published Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Construction starts on 260 East Brainerd apartments

  • photo
    Planned 260-unit apartment complex at the corner of Pinewood Drive and Gunbarrel Road.
    Illustration by Laura McNutt.

Construction is underway on a contentious new 260-unit apartment complex about a mile north of Hamilton Place mall at the corner of Pinewood Drive and Gunbarrel Road.

The complex, dubbed Springs at Chattanooga, will include 11 two-story buildings, a clubhouse and a pool. Each apartment unit will have a private, ground-level entrance, and the first buildings will open in late 2014, said Eric Thom, development director at Continental Properties, the Wisconsin-based developer behind the project.

The entire project will be finished by mid-2015, Thom said.

Neighbors fought tooth-and-nail against the complex throughout the months-long rezoning process last year -- even the prompting Chattanooga City Council members to pledge to block the development in August, when Continental Properties asked to lift a condition on a previous rezoning in order to build the expanded 260-unit complex instead of an original 184-unit complex that had been approved by the city in 2009.

The City Council voted against the 260-unit expansion, but then tried to undo the previous rezoning that allowed for the 184-unit complex as well, to block the apartment project all together.

But city council members backed down from that pledge in October after realizing the move was likely illegal.

And now, Continental Properties is going ahead with the expanded plan despite the City Council's no-vote.

Continental Properties never needed the City Council's approval. The company could always have gotten an OK from the city's Land Development Office, which has the power to approve changes to the 2009 plan as long as the changes are as 'generally depicted' in the original plan. Going through the City Council was more of a courtesy than a requirement.

So after the council voted no, Continental turned to the Land Development Office, which issued 21 building permits for the site and allowed the company to build the 260-unit plan.

The Springs At Chattanooga will include studio, one, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well as garages, a business center, 24-hour fitness center and a dog park.

"We're under construction and that's what we're building," Thom said. "How we got there -- it is what it is."

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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