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Q&A with Downtown Huntsville President and CEO Rob Buddo

Luxury Real Estate Downtown Huntsville AL

Downtown Huntsville, Alabama, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. Let’s take a closer look at how this city became the thriving urban center it is today.

In 1805, John Hunt settled in the area and established a trading post. The town was officially incorporated in 1811 and named after its founder.
Throughout the 19th century, Huntsville became an important center for cotton production and textile manufacturing. The town’s strategic location at the crossroads of major transportation routes also made it a hub for commerce and trade.

During the Civil War, Huntsville was occupied by Union forces and used as a military supply base. After the war, the town experienced significant growth and development, with new businesses and industries establishing themselves in the area.

In the 20th century, Huntsville became known as the “Rocket City” due to its association with the space program. The Marshall Space Flight Center played a key role in the development of NASA’s space program, including the Apollo missions that sent astronauts to the moon.

Today, Downtown Huntsville is a thriving urban center, home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene, innovative businesses, and a growing population. The city’s rich history is celebrated through a variety of historic sites and landmarks, including the Alabama Constitution Village, the Huntsville Depot Museum, and the Historic Huntsville Square.

From its early days as a trading post to its current status as a thriving urban center, Downtown Huntsville has a fascinating history that’s worth exploring.

Q&A with Downtown Huntsville President and CEO Rob Buddo

Q: How long have you been President and CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc?
3 months

Q: What made Huntsville an ideal place for you to move to?
There are many things that influence the decisions my wife and I make, but our two young sons are definitely at the top of the list. Huntsville has been a wonderful place for our family, with so many amazing qualities that cater to our family-centered priorities. The quality of life here is outstanding, with exceptional schools and low crime rates. The parks are phenomenal, providing countless opportunities for outdoor adventures and family fun. We’ve also discovered a wealth of family-friendly activities that we all enjoy. In addition to these family-focused benefits, Huntsville also offers an impressive range of cultural amenities. We’ve had a great time exploring the local breweries and restaurants, and we’re eager to visit the museums and hiking trails in the area. All in all, we feel incredibly fortunate to call Huntsville home and look forward to creating more family memories in this wonderful community.

Q: What are some of the things people may not be aware that Downtown
Huntsville Inc. does?

I believe that we are doing a good job in telling the story of DHI, so I’m not sure if there is anything we do that would come as a surprise. However, I think people might be surprised to learn that we work in districts that are adjacent to the downtown core. Our philosophy is that downtown and its neighboring districts can mutually benefit from each other, and that promoting businesses, events, and amenities in these areas is a direct benefit to downtown. Although our work in these districts is mainly focused on marketing and promoting, it is an essential part of our efforts to support the overall growth and success of our downtown community.

Q: What are some of the activities going on with events and projects downtown?
DHI has traditionally relied on events as a means of addressing issues, celebrating accomplishments, and showcasing downtown features. While this approach remains unchanged, we are now focusing on five core events – The Downtown Open, Artwalk, Food Truck Rallies, Movies in the Park, and Tinsel Trail – as the centerpiece of our event calendar. By honing in on these events, we can ensure that they remain fresh and vibrant while also maintaining the flexibility to incorporate new opportunities as they arise. In addition to our event planning, we recently conducted a community perception survey, and we’re thrilled to report that nearly 1,000 people participated! We’ll be using the survey results to guide our efforts in developing new projects that enhance, improve, or solve issues in downtown. We’re currently in the planning stages for several exciting projects, but we’re also working to troubleshoot any challenges before launching them to the public.

Q: How is downtown changing? As the residential population in Downtown continues to grow, the area is becoming increasingly dense. At present, we welcome an average of 500 new residents per year, each with their own unique ideas, desires, and needs. This increase in density presents exciting opportunities for the downtown community, including the creation of new restaurants, bars, retail stores, and cultural amenities. Downtown is also experiencing a boom in the hospitality market, thanks to the expansion and renovation of the Von Braun Center and the construction of new hotels. To help our downtown businesses tap into this new market segment, DHI is actively researching and developing strategies to better connect with these visitors. In addition to these developments, there is a concerted effort to make Downtown a more walkable community. The city is prioritizing improvements to the bike and
pedestrian experience, which will reduce the dependence on parking access and ultimately support our downtown businesses.

Q: Why choose to live and play downtown?
In my opinion, downtown Huntsville serves as the cultural center of the city. It boasts a world-class art museum, numerous music venues, and an array of exceptional bars and restaurants. In addition, downtown is both safe and clean, and offers a diverse range of housing options including single-family houses and luxury apartments. With most of these amenities located within walking distance, downtown provides the perfect live, work, and play environment.

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