anthem House, the ‘centerpiece’ of MidCity

HUNTSVILLE — Proclaiming the newest multi-use development a “beacon” for Huntsville’s thriving MidCity District, RCP Cos. co-founder Remy Gross III led a ground-breaking for Anthem House.

RCP officials, Opportunity Alabama, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Real Estate initiatives joined the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce and business leaders to celebrate MidCity’s “centerpiece.”

And, according to RCP, Anthem House brings another vibe to Huntsville.

Groundbreaking for Anthem House (256 Today)

The six-story, multi-use building provides Huntsville’s expanding workforce with a residential-meets-hospitality solution, RCP said. Its industrial chic design is marked by raw materials and mechanical details. There will be retail on the ground floor, office space on the second floor, and multifamily residential units above that.

Remy Gross III, who co-founded RCP a decade ago, said they had no idea they would be converting 18 city blocks that was once Madison Square Mall.

“A lot has happened since then,” he said. “We have been committed to finding the best people to bring the best ideas that would complement one of the best cities – actually, according to U.S. News & World Report, the best city in the country.

“That’s a tough task, but the people of Huntsville in the 21st century work environment and workforce require it. And if you look at what a dynamic, changing, growing market Huntsville is, you realize that is what Huntsville needs and what people and corporations demand.

“Anthem House is a prototypical development for MidCity that is very much an anchor. The ‘centerpiece’ if you will, of the whole development because it has everything: food and beverage, retail, office and a lot of multifamily space.

“And it is going to be a beacon for the eat, play, shop, work and live mantra at the heart of the MidCity District.”

Erin Koshut, executive director of Cummings Research Park for the Huntsville Madison County Chamber, said the work, live and play concept works for where Huntsville is now and where the city is headed.

RCP Companies’ co-founder Remy Gross III (256 Today)

“There is no better evidence of that than here at MidCity,” she said. “Anthem House provides a new offering for our community and corporate executive workforce needs, with a bent towards the creative and highly amenitized spaces.

“Thank you goes to Mayor (Tommy) Battle and his team, including the Huntsville City Council for having the vision, plan and execution to make a place like MidCity successful here in Huntsville.”

The Opportunity Alabama fund, known as OPAL, raised $19 million to invest in what the fund management team determined to be the six most interesting projects that would create a strong return for investors, but that is also meaningful for communities across the state.

“When we thought of the Huntsville market,” said Alex Flachsbart, principal at OPAL. “We thought about Huntsville’s explosive growth and about where we wanted to be in this community, and more importantly, about who we want to be hitched to for a 10-year period, which is what you have to be if you are a nosy investor – it was a no-brainer for us.

He went on to say that when you look at the vision cast for MidCity and Anthem House in particular, the product type doesn’t exist right now.

Alex Flachsbart, principal at OPAL (256 Today)

“We are creating an environment where that ‘live, work, play’ aspect of Huntsville as a destination is starting to exist all around us, and it already exists right behind us on this pile of red dirt. We are incredible excited about that.”

He pointed out environment matters because he has friends in Birmingham driving 80 miles up the interstate to see shows at the Orion Amphitheatre.

“It matters because as this city continues to grow, it will need the kind of housing stock and the kind of amenities being offered at this site,” Flachsbart said. “To continue to attract the kind of talent this city needs to grow, not just in the government contracting space, but in missile defense and across the board.

“A city that has the vision to create a space like this it’s only the beginning, and I am looking forward to seeing this building come out of the ground.”

Tom Danilek, partner with Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Real Estate Initiatives, said his firm invests in “rise of the rest” cities that have three criteria.

“We want to be in towns with a high concentration of the educated, that is affordable and fun,” Danilek said. “This is really about entrepreneurship and supporting it, but it’s also about bringing the workforce back into the density, rather than getting pushed out to the outer limits of town.

“We are focused on cities that are growing in a balanced way, and we feel our product is part of that balance.”

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