The company behind the rehabilitation of the old Cavalier Corp. site in Chattanooga wants to put high-density housing on a portion of the former manufacturing facility.
“We’ve cleaned up the property,” said Joe Guthrie of the Southeast Local Development Corp.
While Mr. Guthrie would not comment on the specific use of the property, one community member has mentioned a possible fraternity row.
Mr. Guthrie’s nonprofit company has applied to rezone about 1.8 acres at the 1100 blocks of East 10th and 11th streets near Central Avenue from low-density residential to higher-density residential.
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission on Monday deferred the request until July so Southeast could talk to local residents about its plans. Planning commissioners also wanted to wait on making a decision until a land use plan for the M.L. King neighborhood is developed this summer.
During the planning commission meeting, Anita Polk-Conley, president of the M.L. King Neighborhood Association, said that although the developers had met with some association members, residents wanted more specifics on the project.
Ms. Polk-Conley mentioned the possibility of a fraternity row community.
Mr. Guthrie said he could not confirm what type of project is planned, although it’s not tied to the nearby homeless complex that Mayor Ron Littlefield is proposing.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga officials have not spoken to any developers about building a fraternity row complex, said university spokesman Chuck Cantrell. However, such a complex would likely be funded by individual fraternities and sororities, he said, not the university.
“We’re open to it, but it’s not one that’s on our drawing board right now,” Mr. Cantrell said. “I can’t speak for individual groups.”
Southeast’s site plan calls for four buildings and four parking lots. The site is not suitable for single-family houses, Mr. Guthrie said. His company has cleared out prostitutes and drug users from the site, he said, and has been maintaining the currently vacant property.
M.L. King Neighborhood resident Moses Freeman said that he and other neighbors are concerned about the neighborhood’s stability and the encroachment of high-end housing in the area.
The Southeast Local Development Corp. is a private, non-profit company, Mr. Guthrie said. The company redeveloped part of the old Cavalier site 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.