published Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Chattanooga planners support $40 million waterfront residential project

Chattanooga planners have endorsed a $40 million proposal by a Nashville company to build one of the biggest downtown waterfront residential projects ever in the city.

Dubbed "The Landings," the proposal that would raise more than 270 housing units is slated to go before the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission for its review on Monday.

Planning staff this week recommended approving the rezoning of an 11-acre tract on the Tennessee River off Riverfront Parkway from manufacturing to central business zone, subject to several conditions.

Aaron White, a principal in developer Evergreen Real Estate, said his group is working closely with the planning commission staff.

"We have a shared vision for a vibrant mixed-use corridor," he said. "Hopefully, it's consistent with what the city is trying to do there."

The riverfront site across from the former Newton Chevrolet dealership on Molly Lane calls for about 70 single-family cottage homes and 200 apartments.

In addition, the site plan shows another building that could hold retail space and a parking garage.

White said if the board OKs the project, developers will next submit plans to the Tennessee Valley Authority for its review and permit for riverfront access.

He said the TVA permitting process could take 90 days, though he's seen projects take much longer for approval.

"There are a lot of studies required of direct riverfront development," White said.

As soon as that's wrapped up, he said his company will start pre-sales of the units with Chattanooga Realtor Darlene Brown.

White also said he is looking at working with Chattanooga developer Eugene "Buck" Schimpf, whose proposed $80 million Cameron Harbor mixed-use project would sit adjacent to The Landings.

"We've had discussions about working with Buck," White said. "We're neighbors. It will be first class like our development. I think we'll coordinate a lot with them."

Schimpf has proposed townhouses, condominiums and boat docks on his site. The first phase, a Spring Hill Suites, was built by Chattanooga-based hotel developer 3H Group.

White said if The Landings receives all the needed approvals, work could start in early 2014 and go up in phases over five to seven years depending on demand.

John Healy, of the Chattanooga commercial real estate firm Sperry Van Ness/Elder Healy, said it means a lot for a Nashville developer to come to the Scenic City to put up a project such as The Landings.

"They're excited about the opportunities in Chattanooga ... and eager to do a development," he said.

Schimpf called Evergreen Real Estate a "high quality" development group.

"They will be an asset to Chattanooga and the ongoing riverfront development," he said.

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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