City of Huntsville approves its role in brewery conversion plan - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

City of Huntsville approves its role in brewery conversion plan

The council approved plans to buy a portion of the former Stone Middle School campus. (Source: WAFF) The council approved plans to buy a portion of the former Stone Middle School campus. (Source: WAFF)
The city will oversee a section of land in between the new Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale facilities. (Source: WAFF) The city will oversee a section of land in between the new Yellowhammer and Straight to Ale facilities. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The City of Huntsville is stepping up to do its part in turning the old Stone Middle School into a new "Brewery Row" entertainment center, and they expect it to be a bargain.

Thursday night, the City Council approved a plan to buy part of the school property. The city will quite literally be in the middle of the project - they will oversee the center part of the complex: a parking facility and an open air amphitheater, between the two new breweries.

The Stone Middle redevelopment plan calls for the conversion of most of the school building into a new, larger Straight to Ale brewery and the construction of a new building for Yellowhammer Brewery.

Those parts of the plan will be handled by a developer.

The city council decided to buy four acres in between them, where the city will build parking, and also create an open grassy space where musical performers can put on concerts.

That part of the plan will cost the city just under a half-million dollars, but officials said that investment will pay for itself fast.

"You've taken a very large piece of property that has not been on the tax rolls paying property taxes," said Shane Davis, Director of Urban Development. "You're bout to have multi-million dollar expansion to those facilities and upgrades. And going back and immediately paying property tax to the city. There's a sales tax benefit to it, so the payback for us will probably be less than 18 months."

"Nearby, you've got the Flying Monkey Arts Center in Lowe Mill," said city council member Bill Kling. "You've got Merrimack Hall and you've got Fantasy Playhouse all located in west Huntsville, so I think we're seeing an entertainment district coming into West Huntsville."

City officials say they do have to be careful to make sure this new entertainment venue doesn't end up being too noisy for the surrounding area, but they say as plans for the brewery center come together, that should be easy to work out.

 Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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