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MADISON, Alabama Development of "the most prime property in the Southeastern United States" finally broke ground Tuesday morning that will lead to new roads, an interstate interchange and 1.5 million square feet of retail/commercial space. The magnitude of the development on 700 acres along Interstate 565 and Zierdt Road drew about 100 dignitaries to a sprawling field of foot high soybeans, with Gov. Congressman Mo Brooks, five state representatives and a platoon of local officials donning hard hats and grabbing shovels to kick off a project that will serve the community for decades. The $400 million development called Town Madison will also include 900,000 square feet of retail space, 450,000 square feet of office space, 445 hotel rooms and 668 apartments. It's expected to create 1,600 jobs. "This will be the gift that keeps on giving after we're dead and gone," said Louis Breland, the chief developer, who began trying to make this project happen since 2006. "I never believed it wouldn't happen." Gov. Bentley said Town Madison is the type of innovative entrepreneurship that the state needs to focus on assisting more. "We don't put as much emphasis on retail as we really should because we're out trying to recruit Remingtons, and we love Remington, and we love all these companies that come here . . . but we sometimes leave out some of the large job producing entities in any state, and that's those of retail," he said. "What we're seeing here today is very unique, but it's very important when we see a cooperative effort between counties albuquerque oakley and cities and are areas as we try to produce more jobs in this part of the state. These jobs that are created here are just as important as the jobs we create from any major manufacturing company that we get in the state of Alabama." Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong called Town Madison "a game changer" that was "long overdue" that will "transform this area." Brooks said of Town Madison: "It's going to be the apple of the eye of the Tennessee valley once it's completed." Madison City Council President Tommy Overcash praised Intergraph, which owns 308 acres in the project, for deciding to build its $58 million headquarters and not move out of state a couple years ago. Intergraph's decision brought the "opportunity to partner with them to redevelop the remainder of their campus to make it a high technology employment hub." Intergraph taking 'active approach to redevelopment' in wake of Town Madison groundbreaking Crews will begin moving dirt Tuesday to start building roads, including the Kellner Road extension. Once there is access to the development sites, construction will begin on retail and commercial buildings. Breland said he expects the first stores to be open at the end of 2015. The Sembler Company, which was involved with the first phase of Valley Bend at Jones Farm, and Lennar Commercial will lead the retail effort on 100 acres near the corner of Zierdt and I 565. Town Madison's architect, Everett Hatcher, from CMH Architects was the architect on The Summit in Birmingham. Company officials will be making announcements on the first tenants in the next few days, Breland said. 72. That project was less than 30 acres and took two and half years to complete. Town Madison could see ongoing construction for 20 years, he said. The Town Madison Cooperative District was formed by votes of the Madison County Commission and Madison City Council earlier this summer to spur investment public infrastructure. Breland and his partners are putting up about $22 million to pay for new roads and an interchange at I 565 and Zierdt Road. The cooperative district will allow Breland to withhold some sales taxes until he has recouped his investment. One of the largest beneficiaries of Town Madison will be the three local school systems. It is projected to produce $1.8 million per year in new sales tax dollars divided among Madison, Madison County and Huntsville public schools. "This new funding source will have a tremendous impact on our stellar system for years to come," said Madison County Commissioner Steve Haraway, who was part of the initial stages of the project in 2006 while still on the Madison City Council. "This project also brings much needed traffic relief to the City of Madison, as well as commuter traffic to Redstone Arsenal and the major employers in this area," he said. It is estimated there are 80,000 day time employees in the area of Redstone Arsenal, Jetplex Industrial Park, Cummings Research Park and Intergraph. The new interchange at Zierdt Road will support the widening of twoface oakley general in albuquerque Zierdt, which leads to a western access to the arsenal. Officials believe this will help alleviate traffic pressure at Gate 9 on Ridout Road.

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