Crunkleton’s Top 5 From 2017!

It’s been a big year for the City of Huntsville! New developments were announced, businesses opened their doors, and exciting events happened that made 2017 an unforgettable year.

At the end of each year, we take a moment to share the major announcements that YOU viewed the most on our blog. Thank you to everyone who helped make this past year so special.

As you can see from the list, it looks like everyone was very excited to welcome several new restaurants to the Huntsville area!

Honorable Mention – Historic Huntsville: The Story Behind The Yarbrough Hotel

At Crunkleton, we try to highlight the amazing history behind different buildings in the city. Our Historic Huntsville posts have continually been a favorite of our readers, and this year we uncovered the history behind the Yarbrough Hotel in Downtown Huntsville. Mary Jane Caylor, a well-known Huntsville figure dedicated to restoring the downtown area, took us on a grand tour and shared personal stories of her childhood at the marvelous hotel.


5. Tenant Announcement! Scout & Molly’s Boutique Coming To The Avenue!

Scout & Molly’s Boutique officially opened its doors at The Avenue this fall. We interviewed Lori Mullins, owner of the downtown shop, about what makes the women’s boutique so special.


4. Chuck Wagon Texas BBQ Expands To South Huntsville!

After 10 years of success at its Madison location, Chuck Wagon Texas BBQ will open a second restaurant in South Huntsville at Redstone Ridge Shopping Center! The soft opening of the new location is tentatively scheduled for January 4, 2018. We spoke with owner Stephen Holley and got a sneak peek of the new barbecue joint.



3. Haru Korean & Sushi Opens In Madison, Alabama

If you’re looking for authentic Korean fare, Haru is the place for you. Located in the Spencer Square Shopping Center, visitors can now find the city’s newest Korean restaurant serving up everything from noodles and soups to sushi and spicy chicken.


Photo credit: Baby Bite Bake Shoppe

2. “Baby Bite Bake Shoppe” Announces New Huntsville Location!

From the moment we announced that Baby Bite Bake Shoppe was coming to town, we have received several messages from excited readers asking when they can get their hands on these delectable treats. (To answer that question, they project their opening for late January 2018!)

The specialty bakery will offer made-from-scratch, bite-sized cakes that are already the talk of the town in Birmingham. After Baby Bites spent several years as the “scrumptious treat-of-choice” at Pastry Art Bake Shoppe in Homewood and Inverness, creators of the popular dessert saw the opportunity to branch out and highlight their best-selling item by introducing an all-new bakery.


1.  New “STOVEHOUSE” Development Coming Soon To West Huntsville!

Our number one blog for the year goes to our STOVEHOUSE announcement! If you haven’t heard, the historic Martin Stove building, located at 3414 Governors Drive, will soon become the site of the city’s next large-scale food, office, events, and entertainment complex. A 200,000 square foot building situated on a 10-acre property, STOVEHOUSE will blur the line between modern and historical, work and play, and small-town culture and high-tech urban energy.

We have several more announcements for STOVEHOUSE to come, so be sure to check back on our blog for more updates as this project evolves.


Again, thank you to everyone we interviewed to make these announcements possible. And of course, we owe a HUGE thank you to our readers.

2018 is looking to be another great year, and we can’t wait to share our journey with you and continue to highlight exciting news and developments in the Rocket City!

Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest trends, newest developments and hottest new stores in Huntsville by subscribing to our weekly blog updates!




5 Ways To Minimize Your Investment Risk


While commercial real estate in the U.S. continues to be a safe haven for investors seeking higher yields with relatively low risk, new investors often worry they will find themselves in over their heads, saddled with the next Mr. Blandings Dream House or Money Pit.

However, investors can minimize their investment risk exponentially by doing some basic homework on their potential investment properties. We recommend always looking into these 5 factors as part of due diligence when determining the potential risk factor for any investment.

1) History Of The Property

When looking to invest in a property, one of the first things investors should look into is the history of the property to find out what type of uses the building, or land the building is situated on, has been used for in the past.

Finding out if the building has possible asbestos issues, or if the land has ever hosted a gas station, dry cleaner or other business where the possibility of toxic environmental issues could be a concern, or has had a history of past structural or mechanical issues, can minimize your risk of getting saddled with costly future expenses.

A phase I environmental report is always recommended when making a real estate purchase.

2) Tenant Credit

Whether you’re purchasing an investment property with existing tenants, or planning on leasing out your property once it’s purchased, making sure you have good tenants with a positive credit history can save you from costly future property management concerns.

And while purchasing a property with a creditable tenant as an existing lessee, who has the financial stability to maintain their lease for the long term, may cost you more on the front end, it can save you from spending money in the future on legal fees or expensive renovations in the event that a less creditable tenant vacates the property before their lease term and leaves you having to attract new, more creditable, clients to fill the space.

3) Financial Terms

Another area to educate yourself on before investing in a property are the loan terms and what they will mean for you right now and what they will mean for you in the future so you can make sure to strike the most favorable terms for your situation.

Ask questions like, “Will the loan be a Non-Recourse, Partial Recourse, or Full Recourse loan? Will it be a floating or fixed rate loan? Will there be a swap or not? Are there defeasance fees if I decide to sell before the loan matures?”

These questions will help keep you informed as to all of the potential financial risk factors as well as assist in your overall plan for the investment.

4) Market Trends

Market trends are another important area of research when choosing in which potential property to invest.

One of the main things to look for are the vacancy rates for the area over the last 3-5 years. Obviously, you’re not going to want to pay as much for a building that has an average vacancy rate of 40%, compared to one that has an average vacancy rate of 4%, especially if the surrounding area has ample vacancy increasing competition for tenants.

The other is to try and determine if the property is in an upward trending area, or in an area situated in a downward trend. Locating potential sites in new up and coming areas that are just starting to take root, is often a great strategy for investing while the prices are still low, and then seeing substantial investment value growth as the area fully develops. Factors that can influence these trends include: zoning changes, improved infrastructure, new developments, and lack of supply in adjacent areas.

5) Have A Plan For The Property

Finally, before you sign on the dotted line, one of the biggest factors in minimizing your investment risk is to have a detailed plan for the property. Simply buying land on gut instinct, just to own property without any plan on what you will do with it, can often be a costly mistake.

We recommend sitting down and writing a detailed plan for what you intend to do with the property/building/land you plan to purchase. This should include any developments/improvements you plan to make and what you approximate the return on those developments/improvements will be. It should state what your rental plan is for the property, how long you plan to hold onto the property, and what the intended use will be for the property. Will this be an income producing property, a value added asset property, or do you simply want to hold onto the land long term for a future date?

Finally, your plan should include a detailed exit strategy, how/when do you plan to off load the property after you purchase it? What will your estimated costs for selling the property be and what sort of tax liabilities will you be accountable for if you choose to sell?

Investing in commercial real estate can be daunting at first. However, with a solid plan in place, a little research and by properly educating yourself on the potential properties you can substantially minimize your investment risk.

Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest trends, newest developments and hottest new stores in Huntsville by subscribing to our weekly blog updates!