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New ‘walkable community’ set for development in Florence

The $50M project will bring new residences and small businesses.
WAFF's Savannah Sapp reporting
Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 11:49 PM EST

FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - What used to be Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital has sat uninhabited for many years after demolition. On Monday, the question of what will replace the hospital has been answered.

Joel Anderson, the developer of the West Village Project, says that around 53% of Americans desire to live in a "walkable community" meaning that day-to-day needs are just within walking distance.

Anderson and his foundation decided to bring just that to the Florence area.

"This generation of folks is now realizing ‘hey I don’t want to be entirely dependent on a car to do everything. I want to live within walking distance of friends, music and parks and things like that,’" Anderson says.

Anderson plans for the Village to be a community for people from all walks of life.

"We have everything from studio apartments that are great for students and young folks living alone all the way up to, homes for sale that are great for growing families who want to be able to let their kids walk to the park or see friends," says Anderson.

Shoals Chamber of Commerce President Caitlin Burns says that due to the convenience of this type of community, those who work remotely would especially reap the benefits of essentials being within walking distance.

"And why not live somewhere as beautiful as the Shoals especially when you have housing options that fit your way of life?" says Burns who also expresses her gratitude to Anderson for bringing new ways of living to Florence.

"The Anderson family has been invested in the Shoals for generations," Burns begins "The financial impact, the cultural impact and the overall emphasis on quality of life that they’ve placed on this development is not going unnoticed. There is so much excitement and for good reason."

The project is expected to be completed over a three-year period.

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