published Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

River City anxious to fill downtown space

by Kelli Gauthier

Before Chattanooga’s downtown can flourish, the city needs to fill about 1 million square feet of vacant office and retail space.

That’s what officials with River City Co. believe, and they came before the City Council on Tuesday asking for money to fund recruiting efforts.

“It’s almost like an urban megasite that needs focus,” said River City President Kim White.

In response to a question from Councilwoman Pam Ladd about whether the company was working to recruit a grocery store downtown, White said that likely wouldn’t happen in the near future.

“We don’t have the density of people living and working downtown, and until that happens, it’ll be a while,” she said.

As they have done for the past several weeks, the council on Tuesday listened to presentations by jointly funded agencies and organizations about why they should continue receiving city money.

Tuesday’s budget hearing also included presentations from Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises and the Southeast Tennessee Development District.

Representatives from the Bessie Smith Cultural Center were scheduled to present before the council Tuesday morning, but did not show up.

about Kelli Gauthier...

Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...

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