Plans to use an innovative “zero-energy” approach for a retail and residential project slated for the Chattanooga’s Main Street Arts District prove the area continues to be a focus of progressive development, officials say.
“What (the developers) are doing is a wonderful fulfillment and extension of a lot of the work done in the mid-’90s to envision and set a path for how the Southside could come back, and it is certainly happening,” said Rob Taylor, the project’s manager and development coordinator. “This project is a great step in that direction, so this is in a way coming full circle.”
Developer Ken Pritchard said he hopes his project in the former Office Coordinators Inc. warehouse will take an almost 100-year-old building at the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue off the power grid.
Staff Photos by John Rawlston-- Ken Pritchard, co-owner, right, and Rob Taylor, consultant and project manager, discuss plans for Camdelle Court on Main Street.
He said he aims to drive down energy consumption and produce energy by possibly using a green roof, solar panels, and geothermal energy sources.
Mr. Pritchard said he hopes that when the project, called Camdelle Court, is completed the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable energy sources will equal the amount of energy used by the building.
“It’s extremely ambitious,” said Eric Myers, an architect with Elemi Architects LLC who is working on the project. “There are very few net-zero buildings in the world even. Most of the buildings have been just single-family residential, and it is much simpler to do that on a much smaller scale ... We’re quite a bit bigger than a single-family residence, and we are going to have a really tough challenge meeting net zero. But we are really going to try.”
area’s green gains
Camdelle Court will join a number of residential and retail projects that have gone up in the Southside in the past two years. Projects such as the Clark Centre at the corner of Main and Market streets and residential developments along Cowart Street and in Jefferson Heights have taken shape as part of the area’s revitalization.
The project is just one of many planned or completed area projects incorporating the U.S. Green Building Council’s energy efficiency and design guidelines.
Joe Sliger, owner of Eastman Construction Co., owns several properties in the area, including a building at Main and Williams near Mr. Pritchard’s project. That 15,000-square foot building will incorporate some of the energy-efficient design practices suggested by the green group.
Mr. Sliger said his building is being gutted and will be renovated and leased. He also owns the 6,000-square-foot Stong Building, where work is under way on a downtown bar called the Terminal Brew House and Pub, which is being developed by the owners of the Hair of the Dog Pub.
Mr. Pritchard and wife, Carla, bought the Main Street warehouse for $550,000 in late 2007 and are in the preliminary stages of developing what he estimates will be about a $4 million project.
The 30,000 square-foot warehouse will be divided into somewhere between nine and 15 residential condominiums and six commercial spaces, officials said. The condos will range in size from 700 to 2,100 square feet of the upper level. There will be one 6,000-square-foot commercial space, and the others will be about 1,000 square feet each and all on the ground level. The project will have a European-style interior courtyard in the center of the building, according to officials.
Mr. Pritchard, whose company Pritchard Properties owns about 50 units in the area, said he envisions the building’s roughly 4,000-square-foot basement as an ideal spot for a bar or a restaurant.
He said it would probably be another three months before the project plans are ready and construction actually begins. Once construction starts, it will be another 18 months to two years before completion, the developer said.
Though he is trying to incorporate as much energy efficiency as possible, Mr. Pritchard said he also wants to maintain the historic feel of the building and the area.
The challenges of creating an energy-efficient building that produces its own electricity are worthwhile, given the momentum in the area.
“Main Street has so much going on, it’s tough not to want to be a part of it,” he said.