published Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Retail businesses may replace YMCA pool, tennis courts on Shallowford Road

  • photo
    Site of proposed 34,000 square-feet retail space and four proposed one-story office buildings on Shallowford Road.
    Illustration by Laura McNutt.

The run-down tennis courts and mildew-filled YMCA pool could soon be replaced on Shallowford Road with a 34,000 square-feet retail space and four proposed one-story office buildings.

Bassam Issa, of ANT Group, hopes to purchase the 5-acre tract of land listed for $800,000 that is hedged between some apartment complexes, condos, businesses, such as Home Depot and the nearby YMCA Hamilton branch.

His proposal includes a hedge of green spaces surrounding the office buildings, a water feature in the center of the parking lot and a retail business near Ogletree Avenue that he says will benefit the existing neighborhood.

Councilman Larry Grohn, whose district the development will be built in, said the project will only add to the value of Shallowford Road and the two entrance options won't increase traffic on the busy roadway. The layout of the project fits in with the use of the area and will attract new businesses to rent the new space, he said.

Issa's reduction in the size of office spaces have won over the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, said Grohn, who said the agency was originally hesitant to approve the rezoning plans to build the project. The project is slated to go before the planning commission in two weeks for a rezoning request.

Nearly 20 residents listened quietly at a YMCA community meeting as architect Pat Neuhoff and Issa presented the plan for the property.

After asking several questions, residents said Issa's plans sound good if he does what he says.

"I'd like to see the renderings and verify that there are no apartments," said Joe Schultz, president of the Village of Ashwood Homeowners Association. Some 86 families occupy the Village of Ashwood near the commercial development.

Said Joye Lawson, another resident, "I think it's good deal for our community. I'm glad we're having a local developer and a local architect."

Surrounding property owners don't want another apartment complex near them because they say it will increase traffic.

Issa assured the group that his plans don't include residential development.

Issa said he will put a grocery store in the back of the five acre, and he's already talking to two potential stores. The front of the property will be office space. Instead of crowding Shallowford most people will enter and exit the property on Ogletree or Commons Road. Delivery trucks will have access to a back entrance so they don't have to use Shallowford Road. There will only be one exit and entrance to the property on Shallowford road, he said.

About four years ago, the YMCA closed the outdoor pool because it was small and under-used, said the YMCA's chief operating officer Rick Madison, and the Hamilton branch has indoor pools. The organization also stopped any tennis programs on the courts, but neighborhoods are still using the courts on their own, he said.

Madison said he hasn't received any complaints from the neighborhoods about losing the courts and there are no plans to replace the outdoor pool or the tennis courts.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

about Joy Lukachick...

Joy Lukachick is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press Since 2009, she's covered breaking news, high-profile trials, stories of lost lives and of regained hope and done investigative work. Raised near the Bayou, Joy’s hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Joy was a staff writer for the Daily Reveille. When Joy isn't chasing ...

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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