Resurrection for tower?

Resurrection for tower?

March 27th, 2010 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

The biggest residential and commercial project on Chattanooga's Southside yet could go up if the city approves a plan to sell land now used for its dog and skating parks.

The project, estimated at up to $40 million, includes the reuse of Parkway Towers, the rundown four-story building across Reggie White Boulevard from Finley Stadium.

"We've talked to potential tenants. There definitely is some interest there," said Terry Barker of River Street Architecture, which is working for the developers.

He said the development group includes a family who recently moved to the United States and their financial investors in New York. Mr. Barker declined to name them.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press Parkway Towers will be redeveloped into condos and commercial space.

Staff Photo by Angela Lewis/Chattanooga Times Free Press...

The plan includes adding at least three stories atop Parkway Towers. That building would hold ground-floor commercial space, about 18 condominiums and become a signature building in the area, he said.

"We wanted a vertical landmark on the Southside visible at night," Mr. Barker said. "It will be at least three stories more, or twice that if the market can bear it."

Also, 15 other buildings, all holding either a mix of commercial and housing or just townhouses, would go adjacent to Parkway Towers off West 20th Street near where the dog and skating parks are, he said.

"Everything would be in the three- to four-story range," the architect said.

Mr. Barker said the project would take 10 years.

The condos would be "affordable," he said, though he did not have price range.

"We're not trying to compete with the North Shore, high-dollar condos," Mr. Barker said. "The idea is to try to get affordable housing in the downtown area."

But the developers, who already own the 1920s-built Parkway Towers, must acquire the adjacent property for the project to be feasible, he said.

The group plans to ask the city to declare surplus the five-acre tract that includes a gravel parking lot and the dog and skate parks so it can purchase the land.

The city's manager of real property, Dan Thornton, said it will request proposals for the site to see if other developers are interested.

The City Council would be required to give its approval, he said.

In addition, Mr. Thornton said, the city would have to relocate the dog and skate parks, and it would need to identify more parking for Finley Stadium.

A much larger area for the dog park already is being eyed within a block of the existing site, he said

The current First Tennessee Pavilion and its adjacent storage buildings would stay in place, according to plans.

Mr. Barker declined to say how much the developers would offer for the property.

"The development itself has merit," Mr. Thornton said. "We'll see where it goes in the next 60 days."