Huntsville’s MidCity District: Fueling the Rocket City’s Growth

man at a topgolf in huntsville alabama's midcity district

Huntsville, Alabama, affectionately nicknamed “Rocket City,” has experienced a surge in growth and popularity in recent years. This city offers a unique blend of big-city opportunities and small-town charm, attracting a diverse influx of new residents and businesses to north Alabama. At the heart of this transformation lies the MidCity District, a visionary development that has reimagined a former landmark into a thriving, sustainable mix of community.

Why So Many People Are Moving to Huntsville

There are several compelling reasons why Huntsville has become one of the best places to live in the country. The region boasts a robust job market fueled by prominent institutions like NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Redstone Arsenal, and the Cummings Research Park – a hotbed for technology innovation in aerospace, defense, and other cutting-edge industries. This concentration of high-paying jobs, combined with a relatively low cost of living, makes Huntsville an attractive destination for young professionals, families, and entrepreneurs.

Beyond its economic prospects, Huntsville offers an exceptional quality of life. The city is renowned for its excellent public school system, impressive cultural offerings (like the U.S. Space and Rocket Center), and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. With its mild climate and proximity to stunning natural attractions like Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville provides an enviable balance of urban amenities where people congregate and outdoor adventures to get away from it all.

Reimagining a Rocket City Landmark

The MidCity District is a transformative mixed-use development on the grounds of the former Madison Square Mall. This ambitious project, designed and managed by RCP Companies, combines lively, pedestrian-friendly public spaces connected to residential housing, retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, and public green spaces.

A major feature of MidCity is its emphasis on walkability. Imagine strolling along tree-lined streets, enjoying a leisurely lunch at a cafe, and browsing unique shops and services-–all without needing to get in your car. This pedestrian-friendly design not only promotes an active fitness lifestyle but also fosters a strong sense of community.

Bringing Nature to the City With a Functional Lake System

One of the most unique and ambitious features of the MidCity District development will be the functional lake system at its core. This aquatic oasis, spanning several acres, is designed to create a natural escape amidst the urban fabric of the area, providing a serene escape for residents and visitors alike.

The centerpiece lake will be fed by a series of interconnected streams and waterways meticulously engineered to mimic the flow and ecosystems of natural water bodies. The lake itself will feature thoughtfully designed riparian zones, with native vegetation and wetland areas that not only enhance the natural aesthetics but also serve as habitats for diverse wildlife species.

More Than Just a Pretty Pond

Beyond its visual appeal, the functional lake system plays a crucial role in sustainable stormwater management and erosion control within the MidCity area. Strategically designed retention ponds and bioswales will capture and filter runoff, ensuring that the water entering the lake is clean and free from pollutants.

This innovative approach not only helps to protect the local watershed but also creates opportunities for educational programs and demonstrations on sustainable water management practices. Visitors can learn about the importance of preserving and restoring natural land and waterways while enjoying the tranquil surroundings of the lake system.

A Hub for Recreation and Relaxation

The functional lake system will also serve as a hub for outdoor recreation and leisure activities. Pedestrian trails winding around the lake will provide ample opportunities for walking, jogging, and cycling, encouraging residents and tourists to embrace an active, outdoor lifestyle. Picnic areas and shaded seating offer respite for those seeking a peaceful moment of reflection or a casual gathering with friends and family.

Through careful research and ecological partnerships, the planners are creating a unique and sustainable way to bring the beauty and restorative powers of nature into the new developments. The district will also feature dedicated parks and urban plazas, creating a harmonious balance between city living and natural retreats.

An Unparalleled Live, Work, Play Experience

MidCity is designed to be a true live-work-play destination, catering to a variety of interests and lifestyles. The area will offer a curated mix of residential options, ranging from luxury apartment communities like Metronome and Encore to single-family homes, ensuring that there’s something for every lifestyle and budget.

