Growing west Huntsville said to be in line for Academy Sports + Outdoors store

Academy Sports logo.jpg

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Academy Sports + Outdoors is apparently looking to build its first Huntsville store in a cotton field near U.S. 72 West and Nance Road.

Earlier this week, the Huntsville Planning Commission approved the layout of two commercial lots on either side of a Bank Independent under construction at the northeast corner of the intersection.

Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong said his father, Horace Strong, and aunt Myrna Ford intend to sell the larger of the two lots — 8.4 acres — to GBT Realty of Brentwood, Tenn.

“From what I’ve been told,” Strong said Tuesday, “GBT is working on an Academy Sports.”

A GBT spokeswoman said late Wednesday that the company had no comment.

Academy Sports + Outdoors operates over 140 stores across the country, including Decatur, Birmingham, Gadsden, Hoover, Mobile, Montgomery, Auburn, Tuscaloosa and Prattville.

The company traces its beginnings to a San Antonio, Texas, tire shop opened in 1938. The owner, Max Gochman, eventually branched out into military surplus and sporting goods.

Last year, the Gochman family sold the company to the global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts Co. Academy Sports has annual sales of more than $2.7 billion.

GBT Realty is no stranger to the Huntsville market. The company developed the new Target-anchored Shoppes of Madison on U.S. 72 West and plans to build a smaller shopping center just west of Madison Hospital.

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