Officials at UTC are negotiating the purchase of the Renaissance Square condo building on M.L. King Boulevard and are looking to private foundations to fund a big chunk of the cost, Chancellor Roger Brown said.
The building, owned by the 28th Legislative District Community Development Corp., will be used to expand the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga SimCenter, which soon will offer commercial products and needs space for growth, Dr. Brown said.
“The SimCenter is our premier scientific research facility, and this building would allow that center to grows its size and capacity to solve even more urgent problems in transportation and energy,” Dr. Brown said.
Officials at the 28th CDC would not comment on the possible sale of the property, said Ann Jones Pierre, the corporation’s board chairwoman.
UTC is trying to set aside about $3 million to acquire the property, at 301 M.L. King Blvd.
The SimCenter opened in November 2003 at 701 East M.L. King Blvd. The UC Foundation renovated the 31,000-square-foot building, which was donated by the city.
At last week’s fall UT board of trustees meeting, UTC officials asked for $1 million from the system. Board members approved the request contingent on whether UTC could secure another $2.2 million in private funds from the University of Chattanooga Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation and the Benwood Foundation.
UTC officials met with foundation officials Friday to discuss funding the purchase, Dr. Brown said. The foundations support the purchase, he said, but want to negotiate a better deal on the property.
“I am convinced the money will be there once we get a price that everyone agrees is the best deal,” Dr. Brown said.
The property is about 20,000 square feet and would provide 40 parking spaces. About 10,000 square feet of the building’s first floor is unfinished, and it will cost $500,000 to prepare the space, Dr. Brown said.
The $2.7 million Renaissance Square development has only one tenant, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press archives. Efforts to sell condos at the property, built about a year ago, have been unsuccessful, even though the 28th Legislative District Community Development Corp. reduced prices and offered incentives.
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...