On the commercial front, MidCity promises an eclectic array of retail stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues unique to the region. Enjoy a challenging climb at High Point Climbing or a round at TopGolf, followed by a delicious meal at Kamado Ramen or Salt Factory Pub and even a bit of live music at the Camp – all within a short walk from each other. MidCity will also feature an expansive public market, offering a chance to experience the best of North Alabama’s farmers’ markets, artisanal goods, and local cuisine.

Arts and Entertainment

MidCity District is set to become a premier arts venue and entertainment destination in Huntsville, catering to diverse cultural interests and providing the perfect hub for community gatherings and events.

Centerpiece Amphitheater

At the heart of MidCity’s entertainment offerings lies the state-of-the-art, 8,000-seat Orion Amphitheater. This world-class outdoor venue, managed by the Huntsville Venue Group, attracts top musical acts, Broadway shows, and renowned performers from around the globe. With its cutting-edge audio-visual systems and impressive stage design, the amphitheater delivers an unparalleled live entertainment experience for audiences of all ages.

More than just a concert venue, the Orion Amphitheater also serves as a community gathering space, hosting a wide range of events throughout the year. Envision attending a local farmers market, indulging in delectable cuisine from eclectic food trucks, or participating in educational programs and workshops—all within the stunning Roman-inspired amphitheater setting.

MidCity Arts Center

Complementing the amphitheater is the MidCity Arts Center, a dedicated facility that will foster a thriving cultural scene within the MidCity District. This multi-purpose venue will feature galleries showcasing works from local and national artists, as well as performance spaces for live theater, dance, and music productions.

The Arts Center will also serve as a hub for various arts organizations, providing studios, rehearsal spaces, and classrooms for workshops and educational programs. You’ll be able to attend a thought-provoking art exhibition one day, followed by an intimate live music performance the next-–all within the beautiful setting of the MidCity Arts Center.

Public Art and Installations

Beyond its dedicated venues, MidCity District will celebrate the arts through public installations and interactive sculptures strategically placed throughout the district’s pedestrian plazas, parks, and streetscapes. These artistic elements will not only enhance the district’s aesthetic appeal but also provide opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with and appreciate the rich tapestry of local and regional artistic talent.

Building a Sustainable Future

MidCity District is more than just a collection of shops, restaurants, and residences; it’s a vision for a sustainable community that prioritizes environmental responsibility and green building practices. The development team is committed to incorporating energy-efficient design, renewable energy sources, and sustainable materials throughout the area, ensuring a minimal impact on the environment.

Moreover, MidCity’s emphasis on walkability and outdoor recreation aligns with the growing demand for healthier, more active lifestyles. By creating a pedestrian-friendly environment with ample green spaces and recreational opportunities, the district promotes physical and mental well-being for its residents.

The Next Phase of MidCity District: Apollo Park

An urban oasis is taking shape at the heart of the MidCity District – Apollo Park. This 20-acre recreational space will offer a tranquil retreat with two picturesque lagoons for canoeing and kayaking, a serene beach area, walking trails, a pedestrian bridge spanning a lagoon, and abundant green spaces for picnicking, sports, and outdoor activities. A highlight will be the state-of-the-art fitness court showcasing original artwork by renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat through a partnership with Arts Huntsville and the National Fitness Campaign.

Strategically located adjacent to Orion Amphitheater and TopGolf, Apollo Park aims to be a central community gathering place akin to downtown Huntsville’s Big Spring Park. With construction on track for a fall 2024 opening, the park promises to be a recreational haven catering to diverse interests while promoting eco-friendly design. This urban oasis will provide MidCity residents and visitors a place to engage with nature and experience artistic expression.

Considering a Move to Huntsville?

If you’re considering a move to Huntsville, be sure to check out our moving tips and explore all the fun things to do in this dynamic city. MidCity District is just one of the many reasons why Huntsville is quickly becoming a hotspot for those seeking an unparalleled live-work-play experience in a thriving, forward-thinking community.