A fraternity alumnus is moving ahead with a $3 million to $5 million campus for Greek organizations in the former Cavalier Corp. property after he received an endorsement Monday for a rezoning change.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission approved rezoning the site at the 1100 blocks of East 10th and 11th streets from low-density residential to a higher density use.
“Construction could start this year for Pi Kappa Alpha as soon as the zoning is done,” said developer Roy Williams. “That’s what we’ll push for.”
Mr. Williams said he is meeting with University of Tennessee at Chattanooga officials on Wednesday to introduce the concept to them.
To proceed, the Chattanooga City Council must endorse the plans next month, and a zoning appeals board must approve the site for use by fraternities and sororities.
Pi Kappa Alpha, Kappa Delta and Alpha Delta Pi have expressed strong interest in the project, he said. A couple of other Greek organizations are talking to their national headquarters about locating to the development. Mr. Williams is secretary-treasurer of Pi Kappa Alpha’s alumni group.
The Regional Planning Agency is drawing up a land use plan for the M.L. King neighborhood and won’t finish until late in the summer, officials said.
Cavalier Corp. began in 1865 as a furniture maker and switched to producing vending machines in 1935.
M.L. King neighborhood association President Anita Polk-Conley said the organization would have preferred the commission to have held off on endorsing the rezoning until the land use plan is finished. The association would like to base an endorsement or opposition on the land use plan, she said. Residents are concerned about traffic, parking and the design of the Greek housing, she said.
Mr. Williams said he plans to build at least five two-story houses between 4,000 to 6,000 square feet, with exteriors made of masonry, possibly brick or cement fiber board siding, and “attractive entranceways.”
Mr. Williams said he will buy the former Cavalier property from Southeast Local Development Corp. if the City Council approves the rezoning. Joe Guthrie of Southeast Local Development said his company has rehabilitated portions of the former manufacturing site over the past 13 to 15 years.
Part of the old Cavalier site was redeveloped into the Southeast Tennessee Career Center, a job placement office.
Cavalier began in 1865 as a furniture maker and switched to producing vending machines in 1935. The plant began to fade in the late 1980s. Workers were laid off in August 2000.