The developer of a proposed key downtown project and the city forester are at loggerheads over keeping two large oak trees on Market Street fronting the site.
If forced to keep the two 60-foot-tall trees, developer Trey Stanley said his mixed-used Mayfair on Market project will have to be reconfigured.
But Mr. Stanley said changes in architectural plans could be done during demolition and won’t delay work, which he said is expected to start in April.
Gene Hyde, the city forester, said he’d prefer the two willow oaks at the north end of the 700 block site stay in place.
“Certainly the development is a big deal. I want it to happen. Trey wants it to happen. It’s just these two trees are kind of a sticking point,” he said.
Both said Mayor Ron Littlefield likely will have to make a final decision.
The mayor said in a statement Thursday the city is working with the developer to retain as much of the canopy provided by the existing trees as possible.
“Mr. Stanley is working with our urban forester to minimize the loss of green cover. It is our desire to see as little impact on our urban forest as possible,” he said.
Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell -- The developer of the planned Mayfair on Market condo project on the 700 block and the city forester differ over keeping some trees in front of the site. SunTrust Bank is at top right.
Mr. Stanley plans to erect a high-rise, $16 million structure holding 58 condominiums, parking and ground-floor commercial space. His company will have to demolish dilapidated century-old structures.
He plans to begin putting up barricades by the end of next week and start taking down the buildings.
Nine trees line Market in front of the site, Mr. Hyde said. Two small ones are to be cut down, but he’d like to save the others.
“We told him we’d prefer to have the larger willow oaks stay in place,” he said.
Mr. Stanley said the two oaks in question stand where the entrance to the parking garage is slated to go. He said the rest of the trees enhance the site.
If he can’t cut the trees down, the developer said, he will have to move the entrance from the north end of the site to the south end of the property, adjacent to the SunTrust Bank building.
Moving the entrance to the south end is problematic because of the large number of people who work and do business at the bank building, the developer said.
“It’s the mayor’s call,” he said, adding that Mr. Littlefield and Mr. Hyde are supportive of the development.
Meanwhile, when work starts in earnest, officials said the developer plans to close one lane of Market and the sidewalk for the project and fence it in.
In addition, he said the city required him to gain a written agreement from businesses which use an alley behind the buildings, which helped push demolition of the buildings into April.
“It took a couple of weeks to get people to sign off,” Mr. Stanley said.
Mr. Stanley’s plans originally were unveiled in January 2006 amid fanfare by public and private officials that the struggling block finally would be revived. He said the original plan was to start construction in the spring 2006 with the project opening in summer 2007.
But the project’s timeline slid, the buildings fell into decay and vandals painted graffiti on the storefronts.
Mr. Stanley’s company purchased the site from The RiverCity Co., the private, nonprofit downtown redevelopment group that had bought it in late 2000.
Remaking the block proved more difficult than originally thought. Late last year, Mr. Stanley entered into an agreement with the Chattanooga Housing Authority, which became an equity partner in the project and is providing $3.65 million for the work. CHA received a loan from mortgage lender Fannie Mae
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...