When Volkswagen’s Chattanooga campus opens in two years, it will take up about 1,350 acres of space at Enterprise South industrial park and dwarf other industrial sites in the city.
“The total acreage for this project is nearly four times larger than the DuPont site when it was established 60 years ago,” said Tom Edd Wilson, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive.
That site, now home to Invista, sits on about 400 acres off of North Access Road.
The campus of Chattanooga State Technical Community College is 145 acres, but Volkswagen’s property is still more than nine times bigger, said Jim Catanzaro, CSTCC president.
Dr. Catanzaro has visited auto manufacturing sites around the country, including the BMW plant in Greenville, S.C., a Toyota plant in Indiana, along with Ford and GM plants in Ohio and Michigan.
He said the plants have to be big because of the nature of what goes on inside an automotive manufacturing facility.
“You have got to run a line all the way from just the basic assembly of the under carriage to the final painting of the vehicle and finishing the interior, then somebody has got to drive it off to someone who checks the quality of it,” he said.
The new manufacturing site will dwarf Hamilton Place mall, which including the road surrounding the parking lot, is just 76 acres, said Catharine Pangratz, the mall’s marketing director.
The 105-acre campus at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will fit about 13 times.
The home of the Chattanooga Lookouts at AT&T Park, which is about nine acres, would fit into the site 150 times, which put the size of the field into perspective for team owner Frank Burke.
“It does make you realize how big it is, and I am just glad our players don’t have to try to hit a baseball out of it,” he quipped.