Lookout Mountain's only physician practice will stay put -- in a brand-new office that should open this summer.
Building permits have been approved for a 3,548-square-foot office for Dr. Bill Moore Smith near Lookout Mountain United Methodist Church. It will be across the street from Smith's current rented office space next to Fairyland Pharmacy at McFarland and Lula Lake roads.
"It'll probably be finished in July," said David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate Corp., who is the managing partner in the partnership that will build the new office. DeVaney declined to name the other partner or partners. Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga will lease the office from the partnership.
In addition to his own practice, Smith plans to have other specialists see patients in the new building.
"The plan is to have a rotating group of specialists," Smith said, including orthopedic surgeons, urologists, gastroenterologists and cardiologists. Medical students and residents will rotate through the office, which will be named UT Erlanger at Lookout Mountain. The UT stands for University of Tennessee, because Erlanger is the teaching hospital here.
"It'll be a huge boon to the medical care and the economy of Lookout Mountain to have this up there," Smith said.
The new office will be about three times larger than Smith's current office, which he said was too small for such things as storing the medical records he's required to keep. It will have 22 parking places. According to the building permit, the cost of construction is $552,867, City Clerk Cindy Roberts said.
The building, which DeVaney said is meant to have a residential feel, will have stone and shingle siding. It was designed by architect Larry Reed, a Lookout Mountain resident.
It will be the first new building built in years on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain's commercial district.
"This is the first building we've put up in downtown Lookout Mountain since I don't now how long," said Reed, who's on the city planning commission.
Construction will be done by The Strauss Co. Inc., a general contractor with an office on Tremont Street in Chattanooga whose portfolio includes construction of the Flying Squirrel bar near Chattanooga's trendy West Main Street neighborhood.
Smith and DeVaney looked for a site for about two years before they settled on buying a half acre for the office from the Methodist church.
"It's been an interesting process," DeVaney said.
Smith looked at moving into a new town center proposed on the site of the current Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Hall, but the town center project never materialized.
City officials on the Tennessee side of the mountain suggested the office be built on an acre of green space near downtown known as Verlenden Park. But that idea was nixed after about 150 people showed up at a September 2012 meeting, most of whom were opposed to the idea developing the park.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.