New apartments help spur development of live, work, play community in Cummings Research Park

Cummings Research Park maintains its reputation as a research-driven defense and technology hub, but the city is reshaping the future of its over 8,000 acres of space. This master plan begins with developments like Watermark Apartments, which officially opened Tuesday.

“It’s the first time we’ve had apartments inside Research Park,” said CRP executive director Erin Koshut. “So we’re excited about having that and the amenities associated with that.”

As companies in Research Park continue to retain and recruit talent, the big driver is that people want convenience. And CRP is heading in a direction that will meet the needs of employees wanting to live, work, and play in the park.

“Bridge Street was originally developed for a large amount of people, whether it be locals or visitors, it was originally built for that growth,” said Bridge Street marketing director Haley Buie.

The growth that Huntsville will see in the next few years will bring in a lot more people, and CRP wants to do more than just accommodate them.

“They want places to walk to, they want to be able to ride their bikes, they want to grab a drink or meet people in different places,” Koshut said. “And really just the more of a vibrant community surrounding the place where they work.”

In the next year Research Park is expecting the development of at least one new mixed-use development, called Bradford Crossing, that will introduce hotel, retail, and restaurant space.

“We think with the growth of Huntsville in general, we need these extra places, we need these new mixed-use developments, we need new restaurants coming into town,” Buie said. “Because Bridge Street is only so big, we can only put so much in here.”

The plan is to keep Research Park booming with defense technology, but also introduce a sense of community.