Redstone Gateway Construction Booming Despite Pandemic

HUNTSVILLE, AL  |  April 20, 2020 – Construction is one activity that COVID-19 hasn’t stopped on Redstone Arsenal.

“We are full steam ahead,” said Glen Strobach of Directorate of Public Works. “In fact we’re pushing to get more road work completed while our traffic flow is light and the weather stays good.”

In addition to ongoing work at the new Redstone Gateway project, Strobach said crews have been working to complete new road construction leading to Gate 3, which is currently closed because of COVID-19. On Monday, April 6, he said paving was completed on the new intersection of the Haysland Road extension and Hobbs Road, which will offer another option for entering and exiting Gate 3 on Redstone Road north toward Grissom High School.

Strobach said road striping and a new traffic signal are scheduled for completion the week of April 20, weather permitting. That means commuters can expect a slight traffic change as they approach and exit Gate 3 when the workforce returns to the arsenal. The biggest change will be for those exiting Gate 3. He said traffic will be limited to the right lane, unless motorists are turning onto Haysland Road. The left traffic lane will be dedicated to left turns only. Strobach said the change is anticipated to occur when the road re-opens, likely before the workforce returns to the arsenal.

Construction workers are practicing all recommended safety and social distancing measures and additional guidelines from the CDC, Army, Department of Defense, and state and local governments, he said.

Over near Gate 9, the same safety practices are being observed at the Redstone Gateway construction site on Rideout Road, said James Lomax, director of asset management for Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT). The 468-acre office park is being developed by COPT and Jim Wilson & Associates.

“It is a mass construction site,” Lomax said. “In rough square footage we’ve got approximately 800,000 square feet of space under development right now.”

Among sites under construction include:

  • A multi-building campus for defense contractor Yulista, which will include 366,000 square feet of space on the site.
  • A 100,000 square-foot, four-story office building at 8000 Rideout Road.
  • A single-story, 40,000 square-foot office space at 6000 Redstone Gateway.
  • A 20,000 square-foot building, which will be home to Ardent Pre-school & Daycare.

Seven office buildings, totaling 669,000 square feet have already been completed at the site including: The Shops at Redstone Gateway, which houses three restaurants and a conference center; and a TownePlace Suites by Marriott.

The biggest impact COVID-19 is having on the Redstone Gateway complex is the delayed grand opening of a new coffee shop and a change in restaurant traffic.

Lomax said the Offbeat Coffee Studio opening has been delayed because of COVID-19. The coffee shop currently has one location in Campus 805.

“It was supposed to open this month but it will be pushed out,” Lomax said. “It exciting that we’ll have a new drive-thru and walk up coffee shop when this is over.”

He said all three Redstone Gateway restaurants, Rocket City Tavern, Fiero and DipWich, are providing take out orders to help weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Otherwise, Lomax said COVID-19 isn’t creating a negative impact on Redstone Gateway tenants, since most are government contractors and still producing income and have employees who are still getting paid.

COPT is taking extra steps related to cleaning and sanitizing its Redstone Gateway office spaces.

“Since this happened, we took it upon ourselves to let our tenants know we are doing everything we can to ensure they have a safe working environment if they are using their office,” Lomax said. “We’ve asked them to view us as a partner in the fight against the coronavirus and asked them to contact us first if they have someone in their building who has tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19 so we can lock it down and give it a deep cleaning.”

He said a day porter cleaning service is on site daily spraying and wiping down high touch points like elevators, door knobs and handles.

“We’re worried about our construction workers as well,” he said. “So far, they are out there using masks and staying away from each other and we’ve had not problems with them at all.”

That means that all projects are on schedule, he said, adding that this month another two buildings are scheduled to start construction.