published Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Plan eyed for former Chattanooga Chevrolet dealership

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The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission is slated to take up a zoning change request for the site on Nov. 12.

A 92-year-old history-filled structure that sits on a major gateway into downtown Chattanooga could soon see new life.

The four-story building at Fourth and Market streets, which was part of the old Newton Chevrolet dealership, may house new offices, retail space and a restaurant.

Hutton Co., a Chattanooga-based real estate developer and construction firm, has the 60,000-square-foot building under contract and is doing a feasibility study, said company President Geoff Smith.

"If it turns out to be economically feasible, we'd love to have the top floor of the building," said Smith.

Hutton could lease out the middle floors to other office users, and the company is exploring options for a restaurant on the bottom floor, he said.

Kim White, who heads the downtown redevelopment group River City Co., said a meeting is planned with the company and Mayor Ron Littlefield to discuss potential plans and needed streetscaping in front of the building.

"This is a gateway into the city," she said. "This is such an important building. It's very exciting."

Waterford Exchange of Sandy Springs, Ga., bought the building in 2006 for $1.9 million, according to the Hamilton County Register of Deeds.

For many years, the structure and adjoining property held Newton Chevrolet, which later moved to Riverfront Parkway and M.L. King Boulevard. The building is currently vacant, and in recent years was used for storage.

Hutton Co., founded in 1998, currently is located in the Heritage Center at 736 Cherry St. The company has grown rapidly in recent years by building scores of stores for such businesses as Family Dollar, O'Reilly Auto Parts, AutoZone and Tractor Supply Co., according to CEO Karen Hutton.

Hutton Co. is seeking a zoning change for the building from manufacturing to commercial or C-3.

In 2007, Newton Chevrolet was sold to the Watson family and became Mountain View Chevrolet. The dealership later relocated to a new home on East 20th Street.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

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 ...

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