It all started with an old O’Charley’s restaurant. CEO Ron Gray was searching for a new place to house his company, Thompson Gray. He wanted to have a space that was in a central location and easily accessible for staff and customers. Creating a new office space from the ground up was expensive and time-consuming, so searching for an existing building was the best option. The O’Charley’s restaurant on Balmoral Drive in Southwest Huntsville had recently closed and was for sale. The building was close to the Parkway which was great for staff, and it was in close proximity to Redstone Arsenal. It was the perfect location – all it needed was a makeover.
The renovation process on the building began in 2013. The restaurant needed a complete update but original architectural designs were still kept to preserve the history of the building.
“Many O’Charley’s restaurants have that signature brick archway above the doors,” says Ron. “It was a unique touch that we wanted to keep and in a way nod to our beginnings.”
The office space for Thompson Gray was added on to the existing building. In 2014, Thompson Gray officially moved into their new headquarters. Ron’s second company, Gray Analytics, moved into the building in 2018 and was housed in the old restaurant kitchen area.
Urban renewals like the Thompson Gray and Gray Analytics campus are part of the ongoing revitalization process of South Huntsville. Many businesses have turned older buildings and unused properties from south of Governors Drive, stretching down to the new Grissom High School into new office spaces. The City of Huntsville has prioritized and encouraged businesses to set up shop along the Parkway as the community continues to grow.
“It was important that we give a second life to this building,” says Ron. “Turning a 25-year-old restaurant into a modern, technologically advanced workspace was no small feat, but we plan to be here for years to come.”
This Earth Day, let’s all find ways to help preserve our planet and reduce, reuse and maybe even renovate!