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Cantor Fitzgerald Opportunity Zone Project Kicks Off in Huntsville, Ala.

Affiliates of Cantor Fitzgerald LP, Silverstein Properties, Essex Capital, and Ascend Property Group began construction on the Front Row development project in Huntsville, Ala.

Cantor and Silverstein launched an opportunity zone business in early 2019 to invest in, develop, redevelop, and manage a diversified portfolio of institutional quality commercial real estate assets with an emphasis on multifamily properties located in qualified opportunity zones in the United States.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, city officials, opportunity zone project partners, and local community groups comprised the more than 200 people attendance at an official groundbreaking event, which took place at the development site located at 500 Clinton Avenue. The occasion was commemorated with a formal speaker presentation, media interviews, a ceremonial shovel dig, and a presentation of Front Row’s $250,000 donation to the Huntsville Housing Authority. The afternoon’s reception continued with cocktails, food, and live music at the Mars Music Hall, situated directly across from the Von Braun Center.

Front Row is an 11+ acre mixed-use development featuring an anticipated 545 residential units, 36,000 square feet of Class-A office space, and 47,000 square feet of retail space. The development includes two six-story buildings containing residential units, commercial space, and a retail component with a multi-use urban green space lined by retail and restaurant patios, community activations, and public art.

“Given Huntsville’s amazing trajectory, expectations from commercial and retail tenants and residents alike are higher than ever for the places they choose to live and work. We are confident Front Row will stand out and raise the bar,” said Mitch Rutter, chief executive officer of Essex Capital.

“We’re redefining the live-work-play paradigm, prioritizing top-tier amenities,” noted Daniel Shields, president of Ascend Property Group. “Combining an elevated residential and retail experience in a prime location with park-like surroundings connecting the many vantage points within the city of Huntsville introduces an unprecedented offering to the downtown community.”

The retail space is expected to be delivered in late 2025. Apartments and office space are to follow, by early 2026. Additional phases, including plans for a boutique hotel, a Class-A office high-rise, luxury condos, and more will be disclosed at a future date.

“We are thrilled to be part of this transformative development for Huntsville,” said Chris Milner, chief investment officer of real assets for Cantor Fitzgerald Asset Management. “Front Row will help ignite the city’s growth and ongoing evolution into a vibrant urban center.”

Cantor Fitzgerald Asset Management’s investment platform consists of $13 billion of assets under management across mutual funds, interval funds, exchange-traded funds, separately managed accounts, unified managed accounts, core real estate funds, opportunity zone funds, 1031 and 721 exchange vehicles, and other private investment vehicles managed on behalf of high-net-worth and institutional investors.

Silverstein Properties is a privately held, full-service real estate development, investment, and management firm based in New York founded by Larry Silverstein.

Essex Capital, founded in 1991 by Mitchell Rutter, is a New York-based real estate investment and development company with experience in office, residential, industrial, and retail projects.

Ascend Property Group is a boutique real estate development and private equity firm led by Dan Shields, who has over 25 years of experience in banking, investment, and capital markets in the northeast and southeast regions.

Front Row marks a landmark addition to Huntsville. The development’s construction, according to Cantor, mirrors the city’s major growth initiatives and shares a similar timeline to other expansion projects nearby including a recently announced riverwalk project and a forthcoming pedestrian skybridge to connect downtown with the Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment district. Front Row will cement the core of downtown Huntsville at the intersection of the Von Braun Center development and additional key areas such as Big Spring Park, Fountain Circle, University of Alabama Huntsville, and the Downtown Greenway.

“Front Row is at the center of Huntsville’s redefined downtown core and another good example of the qualified opportunity zone program stimulating investment,” said Ashley Lin, vice president, Silverstein Properties.

Cantor Fitzgerald is an investment bank serving more than 5,000 institutional clients around the world and an active sponsor of investment programs for individual accredited investors.

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