Bridge Street Town Centre
Gives the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail a Refreshing Appeal
Story & Photos by: Ed Stone
Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail has made a major impact on the State's economy

Golfing in Alabama gained a strong reputation in the late 1980’s when a transplanted Minnesotan named Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama began building the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.  His objective was to effectively diversify the assets of the state's pension fund and help the state of Alabama.  He borrowed a page from the movie script, "Field of Dreams," and decided to "build-it-and-they-will-come.”  The rest is history.  (Click here for a side bar story on Hampton Cove golf course in Huntsville, Alabama.)

Today, there’s a new game in Huntsville called Bridge Street Town Centre and it blends well with golf, too.  Now, Huntsville features two gents from Los Angeles, California by the names of Gary Safady and his cousin, Paul Orfalea who created O & S Holdings, LLC in 1992.  It is a new added dimension to this part of Alabama.

The Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville adds a new dimension to the area

The Bridge Street Town Centre is in an area known as Cummings Research Park.  This is the center of North Alabama’s space and defense industry and the second largest research and technology park in the United States. Here we find the offices of Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.  Visitors to Huntsville will enjoy first-class attractions in close proximity such as the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Huntsville Botanical Gardens and several area golf courses including the first built RTJ Hampton Cove Course.  For those of you not acquainted with the City of Huntsville, it is one of the most upscale cities in the State of Alabama and in the Southeast.  Remember this is where the Saturn Five Rocket was developed and has taken most all of our astronauts into space.  Huntsville is a major area for computer, electronics and space development.

The Westin's Lobby area presents a welcome to all guests Unique restaurants are close to the Westin Hotel

Bridge Street Town Centre is a 550,000 square-foot, retail lifestyle center with space for more than 70 stores and restaurants, many of which are new to the North Alabama market. In addition to shopping and restaurants, Bridge Street also features the 14 screen Monaco Pictures featuring Scene Restaurant and Lounge, 276 room Westin Hotel, 35 luxury Westin Huntsville Residences, and 133,000 square feet of office space.  Just to name a few of the specialty retailers, they include:
Apple, Anthropology, Coldwater Creek, Ann Taylor Loft, Chico’s, White House/Black Market, J. Jill, J. Crew, Kate Spade, Banana Republic, Brighton Collectibles, Francesca’s and the Heavenly Spa by Westin. The lifestyle component also includes nearly 50,000 square feet of dining options, including P.F. Chang’s, Conner’s Steak and Seafood, Cantina Laredo, Dolce and Ketchup, and many others.

Of note, I was impressed with the Monaco Pictures and its innovative concept. In addition to the 14 screens, they offer a restaurant and bar with both indoor and outdoor seating.  The menu is a bit limited, but the offering is quite nice and the presentation and taste was superb.  Ticketing is available via kiosks in a large lobby with concierge service to assist those with questions and problems.  On the second floor is the Prive’ “AVIP Experience” section for customers 21 and older.  A full bar and wine dispensing machine is provided for those wanting to enjoy a bit of libation during the movie.  Food from the restaurant can be packaged for those wanting to enjoy their meal in oversize, reclining seats.  This is the ultimate in movie watching.

The Monaco Pictures Complex offers the latest in movie-going
Robert Dula, the gondolier The LaBella Gondolas is a perfect way to celebrate special occasions

Robert Dula is the gondolier for the La Bella Gondolas at the Bridge Street Town Centre.  I caught up with him late one Sunday afternoon as he was disembarking a grandmother with three of her grand children who had surprised her with a gondola ride replete with birthday cake and sparkling water.  She had traveled from Connecticut to spend this special occasion with her family.  The La Bella Gondolas offers scheduled and private tours for all occasions.  Not what you would expect to find in this part of the world.

Water fountains provide a refreshing children's play area at Bridge Street Town Centre

Other entertainment is offered and scattered around the shopping complex and features children’s interactive water fountains, strolling musicians, a majestic carrousel, etc.  The backdrop of the European styled buildings, fountains, street lights, and muted colors makes for a perfect place for not only shopping and dining, but also to spend some quality time with family.  I also found the ¾ mile Huntsville Hospital Walking Trail meandering through the streets of the centre a real added bonus.

Staying at the Westin Huntsville is the perfect way to enjoy the
total ambiance of having just about everything you could want in your backyard.  In addition to enjoying all of its signature services and amenities, you have access to all the upscale shops and activities of the development.  Most rooms overlook a scenic, ten-acre lake where Venetian gondola rides meander under arched bridges, piazzas and European styled buildings.

Whether your golf game is great or not up to par, a massage at the Westin Heavenly Spa will turn your pars to birdies and your boogies to pars.

The serene and elegant Heavenly Spa at the Westin offers the best quality you will encounter.  In addition to providing just about any spa treatment you would want, they also use and make available some of the most outstanding and highly acclaimed Westin Heavenly Bath® products.

Meeting facilities with over 10,964 square feet at the Westin Huntsville are among the finest in the Southeast.  The Hotel features the largest hotel ballroom in the city, with 7,900 square feet of space that can accommodate as many as 850 guests. For smaller events, this space can be divided into six separate meeting rooms. A state-of-the-art, 792-square foot boardroom is also available.

My breakfast in the Sage Grille was absolutely scrumptious, from the blueberry pancakes to the fresh squeezed orange juice.  This lobby area restaurant offers tasty Mediterranean fare and a refreshing, contemporary setting for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Additional facilities include an indoor/outdoor heated pool, the WestinWORKOUT® fitness center, a business center and concierge service.  The simple elegance of the contemporary lobby offers intimate seating arrangements for socializing, meeting or relaxing in an uplifting setting.

The Bridge Street Town Centre project is designed by Los Angeles based TSA Architects and TS Design and features elements influenced by the classical architecture found in the Tuscany region of Italy and the Province region of France.

In addition to Bridge Street Town Centre, O&S Holdings and its affiliates own more than eighty properties in the United States, including the Louisiana Boardwalk – a 650,000 square foot waterfront entertainment and outlet shopping center anchored by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and a 14 screen Regal Theater. Also under development is Phase I of Bridge Street Town Centre in McKinney, TX featuring The Westin McKinney, the 3.5 million sq. ft. Bridge Street Town Centre in Will County, IL and the 825,000 sq. ft. Marketplace at El Paseo in Fresno, CA.

Bridge Street Town Centre
6782 Old Madison Pike
Huntsville, AL 35806
Phone: 256-428-2022
Customer Service: 256-327-8400