Some professionals in the Chattanooga housing industry say they already are picking up business from Volkswagen, which plans to open its $1 billion auto assembly plant by early 2011 in Enterprise South industrial park.
An East Brainerd apartment complex has signed six leases with Volkswagen executives who need temporary housing, the apartments’ manager said.
“They’re looking for a higher-end complex, more resort-style than apartment-style,” said Lisa Wagner, manager of The Haven at Commons Park.
The executives are starting work Sept. 15 at a temporary Volkswagen office and wanted a home until they find permanent housing, she said.
Staff Photo by Meghan Brown
Frank Smith, project superintendent for landscape management company Oakwood APCI, waters new transplants at The Haven at Commons Park, a 319-unit apartment complex near Hamilton Place.
The Haven opened earlier this year and is behind Home Depot in East Brainerd. Rents range from $829 to $1,059, higher than some mortgage payments, for amenities including concierge service, wireless Internet access in the clubhouse and luxury finishes such as granite countertops.
Commercial real estate agent Robert Fisher said Volkswagen and related industries will create demand for new apartments near Enterprise South in Tyner.
“I think it will generate two to four new complexes over the next three years,” said Mr. Fisher of ReMax Renaissance Realtors.
rezoning hurdle for apartments
Mr. Fisher said he represents several apartment developers who are searching for land in Chattanooga, and he said there are about a dozen apartment developers looking at the area.
“There are very few sites around already zoned for apartments,” Mr. Fisher said. “Everything has to go through the rezoning process.”
One apartment complex that Mr. Fisher said he represented through the rezoning process is Cross Creek Villas, which will start leasing units this fall. The property is behind Kmart on Highway 58, near Enterprise South.
Cross Creek Villas, which is under construction, will have 232 apartments, with rent ranging from $700 to $1,000, he said. Amenities include 9-foot ceilings, landscaping, a clubhouse, swimming pool, garages and self-storage units.
Apartments are not the only part of the housing industry starting to see activity from Volkswagen.
Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn, at 7015 Shallowford Road, has been hosting workers from engineering firms and contractors that are working on the Volkswagen site, said general manager Michael Ward. The extended stay hotel is negotiating with a Volkswagen architecture firm as well.
Through current Volkswagen-related clients, Mr. Ward estimates his hotel will book 5,200 room nights in the coming year, at an average discounted rate of $106 per night, for a total impact of $551,200.
hyundai shop talk
Residential real estate agents also are angling for Volkswagen business.
The Chattanooga Association of Realtors next week is hosting a real estate executive from Montgomery, Ala., to talk about the effect from the 2005 opening of Hyundai’s $1.4 billion plant.
Taylor Jernigan, former president of the Montgomery Area Association of Realtors, will speak to local Realtors on Wednesday at a lunch meeting at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
Darlene Brown, broker-owner of Real Estate Partners Chattanooga, said that she recently showed two downtown properties, Museum Bluffs and BridgeView, to officials in charge of finding temporary housing for Volkswagen workers. George Kangles of Walldorf Property Management is the agent working with the officials, she said.